Recomendations for gay young adult books, works by F.N. Manning, and other pop culture nonsense
You’ve already posted this quote before, I’ve told myself multiple times. Are you sure, I ask me next. Pretty sure, I reply. I should check just in case, I decide and then I agree with me. And then my dog tells me to pay attention to her or I see something outside or whatnot and I get distracted. Until today, when I finally see that, no, I have not yet posted this quote.
Guess who has a book available for pre-order? This is a really easy game. Yes, the answer is me. Well, probably lots of people but also me.
Can Ryan and Luke’s relationship survive a little distance?
Yes. Totally. Shut up. These are all answers Ryan Miller might give you in response to that question. A summer apart will only bring him and Luke Chambers closer together in the end. However, Ryan might actually be a bit glad to be away from his gorgeous baseball player boyfriend for a while.
Well, Ryan and Luke are navigating the next big step in their relationship, and maybe it’s not going great. Yeah. They’re taking things to the next level, wink-wink, nudge-nudge. They’re handling it with all the grace and dignity one would expect of them. Which is to say, none at all.
The distance between them is only supposed to be geographical. However, dealing with their changing relationship might just pull them apart even further. Will getting closer actually bring the couple closer or tear them apart?
As you might have heard, like in this very post, you can pre-order a copy of One Little Change now! And the release date is really soon, the 21st, because I totally didn’t forget to post about this sooner. I am such a professional.
What do gay young adult books and seafood have in common? I have no idea! However, a blog quirky enough to be about YA lit and sending shrimp to space resonates with me on a spiritual level. Diabolic Shrimp has tons of book reviews for indie books across all genres and the website also raises money for different charities.
Joshua Grant is a YA author and book blogger like me, so we have that in common even though I don’t eat shrimp and all I know about space is that my nephew doesn’t like it anymore, he’s all about Godzilla now. Anyway, my books and this author’s aren’t exactly in the same sphere, but I have never stayed on topic once in my life and I don’t intend to now, mostly because I couldn’t even if I tried.
I’m a pretty small-time blogger, so it was cool when he emailed me about being featured on my site because it’s like I have arrived. I don’t know where I arrived, but wherever it is, that’s where I am now. When I stop making sense, it’s time to move on to the next thing.
One thing Joshua Grant is better at than me is reviewing books, so while his is on my list to read, I haven’t yet. His works have more of a sci-fi/dystopian vibe. I really like sci-fi, but I don’t think a lot of my interests at the moment are reflective of that, so I’m just going to say the first related words that pop into my head. Doctor Who, robots, Dungeons and Dragons, oh hey, I love Stranger Things! Does that count? I’m saying that counts.
When the Hollow Men came, humanity fell. Forced to scrape out an existence from the rubble with the rest of the survivors, Jonah Byerly struggles to get by. Hunted by dark murderous things, he yearns for something more—a hope from civilization long past, for love and acceptance. But Jonah isn’t like the others as much as he would like to be. He harbors a secret, a shadow in his soul that could revive humanity…or see it drown in the endless hunger of the Hollow Men.
This is an excerpt from Summer Romance, one of F.N. Manning’s M/M YA novels
“Carter Ford is working here too?” I asked. I had to be sure this wasn’t a hallucination. I guess I could just call him Carter now; being coworkers meant we would be on a first name basis. “Carter Ford?”
He always seemed well-dressed and in control. I didn’t expect him to need a job like this when he could be doing whatever good looking, popular people did in the summer. Maybe the same thing I did – sitting on the couch and watching TV or occasionally going out into the world – but just being good looking and popular while doing it.
“Do you know him?” Lily asked me. Perhaps being older than him or being his boss meant she wasn’t fazed by the presence of one of the most popular guys in my grade. And she was a great pseudo sister for even asking that question and implying I could be in the same social stratosphere as him.
“No,” I told her. “I don’t know Carter Ford at all.” I knew of him, but I’d never been properly introduced. Oh god, was that about to happen now? I sat up straighter in my chair.
“You could just call him Carter,” she recommended and then he came in and sat with us and I tried to be normal, listen to what Libby said, and basically do anything other than obsess over the guy sitting next to me.
This is a terrible segue: Hey, it’s summer! You know what takes place in the summer? Summer Romance by F.N. Manning.
Neil and Carter work at the grocery store and sparks fly over the avocados. Or something like that. Here’s an excerpt:
“Why do people think you’re cool? You have a cat named Princess.” I wiped tears of laughter away from my eyes. The soccer star, the guy the ladies loved, the confident guy who strolled through the halls of high school? That guy had a cat named Princess.
“Says Corny the Klutz,” he responded, but the words didn’t hurt as he gave me a mock scowl and a good-natured shove.
However, he became nervous after he said the words, obviously afraid he went too far. Normally, I hated even the reminder of that nickname. It didn’t hurt as bad now. Hearing it from my cute friend’s lips soothed away any sting.
I let him stew about his faux paus for a moment until I smiled slyly. “I still think yours is worse, Princess.”
His expression was priceless. “Princess isn’t my name, it’s the cat’s!”
One Day at a Time was cancelled by Netflix a million years ago and I wanted to make a post about it in a timely manner… and then I didn’t. Crazy story, right? It’s all true. I wanted to write a post celebrating the cancelled but marvelous show and talking about how awesome it is, but when I started to do that I realized that I hadn’t even gotten to praising the show yet because I was mostly just pissy about it being cancelled. Basically? It was great and now I’m mad and sad.
Here’s some thoughts about ODAAT, Latnx representation, and queer characters on Latinx shows. And technically, this is still relevant because there is a chance that ODAAT may find a new home. Which yeah, that would be neat. (That’s me playing it cool. I really, really, REALLY want that to happen.)
Rita Moreno is Awesome
For those who don’t know, One Day at a Time is a Netflix show about a Cuban-American family that has Rita Moreno and is hilarious.
It’s so wonderful. A sitcom that’s not forced and terrible and that’s actually funny! And it’s about a Cuban family! And if that weren’t good enough, queer characters. And if that weren’t good enough, there’s whole storylines dealing with mental illness and working to de-stigmatize needing help for these problems. And if that weren’t enough, Rita Moreno! And if it that weren’t enough, it even got three seasons.
Sometimes the show is cheesy, sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s silly. Rita Moreno is an occasionally clueless old Cuban lady who rants about things the elderly fear and what is with kids these days, and then she gets worked into a frenzy about having Cuban pride, and then she loves on her grandson and basically I would believe they put stuff in the script like, ‘and here we’ll just let Rita be cute/funny/crazy and it will be awesome’ and it is.
The Stupidest, Greatest Joke Ever
True story, one time I watched this show called Black Sails because I thought it was about wlw mermaids, it was not, but it was really great anyway. I got interested because of the queer women and yet a straight white guy ended up being one of my faves. So, uh, yay Latinx people, but as I’m thinking of my favorite parts, both of them involve the token white guy. Oops.
This is really dumb, yet it’s by far my favorite thing to happen in the show. Yo enitendo means I understand. I don’t know if you need to know that to enjoy the joke, probably not, but there’s your impromptu Spanish lesson for the day.
My other favorite is anytime Schneider tries to do the sign of the cross.
More Hispanic People on TV, Please
When I was a kid, I remember hearing that the Mexicans were going to take over America. Being Mexican American, that sounded just fine with me. But when it comes to media portrayals of Latinx characters… If we’re supposed to take over, where are we? How come we never appear on TV?
Let me tell you something about our representation on TV. It sucks. Latinx people continue to be so poorly represented even though as a whole things slowly seem to be shifting in the right direction with more diverse casts. There’s a few shows like Brooklyn 99 and Superstore, so I’m mentioning them because they rock.
The Only Good Sitcom About Latinx People in the History of the World
That’s barely an exaggeration, at least when it comes to U.S. shows in English.
In the past undetermined amount of time I’ve been alive, I have watched at least one episode of about every sitcom focusing on a Latinx family. Seriously, even completely terrible ones no one remembers anymore like the Rob Reiner one or George Lopez one after the longer running but terrible first show he had. I’ve been doing this at least since I was a teenager and I usually watch with my mom. We do this for two reasons: one, we want the show to succeed whether we end up liking it or not because yay, Latinx characters and two, because maybe the show will actually be good.
They almost never are. There’s just so few of them already and there’s rarely anything that makes us want to keep watching. Occasionally, something has potential like Cristela and Telenovela, which was rough but I still loved, then it gets cancelled immediately.
Remakes, the Show You Loved Now with More Hispanics!
Not sure if this is good or not, but it seems like the thing to do these days is take a popular show that’s ended and redo it with a Latinx cast. Hopefully, there’s people who want to see it because they liked the first one, but then again there’s also people who liked the first one and hate that another is being made. There’s One Day at a Time, Charmed, Mayans.
So if you see the show you really loved when it was on is now being recreated with Mexicans, Cubans, or Puerto Ricans or something, please don’t immediately hate on it. Yes, I know, another remake, but we don’t get a ton of original content with Latinx casts, so please let us have this.
Hella Gay YA
Hey, that’s me! Or my blog. I figure that, when having a blog, blogging is, you know, better than not blogging. So not everything is always related to my books or gay YA lit, but there is a correlation here!
The show has a queer young adult character in a leading role, Elena. If you are well-meaning and awkward, she’s super relatable. She likes social justice and feminism and ladies and not wearing dresses.
Also, I think this is a callback to the original show or something, I don’t know and it doesn’t really make a difference to me, I just love how excited she is to be a handy (wo)man.
Here’s an excerpt fromOne Little Problem. The series follows Ryan and Luke, high school sweethearts, and their mocking friends.
“I’ve solved all our problems,” I announced to the table.
There was a pause as everyone stopped their individual conversations and focused on me. “Like, of the people sitting at this table or globally?” Alicia asked.
Lydia watched me with an amused, superior little smile. “I’m particularly interested in your solutions for world hunger, our current president, and people who take up two parking spaces.”
Zach rolled his eyes. “Smaller scale guys, he’s totally talking about him and Luke.”
Oh yeah, I was at a table of people who wouldn’t hesitate to mock me, which could be bad sometimes when there was stuff about me that was mockable but also this was totally where I belonged, so I had to endure it. However, maybe I didn’t need to share this idea with group. “No, I totally got an idea for that world hunger thing.” Um… “More food.” Nailed it.
Luke nodded. “Good idea, babe.” Way to be supportive. He looked at my plate. “You gonna donate that pizza?”
I eyed him knowingly. “Donate it to you?”
Exaggerated realization played across his face, like that thought had just occurred to him as I said it. “I am pretty hungry,” he admitted, putting on his best innocent face. Not sure how well it worked, but I’m pretty sure all higher brain function ground to a halt whenever he showed me the dimples, which he was doing, so I was a goner.
I slid my plate towards him and he took the pizza off it. “You’re lucky your cute,” I told him.
He smiled. “So are you.”
“I’d argue but I can’t.” Our shoulders brushed against each other companionably, occasionally nudging playfully as we smiled at each other. I liked having a group of people to sit with at lunch but sometimes it would have been okay if it was just Luke and me.
“You can have my food now,” Zach offered to Luke. “That put me off eating.” See, there he goes proving my point.
“We have a game today, choke it down,” Luke ordered.
Zach raised an eyebrow. “Are you that romantic with your boyfriend?” Zing. He may be insulting us but that was still a good one.
Perhaps this is a medium length scene at least, but I’m doing a thing. Because of the titles, get it? This is a deleted seen fromOne Little Lie. If you haven’t read before, Ryan and Luke are dating, and Luke is pretending to date Lydia for the sake of both their parents. Ryan is trying to figure Luke out, and that’s what you missed on Glee... or whatever.
Also, hey, let me so casually slip in that the third book, One Little Problem is available right now! Hooray!
My life was really almost perfect. I had no problems. Except for boyfriend problems. Life had never gone so smoothly, only one area was wrong, but it wasn’t a little area. It didn’t matter that everything else was fine, having that part off screwed with the entire system. It made it feel like everything was wrong.
“I think something’s off,” I started, mostly talking to myself while I graded freshman quizzes for Mrs. Reynolds and she hopefully was doing something academic and teacherly on her computer instead of taking personality tests while I did TA stuff. That had happened before.
“If you mean with the bio quizzes, I know, they’re dumber than usual.” I glanced up at her, my look telling her that was inappropriate. I mean, she wasn’t wrong but still I’d hate for her to get in trouble; it was too late for me to find another favorite teacher. She continued, “Just grade and don’t despair for the future of America.”
She turned back towards her computer then seemed to think of something and looked back at me. “But If you mean there’s something wrong with your personal life, please continue.” To her credit, she acted super professional and teacherly during classes and in front of most the student body and faculty. But when she was just with her little cadre of science nerds, her filter greatly diminished.
“It’s with Luke,” I confided. “He seems happier and likes being around me, when he isn’t busy with Lydia, but he won’t really tell me what’s going on.” These freshmen quizzes were bad too, but I’ll own up to being a terrible person. I cared more about myself right now than the future of the country.
She made an acknowledging noise and said, “You should probably talk to him.” Was she listening? I tried, but he shuts me down.
But maybe he had nothing to share? I couldn’t tell if it was me or him. “Normally I just wait him out and he gets himself together eventually. But things just feel different. Only then I wonder if I’m just not being supportive.”
“You could find out,” she started.
I kept going. “But it’s hard to be supportive when he’s keeping me at arm’s length.” I didn’t feel like a priority anymore. But see that was about me, so was I just being needy or something when this was about Luke?
“You should let him know your concerns.”
“Once when we were texting he told me he hoped his mom got strawberry jam from the store instead of grape,” I reminisced while slashing a red mark through an answer on the sheet in front of me. “And then I couldn’t text later, so he called me on the phone just to tell me she got the strawberry. And now there’s this whole thing we suddenly can’t talk about? That’s not right.”
“I have no idea. I can only do so much of this on my own.” I could keep going back and forth on whether I was crazy or not, but it didn’t really matter. I was only one side of the equation and I couldn’t figure anything out without input on his end. Which meant…
“Which is why you should talk to him,” Mrs. Reynolds said as I said, “I have to talk to him.”
“Yes, finally,” she told me. “Thank you for listening.”
“What?” She couldn’t steal credit! “I came up with that on my own.” Five bucks said she wasn’t even doing anything important on her computer.
She raised an eyebrow and said dryly, “You’re so lucky you’re my second favorite student.”
“What? I’m your favorite.” I would slap Shelly Michaels if she’d edged in front of me.
“This conversation has caused me to evaluate my priorities.”
I held up the papers in front of me to her. “I can let you grade these.”
“Look at that, you’re my favorite again.” Damn right.
“What are you doing anyway?” I leaned over to look at her computer screen and she tilted it away before sighing and letting me look.
“I really need to know which District I would be in if life were the Hunger Games,” she filled me in as I glared at her. “You can take it next!”
Apparently, I would be in District Seven. I didn’t even care.
But why District Seven? That was so unfair that I apparently belonged in a forest since I lived in a flat, Midwestern plain. And who cared about District Seven, anyway? It was such a boring district. …Though, Johanna Mason was a badass and that was just a fact. Okay, I cared a little. But mostly, my mind was on Luke.
Luke had been good about sharing with me, up until recently. But maybe I hadn’t done the same. I had concerns and didn’t tell him. I thought I had a good reason for not voicing them but… I don’t know. I could be wrong. I hate being wrong. Oh well, I’d have to talk to Luke and get things figured out.
I’m working on editing One Little Problemand planning for the fourth book, One Little Change. How’s that going? Uh… I’m the one asking the questions here! Only I’m not asking any questions. Except for the one I just asked.
Yeah, today has been tough. Productivity and I are just not getting along today, which is totally its fault and not mine. Productivity knows what it did. Hope your day is going better!
I did manage to get one thing done today. Here’s a quote and excerpt from One Little Problem, out now! Ryan and Luke look at the stars a lot, it’s their thing, along with hand holding.
* * *
“The one relevant thought I did have,” Luke said, “Aside from why planetariums even exist because we already have outside at night, so isn’t the whole world a giant planetarium already—”
“Oh my god,” I laughed.
“Aside from that,” he said pointedly, moving to take his arm away from me, but I didn’t let him. “I was thinking that even though looking at the stars is romantic, the stars themselves aren’t that romantic.”
“Because they’re giant balls of fire and gas that would instantly immolate us?” So sexy!
“No, just all the myths and stuff associated with them.” We fell silent a moment to hear the recorded voice played over the speakers narrating facts about the stars. The myth about the bear constellations, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, was that Zeus turned his side piece into a bear, so his wife wouldn’t rage quit him or the world or something and then the lady’s son killed the bear not knowing it was his mom. Yeah, that wasn’t very romantic. Both the story and the serial cheating.
“They’re mostly about lost souls and tragedies,” Luke continued. Now the voice-over talked about Andromeda, who was sacrificed to a sea monster. “And some of it was violent, like the scorpion killing Orion.” Oh, Luke knowing things was so sexy. “I started regretting bringing you here because if you were still mad at me, then this place was giving you all kinds of ideas for revenge.” He shuddered. “I did not want to have to deal with scorpions.”