November 21st, 2019

andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Anhaga by Lisa Henry

Anhaga

"I could not put Anhaga down. Henry's style of writing just about blew me away; she's funny, complex, intriguing. I was drawn in completely by the world she created and her well developed characters. I definitely want to see more of Min, Kaz, and Harry!"

Aramin Decourcey—Min to his few friends—might be the best thief in Amberwich, and he might have a secret that helps him survive the cutthroat world of aristocratic families and their powerful magic users, but he does have one weakness: his affection for his adopted nephew, Harry.


When the formidable Sabadine family curses Harry, Min must accept a suicide mission to save his life: retrieve Kazimir Stone, a low-level Sabadine hedgewitch who refuses to come home after completing his apprenticeship… and who is in Anhaga, a seaside village under the control of the terrifying Hidden Lord of the fae. If that wasn’t enough, Kaz is far from the simple hedgewitch he seems.

With the Sabadines on one side and the fae on the other, Min doesn’t have time to deal with a crisis of conscience—or the growing attraction between him and Kaz. He needs to get Kaz back to Amberwich and get Harry’s curse lifted before it kills him. Saving Harry means handing Kaz over to his ruthless family. Saving Kaz means letting Harry die. Min might pride himself on his cleverness, but he can’t see his way out of this one.

The Hidden Lord might see that he never gets the choice.


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andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Uncommon Girls by Carla Grant

Uncommon Girls

"I give this memoir a score of 40. I hesitate to give a perfect score, but the book is captivating from page one and continues powerfully till the end. The basic story is a mother learning her son is trans and their journeys (they are separate ones in many regards) as he becomes she. I appreciated the POV of the mother, since so many accounts are through the eyes of the trans person. And I liked that the mother was a complex, intelligent, well-meaning, and terribly flawed individual. Grant tells the story not only of her trans daughter but also how that overwhelming aspect of her life still had to compete with plenty of other parts, her alcoholism, her remarriage, other children, rescue dogs, her daughter's self-harm, and multiple mental health issues. As if the story wasn't complex enough, we learn early on that the trans daughter is also on the autism spectrum, adding multiple additional stresses. It's all fascinating and at times even funny. Grant uses a variety of clever literary techniques to keep the reader interested. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's excellent."

"Wow, this was not what I expected, and I almost gave up on it in the early going (what with the focus on mom's dating misadventures), but then it came to Eliot's written proposal to wear high heels to school . . . and suddenly I found myself loving this kid. On the surface, it really does seems like it is going to be too much - an autistic child who identifies as transgender, with a recovering alcoholic single parent telling their story - but it is actually beautiful and funny and heartwarming, even as they deal with the challenges of Canadian education and healthcare. Mom's whole "fluid concept of womanhood" is perfect, and Ella is . . . well, I am going to go all out and call her a hero. She is amazing."


It is increasingly evident that Eliot is not only autistic, but is also an uncommon girl. Eliot's mother, Carla, recounts their journey down an unfamiliar path riddled with dismissive medical consultations and mental health referrals to clinics with epic waiting lists. Eliot transitions to Ella, with ambitions of being a trophy wife. Her parents attempt to set limits but Ella, in a typically teenage way, resists anything she deems as trying to squelch her true feminine self. Ella is "outed" repeatedly by teachers she trusted and stops attending school. Carla's rage morphs into a motivating sense of injustice and she engages in a successful campaign for her child's civil rights. Carla and Ella are not superheroes, they are just a couple of uncommon girls determined to leave a bumpy road a little smoother for the next travelers.


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andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Yeled Tov by Daniel M. Jaffe

Yeled Tov

"Excellent coming of age story that follows a young Jewish man struggling with his sexuality, self-loathing, vivid imagination and fear of rejection while at college against the backdrop of the 1970's. Deeply moving and a transformative story for all readers, regardless of age, gender, or sexuality."

"This book is an absolutely gorgeous coming of age story. Jake's struggle to be a good man and a devout Jew as he wrestled with the realization that he's homosexual is a beautiful, sometimes devastating, but ultimately a hopeful journey to self-acceptance. It was the perfect balance of bittersweet, funny, and insightful. I highly recommend this novel. "


1974 and Jake Stein wants to be a good Jewish boy, but he finds himself struggling to reconcile his traditional beliefs and his strong faith in God with his growing attraction to other boys. He lands a part in the school play, The Diary of Anne Frank, and while he should be imagining the suffering of the Holocaust, he feels real tsuris over falling for the kid who's playing Peter van Daan. Even college is no escape, as his freshman roommate happens to be gorgeous and rarely dressed. Author Daniel M. Jaffe's newest novel offers readers a compelling young hero trying to find a path between desire and devotion, often with advice from the voice of God, or at least how Jake imagines the Almighty would instruct a young man to do the right thing.

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