4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · feminism · LGBTQIA+ Books · memoir

The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation by Jodie Patterson | ARC #BookReview

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The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation by Jodie Patterson

Published: January 29, 2019

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 352

Genres: memoir, LGBTQIA+, feminism,

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: learning about a family’s journey through learning from and educating for their trans kid, the LGBTQIA+ community, brave powerful women 

Foodie Vibes: Southern cooking

 

Synopsis: 

As an African American growing up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the 1970s, when neighborhoods defined people, Jodie Patterson learned early on to engage with her community for strength and comfort. But then in 2009 this mother of five had her world turned upside down. Realizing that her definition of community wasn’t wide enough for her own child’s needs, Patterson forced the world wide open.

In The Bold World, we witness a mother reshaping her attitudes and beliefs, as well as those of her community, to meet the needs of her transgender son, Penelope– and opening the minds of everyone in her family who absolutely, unequivocally refused to conform.

As we walk alongside Patterson on her journey, we meet the Southern women who came before her–the mother, grandmothers, and aunts who raised and fortified her, all the while challenging cultural norms and gender expectations. She shares her family’s history–particularly incidents within the Black community around sexism, racism, and civil rights. We learn about her children, who act as a vehicle for Jodie Patterson’s own growth and acceptance of her diverse family, and her experiences as a wife, mother, and, eventually, activist. The result is an intimate portrait and an exquisite study in identity, courage, and love. Patterson’s relentless drive to change the world will resonate with and inspire us all, reflecting our own individual strength and tenacity, our very real fears, and, most of all, our singular ability to transform despite the odds.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Jodie Patterson for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like: 

  • Hearing all of the author’s life lessons learned through there personal experiences, from friends and family, and through parenting
  • The power of the Black Panther Movement for her
  • Discussions of power 
  • Representation: trans boy in a black family
  • The overall journey of her son and learning to be a part of the trans community

Love:

  • The life lesson: to define yourself or the world will; distance yourself from anyone who said you need to be anyone other than yourself
  • Her overall continual journey of personal growth 
  • The message that trans people don’t need to change their names, bodies, clothes, hormones, etc. to be considered a certain gender, or even need to identify with a gender, but they may choose to do so if it feels right to them

Dislike:

  • Once someone refers to Penelope as not a real boy, if I remember correctly. I’m not sure who said it or what their intentions were, but still … 
  • Her father’s harsh way of parenting

Wish that:

  • There was a little less about her childhood. While there were lots of great life lessons, it became a little long winded at times.

 

Overall, a good comprehensive memoir about the author’s life, journey through personal growth, advocacy and learning bout her son’s life as a trans boy. 

 

Bookish Question: 

Have you read this book?

What did you think?

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · LGBTQIA+ Books · non fiction · religion

New Release | She’s My Dad by Jonathan Williams

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She’s My Dad by Jonathan Williams 

Published: November 8, 2018

Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press

Pages: 200

Genres: non fiction, LGBTQIA+, religion

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: modern day religion, real trans people’s stories, church and the LGBTQIA+

Foodie Vibes: sensible healthy meal to fuel your mind and body

 

Synopsis:

Jonathan S. Williams was three months into pastoring a new, evangelical church plant when his father confessed a secret: he was transgender. His father, Paul, a prominent evangelical pastor, soon became Paula, and Jonathan’s life and ministry went into a tailspin. Feeling betrayed by his mentor and confidante and scared that his church would lose funding and support if Paula’s secret was exposed, Jonathan sunk into depression and alcoholism.

She’s My Dad explores Jonathan’s long and winding journey toward reconciliation, forgiveness, and acceptance of his father as well as his church’s journey to become one of the few fully LGBTQ-inclusive, evangelical churches in America. Jonathan and Paula offer insight and encouragement for those with transgender family members, empathizing with the feelings of loss and trauma and understanding that even being LGBTQ-affirming doesn’t mean the transition of a family member will be easy. Jonathan writes of his family’s continuing evolution, the meaning of remaining loyal to one’s father even when she is no longer a man, the ongoing theological evolution surrounding transgender rights and advocacy in the church, and the unflinching self-scrutiny of a pastor who lost his God only to find God again in his father’s transition.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

She’s My Dad tells the story of Jonathan’s Dad transitioning to her true self, Paula. The book is honest about the challenges, learning process and love that goes into having a family member transition. The process is made even more complex, because Paula is a pastor in the Evangelical church. 

I liked that the chapters alternated perspectives between Jonathan and Paula, allowing the reader to better understand the story from all perspectives. I didn’t realize the focus in religion would be so great. I’m not religious, but I learned a lot about churches excluding or choosing to include LGBTQIA+ people. I think the book could be very helpful and validating for people who are religious and identify as LGBTQIA+. 

While it was hard to hear Jonathan’s struggles about his dad transitioning, it was honest. For awhile he didn’t seem very kind to Paula, which bothered me. I think a lot of people can relate to the loss and confusion they may also feel. I feel like the book focused on the church a lot, and maybe would have been more well rounded by including a wider variety of experiences. 

Overall, an honest, educational and heartfelt book about Jonathan and his dad, Paula’s story. 

  • In the book, Jonathan refers to Paula as his dad, so to my knowledge I’m not misgendering anyone. But if I’m wrong, please correct me.

 

Answer me this:

How can churches work to better serve their LGBTQIA+ congregation?

Bookish Posts · Medical · What You Missed Wednesdays

What You Missed Wednesdays – Medical Edition

adult beautiful blue eyes book
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

What You Missed Wednesdays is exactly as it sounds!

Book reviews of each week’s genre of choice that you might have missed, and I think you should really hear about.

3 Books a Week with 3 Words/Phrases to Describe Them 

Click on the title of each book to be taken to my full review.

I hope you find new books that you’re excited to add to your TBR!

________________________

 

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Passionate Rivals by Radclyffe

4.5/5 stars

Realistic medical romance, strong women, LGBTQIA+ representation 

Add to Goodreads TBR

 

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Flat: Reclaiming My Body from Breast Cancer by Catherine Guthrie

5/5 stars

Very important memoir, forge your own path, supportive without smothering

Add to Goodreads TBR

 

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The Atlas of Disease: Mapping Deadly Epidemics and Contagion from the Plague to the Zika Virus by Sandra Hempel

4/5 stars

Unique way of learning, visual learners, science nerds

Add to Goodreads TBR

 

___________________________

 

Well there you have it!

Another edition of What You Missed Wednesdays.

Keep coming back each Wednesday for more Can’t Miss Books!

Which book(s) are you now adding to your TBR?

___________________________

 

Twitter: Follow @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: Follow @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Follow Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: Follow @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Chronic Illness/Disabilities · Essays · LGBTQIA+ Books · Medical · mental health · non fiction · psychology

ARC Book Review | Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People with Disabilities by Belo Miguel Cipriani

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Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People With Disabilities by Belo Miguel Ciprani

Published: October 1, 2018

Publisher: Oleb Books

Pages: 228 

Genres: non fiction, essays, LGBTQIA+, chronic illness, mental health, disabilities 

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: authentic stories told by real people, books about living with disability, representation in literature

Foodie Vibes: whatever you like, because each person is different

 

Synopsis:

Take a step back in time with some of the best writers with disabilities as they recount their first adventure, their first heartbreak, and the first time the unexpected treaded into their life. From body transformations to societal setbacks, to love affairs and family trauma, Firsts collects the most thought-provoking and exciting stories of our time by people with disabilities. Contributors include Nigel David Kelly, Kimberly Gerry-Tucker, Caitlin Hernandez, Andrew Gurza, and David-Elijah Nahmod.

 

Review: 

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Oleb Books and Belo Miguel Ciprani for an ARC ebook copy. As always, an honest review from me.

Firsts is a collection of essays written by different people with disabilities, so that people with disabilities could accurately see themselves represented in the media. I don’t have a disability myself, so my thoughts on the book come from an able bodies point of view.

Each essay has a different author and therefore a different voice. Certain essays captivated me more than others, but I enjoyed and learned from each person’s experiences. Overall the writing is wonderful. I love that the book is a compilation of authentic life experiences written by and for people with disabilities. After reading certain essays, I wanted to seek out additional written work by the authors. 

5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Chronic Illness/Disabilities · feminism · LGBTQIA+ Books · Medical · memoir · mental health · non fiction

New Release | Flat: Reclaiming My Body from Breast Cancer by Catherine Guthrie

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Flat: Reclaiming My Body from Breast Cancer by Catherine Guthrie

Published: September 25, 2018

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Pages: 264

Genres: memoir, LGBTQIA+, medical, non fiction, feminism

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: memoirs that don’t gloss over the difficulties, women who tell it like it is

Foodie Vibes: green tea, rice cereal with almond milk

 

Synopsis:

A feminist breast cancer memoir of medical trauma, love, and how she found the strength to listen to her body. As a young, queer woman, Catherine Guthrie had worked hard to feel at home in her body. However, after years writing about women’s health and breast cancer, Guthrie is thrust into the role of the patient after a devastating diagnosis at age thirty-eight. At least, she thinks, I know what I’m up against.

She was wrong. In one horrifying moment after another, everything that could go wrong does–the surgeon gives her a double mastectomy but misses the cancerous lump, one of the most effective drug treatments fails, and a doctor’s error may have unleashed millions of breast cancer cells into her body.

Flat is Guthrie’s story of how two bouts of breast cancer shook her faith in her body, her relationship, and medicine. Along the way, she challenges the view that breasts are essential to femininity and paramount to a woman’s happiness. Ultimately, she traces an intimate portrayal of how cancer reshapes her relationship with Mary, her partner, revealing–in the midst of crisis–a love story.

Filled with candor, vulnerability, and resilience, Guthrie upends the “pink ribbon” narrative and offers a unique perspective on womanhood, what it means to be “whole,” and the importance of women advocating for their desires. Flat is a story about how she found the strength to forge an unconventional path–one of listening to her body–that she’d been on all along.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Skyhorse Publishing and Catherine Guthrie for an ARC ebook copy for review. As always, an honest review from me.

My honest to goodness first thoughts were something along the lines of, well this will be a depressing read. And in some ways it is. Cancer sucks. But the book is also educating, validating, inspiring, harrowing, and thought provoking. The intersection of medicine, feminism, and the LGBTQIA+ community is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Her story fills a gap of information and experiences that’s not discussed in the world of pink on pink on pink of breast cancer.

Flat gives a voice to women who choose not to have reconstructive breast surgery after a mastectomy. At first thought it seems like such a radical idea, but after reading I’ve become so much more educated the autonomy that women should have over their own bodies, especially when dealing with a health crisis. The story is not a happily ever after fluffy feel good Lifetime movie nor is it so utterly depressing, but a real life look at living with cancer and fighting for your life and happiness. 

As I’m writing this I cannot think of anything negative to say about the book, so I’m bumping up the star rating to a 5. 

While it’s a bit of a heavy topic, do yourself a favor and read the book. The discussions about health, feminism, the medical world, relationships, chronic illness and body autonomy are fascinating, necessary and impactful. 

 

How can books teach us things we didn’t know we needed to learn? #privilege 

3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · LGBTQIA+ Books · mystery

New Release | All Things by Amber Belldene

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All Things by Amber Belldene

Published: September 9, 2018

Publisher: Amber Belldene

Pages: 305

Genres: LGBTQIA+, mystery

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: books with great diverse representation, modern day religion, strong friendships

Foodie Vibes: green tea and vegan baked goods from a local bakery

 

Synopsis:

A priest and a rabbi walk into a lesbian bar…

If something is unjust in San Francisco’s Mission District, the Reverend Alma Lee will face it down. She leads her vibrant church of St. Giles’ with compassion and sass. Her busy days involve match-making, meddling, and saving the city’s beloved lesbian landmark, The Carlos Club. Alma meets the intriguing Rabbi Naomi Cohen there, and she’s smitten.

Death comes to the church’s door…

When the proprietor of The Carlos Club turns up dead on the steps of St. Giles’, Naomi’s brother is the number one suspect. She needs help exonerating him, and Alma’s knowledge of the neighborhood makes her the perfect priest to solve the case. If only Alma’s ex-boyfriend, homicide detective Cesar Garza will accept her help. She still feels the pull of their old connection, but she’s convinced the sexy-smart rabbi is her perfect mate. . . Too bad Naomi is playing by different rules.

Can Alma solve the case before the murderer silences her forever?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley and Amber Belldene for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

The book starts out with a lesbian Reverend at a bar. And no, that’s not the beginning of a politically incorrect joke. All Things centers around Alma, a Reverend at the local church. We are along for all the drama that’s happening in her life these days. The book is primarily a murder mystery with veganism, modern day religion, and LGBTQIA+ representation playing a significant secondary role in this unique book.

The characters and inclusivity were the best part. I wanted to keep reading about some of these characters no matter the plot. The character development throughout was good too. Inclusivity and representation of people in non traditional churches is refreshing as well.

However the murder mystery was only okay. It kept me guessing, but I wasn’t as pulled into the mystery as I would have liked. Also there were so many references to veganism. To be clear, I have nothing against veganism, but the references weren’t subtle. Way too much telling instead of showing. The repetitiveness of telling us she’s vegan became annoying after awhile.

Overall, an enjoyable unique murder mystery that has a little something for everyone.

 

Do you love books about religion or steer clear? Or maybe somewhere in the middle?

LGBTQIA+ Books · What You Missed Wednesdays

What You Missed Wednesdays – LGBTQIA+ Edition

adult beautiful blue eyes book
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

What You Missed Wednesdays is exactly as it sounds!

Book reviews of each week’s genre of choice that you might have missed, and I think you should really hear about.

3 Books a Week with 3 Words/Phrases to Describe Them 

Click on the title of each book to be taken to my full review.

I hope you find new books that you’re excited to add to your TBR!

 

IMG_4446

Most Precious Blood by Vince Sgambati

4 stars 

authentically Italian American, slow meaningful development, struggles with sexuality

 

35919690

The Pirate’s Booty by Alex Westmore

4 stars

badass female pirates, ever lasting friendship, feminism throughout history

 

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The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

5 stars

adorably fun, blogger babes, can’t get enough 

 

Well there you have it!

Another edition of What You Missed Wednesdays.

Keep coming back each Wednesday for more Can’t Miss Books!

Which book(s) are you now adding to your TBR?

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · LGBTQIA+ Books · Medical

ARC Book Review | Passionate Rivals by Radclyffe

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Passionate Rivals by Radclyffe

Published: September 11, 2018

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Pages: 240 

Genres: contemporary romance, medical, contemporary fiction, LGBTQIA+

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: hospital centric romances, women in medicine, the TV show Grey’s Anatomy

Foodie Vibes: hospital coffee and leftover pizza

 

Synopsis:

Onetime lovers, unexpected rivals…
Emmett McCabe never expected to see Sydney Stevens—a woman with whom she’d shared a brief, incendiary connection before it all went up in flames—again. Luckily, ascending the cutthroat ladder of a high-pressure surgery residency to reach the top spot makes it easy to ignore what’s missing in her life. Then Sydney reappears after nearly five years. Emmett is barely over her shock when she discovers Sydney is her new competition for the coveted chief’s position everyone, including Emmett, expects will be hers.
Professional rivalry and long-simmering passions create a combustible combination when the two are forced to work together, especially when past attractions won’t stay buried.

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Radclyffee and Bold Strokes Books for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

If you’re looking for the book version of the medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy but with mainly lesbian relationships, Passionate Rivals is for you.

Emmett and Sydney knew each other form years ago. They had a few passionate nights but went their separate ways. Now, as resident doctors are forced to switch hospitals due to budget cuts, the two are working side by side each day. 

I absolutely enjoyed the authentic feel of the book. The friendship and competitive nature of the residents seems real and lends an ease to the story. The writing is not overly dramatic, because the day to day life of medicine is dramatic enough. It feels like a behind the scenes look at a day in the life of a resident doctor working at a hospital. Incredibly captivating! 

However this doesn’t feel like that much of a romance novel to me. Yes, there are relationships and sexy times, but the majority of it is navigating the world of being a doctor. That will naturally include romance and relationships at times, but I wouldn’t classify it as a typical romance book.

Also, it’s the fourth in the series, but I think it can absolutely be read a stand alone. I hadn’t read any other the other books before and had no trouble. I’m definitely putting the other three books on my TBR list now!

All in all, a super enjoyable read that I highly recommend. 

 

Which TV show do you wish existed as a book series?

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · LGBTQIA+ Books · romance · Uncategorized

Undue Influence: A Persuasion Retelling by Jenny Holiday

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Undue Influence: A Persuasion Retelling by Jenny Holiday 

Published: September 4, 2018

Publisher: Kindle 

Pages: 230

Genres: contemporary, romance, contemporary romance, LGBTQIA+

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: second chance romance stories, M/M romance, stories about small towns, sweet guys

Foodie Vibes: grilled cheese with apple slices and champagne – simply tasty food that’s so very effective

 

Synopsis:

Second chances only come around once.

Eight years ago, Adam Elliot made the biggest mistake of his life. Now that mistake is coming back to haunt him. His family’s beloved vineyard has gone into foreclosure, and the new owner is the sister of the only man he’s ever loved—the man he dumped under pressure from family and friends who thought the match was beneath him.

When Freddy Wentworth, aka the bad boy of Bishop’s Glen, left town with a broken heart, he vowed never to return. But a recently widowed friend needs his help, so here he is. He’s a rich and famous celebrity chef now, though, so everyone can just eff right off.

But some things are easier said than done. Despite their attempts to resist each other, old love rekindles—and old wounds reopen. If they want to make things work the second time around, they’ll have to learn to set aside their pride—and prejudice.

This modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion is a standalone novel that can be enjoyed by Austen-philes and by those allergic to the nineteenth century.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Jenny Holiday, and the publisher for the ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Adam and Freddy both grew up in the same small town with slightly different circumstances. One was a bit of a misunderstood rebel/bad boy. The other did what his family wanted and enjoyed being alone with his thoughts. They met eight years ago one summer and fell in love. Circumstances, fear, and stubbornness got in the way of their happily ever after.

Now they’re all grown up. Freddy left home to become a big time chef, restaurant owner and reality TV star. Adam chose to stay in his much beloved small town, working as a mechanic for his friend and mentor. Due to unforeseen circumstances, they’re back in each other’s lives. Sparks ignite. But can they rekindle their love for each other after years of heartbreak?

I really enjoyed reading Undue Influence. The romance is so sweet without being overly sappy. The two men are genuinely nice people that I enjoyed getting to know. Adam and Freddy are such a cute couple. Here are a few more things I enjoyed about the book:

  • Shows the spectrum of gay, bisexual and pansexual men. Also a drag queen. Not just the token one or two gay characters.
  • A mechanic who reads and enjoys nature. Love!
  • Shows that not everyone has to hate the small town they grew up in
  • Respectfully distancing yourself from toxic family members allows you to be much happier #LifeLesson

The only downside is that it took me some time to get into the story at the beginning. 

 

What’s your must have in a romance novel?

5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · LGBTQIA+ Books · Young Adult

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

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The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

Published: April 3, 2018

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Pages: 284

Genres: young adult, contemporary romance, contemporary fiction, LGBTQIA+

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: summer fun books with substance, adorable romances, books about bloggers

Foodie Vibes: the best burger you can get

 

Synopsis: 

Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Abby knows it’s a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes.

Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She’s somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.’s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story?

But when Jordi’s photography puts Abby in the spotlight, it feels like a betrayal, rather than a starring role. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?

Is this just Abby’s summer of fashion? Or will it truly be The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles)

 

Review:

The Summer of Jordi Perez is the perfect book for a late summer read. Fashion, photography, pink hair, fruit patterned dresses, internships, new relationships, and the search for the best burger in town. It’s a winning combination to create a fun but substantial read. Even though we look nothing alike (her fashion sense is way better than mine) I definitely relate to Abby. She’s unsure of herself, doubting her abilities, even though she’s very talented. I also appreciated that Abby’s whole personality doesn’t revolve around being gay. It’s discussed with her friends and family, and she has a girlfriend. But it doesn’t define her as a character. She’s so much more than one thing. And a book with characters who blog, Abby and her mother, a definite win for me!

There are very few things that I disliked in the book. As with many young adult books, some of the situations could have easily resolved with communication. However, it’s realistic that teenagers may not be great at communication and problem solving all the time. 

The Summer of Jordi Perez is seriously cute! I cannot get enough of it. I hope the author writes a sequel or other books with similar vibes. I highly recommend it!

 

Have you read The Summer of Jordi Perez?

How many of you have dyed your hair a fun color before?