I’ve read a few biographies by or about musicians but this one was the most passionate, honest, but brutal in its way, so far. The title pretty much says it all; Laura Jane Grace started life as Tom Gabel, became involved in the punk music scene as a teenager and eventually fronted a punk band called Against Me! What I learned in between those 3 points is the struggle someone goes through when they feel like they aren’t who they are supposed to be and how self-destructive that feeling can make you all the while trying to live, work, create music, and to love. Reading about what Tom did to himself was tough, but I’ve never been close to anyone who has struggled with their identity like this, but it all felt very honest and upfront and I wanted to know how Laura Jane made it work. The book touched on her new life but I’m hoping she has the courage to tell us more in the future. (Submitted by Renee)
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War torn Iraq in 2003 is a brutal time and place to be queer and Muslim. Ramy is facing a forced marriage to please his family and seeks guidance from Ammar. Ammar is a sheikh who thought he knew exactly what he should be doing and what the Qur’an dictates on the subject of homosexuality when Ramy’s letter and some angels complicate his life. Unflinching violence and no easy answers greet readers willing to engage with this text from Iraqi-Canadian author Hasan Namir. A Lambda Literary Award finalist. (Submitted by Meghan W).
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I learned about this title in a LGBTQ Teen Fiction list. After devouring the book, I can easily say that this book is one of my all-time favourites. I loved the dynamic and sometimes-complicated relationships between all of the characters; not just main characters Aristotle and Dante, but the relationships that each boy has with his family. If you’re a fan of John Green’s work, you will love this coming-of-age tale filled with poetic symbolism and deep insight about what life is about when you’re a teenager. If you’re in the mood for a great young adult novel, or an engaging read; Aristotle, Dante and the universe’s secrets will delight and charm you from cover to cover. (Submitted by Mara.)
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