Well, we asked for it, and here it is: a short story that serves as the final installment/epilogue for Alex London’s young adult duology. After all these years, let us talk about the sequel to “Proxy” and “Guardian”, a short story appropriately titled, “Daydreamers”.
Great storytelling often involves creating a fictional world for the character(s) to live in. Whether it be a simple story about life or a grand, epic adventure, fictional worlds are what can define a story and help it stand out on its own among the hundreds of millions of good stories out there. And in many instances, as I’ve pointed out in the past, fictional worlds can become so popular that they all seem too good to be in just mere pages. Continue reading
It’s no surprise to most of you that I am a massive Marie Lu fan. Ever since I first discovered her at random in my high school’s library as an awkward sophomore student, she among many authors have inspired me to write fiction. In terms of young adult fiction and literature, she can never do any wrong. The characters she writes are original, her worlds vast and lifelike, the stories woven compellingly, and it makes you more hyped with each passing book.
Before you read, I’d like to dedicate this post to all the families and victims hurt in this morning’s tragedy. For those who for some reason haven’t heard, a lone shooter mercilessly massacred fifty people and injured just as many at a gay nightclub (called Pulse) in Orlando, Florida. Police are still investigating into further detail, but it is a known fact that this wasn’t just a random shooting. This was a hate-fueled attack meant to kill and harm innocent people.
If anyone is reading this, don’t pray for repentance or hate, but pray for the families and friends that have been affected by what many are calling the worst mass shooting in United States history. Do not call for gun control. Reports are coming in that the gunman was posing as a security guard and guns were not allowed in the club. If there is anything we should call for, it’s for the acceptance of LGBTQA+ people everywhere, and to fight homophobic attacks like this with love and understanding.
To everyone affected by the shooting, everyone is hearing your cries. And to everyone else, I have a quote for you from a Holocaust survivor named Henry Golde, “Hate is nothing, and love is everything.”
Gay literature is an iconic part of the LGBTQA+ community, especially towards teenagers and young adults, so in celebration of LGBT Pride Month, I’ve decided to make a Top 10 list for the best gay young adult novels I wholly recommend. Now, there are a few rules to this for anyone who’s reading. The first rule is that these entries have to have an LGBT person as the protagonist and not just as a side character. Second, it cannot be explicit and must be readable for anyone from fourteen to even nineteen years of age. And third, having no more than two of an authors’ works is acceptable by my standards because granted, I haven’t read every gay book for young adults; heck I’m even including ones I’ve reviewed on here already. And keep in mind that this is a recommendation list and not a list of the greatest LGBT young adult novels.
With that said, here’s the Top 10 List of LGBT YA Novels I Recommend.
For my first post of LGBT Pride Month, I’m reading a gay romance novel that caught my eye while looking in a bookstore. The cover seemed nice, but the idea behind the book and the possibilities of it really caught my attention. I’ve heard of a few people say that they do not enjoy gay literature because according to them it’s the same old awkward romance you see in regular love stories. While it can be true in some cases, I have to disagree. Typically a gay romance doesn’t always have to have the romance as its focus, such as “Willful Machines” (which I reviewed a while ago). Much like zombie stories or horror films, a gay romance can be good with different variety and good characters, as well as an interesting story. And “Openly Straight” by Bill Konigsberg is one of these stories.
It really surprises me how I haven’t ever heard of ‘One Boy’s Shadow’ since it was published a few years ago. Granted, it isn’t as famous as recent young adult novels on Bestsellers lists, but it really surprises me it isn’t more well-known, especially since it involves three very popular demographics: supernatural, gay, and coming-of-age literature. The author, Ross A. McCoubrey, meshes together these three topics into a novel with amazing characters, a heartfelt story of love and loss, and made me want to appreciate those who I love and love me.
So what’s the story? Caleb Mackenzie is a fifteen year-old boy whose family recently moved to a small town in Ontario, Canada. Instead of missing his old home in Halifax, he quickly makes some new friends, one of them being a boy his age named Shane. As their friendship quickly becomes more than that, Caleb learns from him that his new house has a secret.
You see, Caleb’s family’s new home is a cottage on the outskirts of town called the Wakefield House, and it has a grim past. In 1943, the Everett family owned the house, and one of the sons there, another closeted teenager named Toby, disappeared without a trace. Over the decades, various future owners of the house have reported strange noises and sighting, and it isn’t long before our main character begins hearing his name, “Caleb”, along with unknown gunshots. Wanting to know more, Caleb, his older brother Blake, Shane, and another friend of theirs named Ryley, must band together to dive into the mystery of Toby’s disappearance, learn who murdered him, and possibly lay the young ghost to rest.
Whenever I hear about romance novels involving ghosts and demons, there’s always the catch of either a sappy love triangle, misunderstanding clichés that cause the couple to break up, cheesy dialogue that stems on ‘Twilight’ bad, or even all three combined. ‘One Boy’s Shadow’ doesn’t have any of that. First of all, the characters in this are one of the most genuine people I wish were real. Almost every word, every bit of dialogue, and every action and reaction they have are what make this novel great. Our main couple in this treat each other like a real couple should, whether it be in fiction or even with a real significant other. Both are trusting, empathetic to their feeling and the feelings of others, and work off of their personal interests like bread and butter. They tease each other, go on long walks by themselves, and support each other when they’re down.
My most favorite side character would go to Caleb’s older brother named Blake. I like Ryley and how good of a companion he is for our main leads, but it’s Blake whose stood by his younger brother throughout his life. He’s the older brother that has a smart tongue and is a ladies man but McCoubrey went the extra mile and created one of the most compassionate, caring, kind-hearted brothers of a main character. If I ever wanted to have an older brother, it would definitely be Blake Mackenzie.
And then we have the ghost himself, Toby. Much like Caleb and Shane, Toby’s personality shines in every paragraph and sentence. At first we don’t know much about him at the beginning of the story save for him saying Caleb’s name and an occasional strange occurrence, but we want to know more about him as the novels continues. We later learn that he had a secret relationship with another boy when he was alive. Without giving too much away, I felt unbelievable sorrow in my stomach as I read on.
That’s what I probably like about ‘One Boy’s Shadow’ so much. The teenagers in this talk like real teenagers, the adults in this talk like real adults, and the mystery kept me reading through until I finished the final page. I wanted to know what happened to the poor boy, wanted to know if he’d find peace, and know if Caleb and Shane’s coming out would be met with welcome arms not just to Caleb’s parents, but to their school.
Ross A. McCoubrey is a Canadian author I’ve never heard of before, but after reading ‘One Boy’s Shadow’, I guarantee I’ll read his next novel. Ross, if you’re reading this, I cannot wait.
If you have any questions or already have an opinion on the novel, feel free to leave any comments. Thanks!