LGBTQIA+, YA

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

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I’m in love with this book. It’s definitely my favorite read of the month right now. We follow three characters on the day of the terrorist attack on the two towers in New York. These are three teenagers that live in New York and all experience this event in different ways. I always think Levithan does an amazing job with alternating chapters. These three characters seem like they have no connection at first but all know each other in some way. Gave me Realm of Possibility feels. I liked it. It was able to take you through their experiences on the day of the event then go on to inspire the reader and lift them up.

Claire is a great character. From the first chapter in her perspective, I knew her experience with everything would be different. Claire’s personal journey is really well written. You know that her experiences on 9/11 are going to change her but I didn’t expect the extent that it does. She has some of the more intense passages in this book for me as she’s trying to figure out what to do. How do you move on as a city after something like this? As a country?

There is a moment in the opening of the book where I realize how strong Claire can be. She really holds it together for her younger brother and the kids in his classroom. When she lets herself feel and these intense moments come later and when she lets herself say what all she is feeling to one of the other characters it’s really wonderful. Claire puts in whatever effort she can to make things better in the world. I honestly love this character so much. Claire finds a connection to other people. She seeks out others who are affected in the way that she is.

Two of the three main characters in this book are gay. I didn’t know that going in but it’s a David Levithan book so I should have expected a little gay. Was very happy to have it.  Peter and Jasper are both great characters. They both change a lot because of the events of 9/11 like Claire do. Even if they are in completely different ways.

Peter is so hopeful and innocent in the beginning to me.I really get that impression.He’s the type of character I root for in books. He’s a gay guy who was just super excited about going on a date with a guy he met at a party. He was just hoping for a great experience with someone he’d awkwardly flirted with at a party. Then he runs down the street from his favorite store and sees the first tower of the World Trade Building collapse. His immediate disconnect from what is his norm there was poignant. He isn’t able to play his music when he walks toward school. I loved that part of Peter’s process. His grieving or finding a way to move on process involved music. Music can really help people get through things. I find that so relatable. Music is a big part of my life. His experience at a concert a few days after 9/11 was so nicely written. The camaraderie of the people who still showed up to this show was beautiful.

Jasper wakes up on the day of 9/11 to a phone call from his parents who are visiting his grandmother in Korea. I feel like Jasper is in some ways the most lost of the three characters. I feel like Jasper isn’t sure of his place in things before 9/11 happens. He seems like he’s waded through life. He hasn’t lived much or decided who he is or wants to be. I feel like thinking about all the lives lost really impacts him. Jasper even feels separate from what other people around him are feeling because his experience on 9/11 was very different from most of the people that he knows. It’s definitely different from Peter and Claire. Even though he lives in New York he experiences a lot of the after effect.he doesn’t see the planes hit. He’s not on the streets trying to get away from the wreckage or worrying about where his family is. He’s safe. His parents are away. He doesn’t know what to do or how to feel. As the story goes on I really started to like Jasper and the changes I saw in him.

I can’t even explain what I felt about Jasper and Peter fully. I shipped it so hard but also so hesitantly. Having a first date the day after 9/11 is not the best sign. I still wanted it to work so bad. I love both of the characters. I said before that I could see all these characters were somewhat lost after what happened. Jasper and Peter needed different things in order to find themselves again.Things they needed to find separately. Still, they are able to help each other in small ways. They are so different at the end of the book than they are at the beginning and I love them.

Claire bridges the gap between the three main characters of this book. I feel like she brings the group together. They all know each other in passing small ways. I feel like Claire ultimately is the force that brings three people who need each other together. They find something special. All three of these characters gain something from each other. Something they need to help them along on their journey. Claire really is able to glue them together over time. She keeps that connection to both of them because it’s something she needs. These are two people who have helped her by just listening and understanding. All three characters are different people by the end of the book.

This book left me in a light mood. It was so hopeful. It made you have faith in people. It’s truly excellent. Really happy I finally got around to reading it. I was hesitant because of the topic and I had taken out from the library once in the past without ever picking it up. I’m so glad that I did not do that this time. I definitely recommend you give this book a chance.

 

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Comics, diverse books

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang

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This comic was pretty amazing.It was intended to be one of my short reads for #Diverseathon but was pushed to this month. I’m so glad my library had it. I never heard of the comic before. it was just a great comic I found on my shelf. Gene Luen Yang recreates the story of the first Asian American superhero The Green Turtle.loved getting a little history on the character int he back of this collection.I’m really happy to see that mantle being taken and shown in a much bigger way here.The origin of the hero of this collection is really rooted in Asian culture.

You first see how our hero Hank’s family got to America.You see the struggles his mom has in the country since hr family first immigrates there when she is a child. You see how she met her husband and the rut she falls into after that. I thought it was a great decision to focus so much on the mother. She really pushes her son to be a hero even when he has no reason to want to be a hero at first. No powers or any desire to do more than he’s already set up for his life. She’s misguided in a lot of ways. She puts him in danger but shows that she loves her family by the end.

As for Hank. He’s out trying to be a superhero before he even gets any powers. Just for his mom really and I love that.he cares about his family. The origin of his father bonding with the turtle spirit was awesome.We get that story in the first few pages. The turtle spirit has to live in a human shadow to survive in our world. The turtle is really wise in a different way than you’d expect and he nags a lot too. So that was pretty funny.

Hank makes some really dumb moves in this story, though. Like one, in particular, I won’t spoil.I just knew immediately it was a bad idea. Still, he is able to make some important decisions for himself. The decision to be a hero, by the end is ultimately something he feels he needs to do. He has become the Green Turtle.He also makes the decision on what kind of hero he should be. I do wish we’d seen a bit more of what he went through internally. He’s almost too good really. I wanted to know if he had any doubts about one decision he makes but I also like to think that maybe he didn’t. He’s just that good.

I don’t know how many of the comics are collected in this edition. I hope there are more out there. I was really entertained. I definitely recommend you pick up the collection. If you started off with the first section I’m not sure it would be enough to pull you in. It takes a while for Hank to really get started as The Green Turtle but I found all the set up really interesting and loved following his family. Definitely, check it out if you are interested.