Sunday, August 14, 2016

Double Review of The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson) by Rick Riordan with Arvenig! (Final Review of the Half-Blood Readalong)


Hello! This is the fifth and final review of the Half-Blood Readalong of Percy Jackson series hosted by me and Arvenig @ Arvenig.it. If you want more information on our readalong, you can check out our announcement post. Our giveaway has ended, and the winner was announced on Twitter (and also at the end of this post) and contacted. Thank you to everyone who entered!


Title: The Last Olympian
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book Five)
Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 381
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Published: May 5th 2009
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.49 out of 5
Alex’s Rating: 5 out of 5
Arvenig’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Synopsis: All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos's army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan's power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it's up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy's sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.


What were your thoughts before reading?

Alex: This event is almost over and that means summer is almost over and I have to go back to schoollllllllll *cries*. But seriously. I was in shock that this readalong was almost over! I was so excited to read this book again. I feel like it does the whole “going out with a bang” thing spectacularly (SPOILER FOR BoO? IDK *cough*by that I mean better than The Blood of Olympus *cough*), and who doesn’t wanna read that over and over again?

Arvenig: I was excited as always, but also a little bit sad since this will be the last post (and book) of the readalong! Well my school starts the 12th of September, but well now I’ll have to actually do homework… *sigh*


What are your final thoughts after reading the book?

Alex: Now it’s actually over and everything is almost over and I don’t know how to cope. I’m honestly really really proud of myself. I’ve always been the kind of person that gives up in the middle of doing something because I get bored or frustrated, but I didn’t do that this time. I mean, I reread one of my favorite series this summer. That’s a pretty huge accomplishment for me. I’ve never reread 
an entire series before!

Arvenig: So this book surprised me a lot, maybe it’s my favourite in the series, even if the first books of a series will always have a little special space. I really liked the way it ended, SPOILER ALERT since a lot of people are mentioned from the gods to “normal” people like Rachel END OF SPOILER. I’m also happy that I started reading this series even if when I was younger I didn’t like at all the movie!


What did you think of the plot/story line?

Alex: Obviously, the difference between this book and the first four is that the characters aren’t on a quest, which is a pretty huge change. I was actually kind of sad that I remembered what all the lines in the prophecy going into this book (that wasn’t the case with The Battle of the Labyrinth), which probably made it less enjoyable. This book is just so awesome when you have no idea what’s going to happen. At the same time, rereading it felt like I had this huge secret that I was just dying to tell the characters. I feel like that’s enjoyable in its own way.

Arvenig: This time I really really really liked the story line, in fact, there’s always something you don’t expect. A lot of monsters, gods, etc. that we have maybe only seen once in the first four books are here again. During the first books, most of the times, the first part didn’t get me.

What was your reaction to the deaths in this book?

Alex: AHHHHH. I knew that I had forgotten a lot of the deaths in this book because, well, there were quite a few. It’s a war book. That’s what happens. It definitely has a different feel than the deaths in the previous books because of that. Some deaths were just casually mentioned, others that were more important to the plot were focused on more. Each one broke my heart a little more. I actually cried this time around, which I didn’t do the first time. Maybe I’m becoming less of a robot, maybe I’m more sensitive, maybe I’ve experienced more death thus I have a more personal connection to it, I’m not sure, but I know it upset me more this time.

Arvenig: Well the books always kind of sum up what happened before and this time there were more deaths than other memories from last year… I always hate when authors kill people that, for me, would live happily ever after, and the feels came again in this b
+ook… I expected some of them and some were maybe even right, but SOME OF THEM WERE REALLY UNNECESSARY.


What are your top 5 favorite quotes?

Alex:
1. “‘With great power... comes great need to take a nap. Wake me up later.’”
2. [SPOILER] “‘As for my brothers,’ Zeus said, ‘we are thankful’-he cleared his throat like the words were hard to get out-’erm, thankful for the aid of Hades.’
The lord of the dead nodded. He had a smug look on his face, but I figure he'd earned the right. He patted his son Nico on the shoulders, and Nico looked happier than I'd ever seen him.
‘And, of course,’ Zeus continued, though he looked like his pants were smoldering, ‘we must...um...thank Poseidon.’
‘I'm sorry, brother,’ Poseidon said. ‘What was that?’
‘We must thank Poseidon,’ Zeus growled. ‘Without whom . . . it would've been difficult-’
‘Difficult?’ Poseidon asked innocently.
‘Impossible,’ Zeus said. ‘Impossible to defeat Typhon.'"
3. “We need music," Nico said. "How's your singing?"
"Um, no. Can't you just, like, tell it to open? You're the son of Hades and all."
"It's not so easy. We need music."
I was pretty sure if I tried to sing, all I would cause was an avalanche.”
4. “‘Why do you need to gallop while you fly?’
‘Why do humans have to sway their arms while they walk? I dunno boss, but it just feels
       right.’”   
5. “The older lady harrumphed. ‘I warned you, daughter. This scoundrel Hades is no good. You could've married the god of doctors or the god of lawyers, but noooo. You had to eat the pomegranate.’”


Arvenig:
1.  "‘I figured he would rather have his mane braided like My Little Pony than be back here again.’" 
2. "‘Woof!’ Mrs O’Leary looked up, probably wondering if we were going to play fetch with the satyr."  
3. "‘Hey, Ugly!’ Annabeth yelled. I hoped she was talking to the giant, not me."  
4. "The Lord of Time disappeared under a giant blue butt."  
5. "‘Son of Hades.’ Kronos spat on the ground. ‘Do you love death so much you wish to experience it?’‘Your death,’ Nico said, ‘would be great for me’" 


What’s your rating for this book and why?

Alex: 5 STARS because...what’s not to love? There’s death and romantic tension and death and betrayals and death and Nico (death)! While I think the Titan’s Curse is still my favorite book (in this initial series), this one is a close second (the order, if you’re wondering, is 3, 5, 4, 1, 2).

Arvenig: 4.5 out of 5 stars. I don’t why but I just can’t give it a 5 stars, but well 4.5 is very very good for me! In this book there’s more action, and everything it’s always a surprise, the reading I think it’s faster and lots of other things.

Are you going to continue with the Heroes of Olympus series?

Alex: Again??? Ahhhhh the pain. I probably will eventually. It depends who we end up seeing again in the Trials of Apollo. I do suggest that Arvenig should read it though, even if I do have some negative opinions...it’s worth it. The Hidden Oracle was worth it. The fanfiction is worth it.

Arvenig: YESSS! Probably not this year I want to finish some series before that, but I’m looking forward to it!! Alex, I’ll probably read that, I’m so excited now that I finally know some Rick Riordan’s books!

How was your first time HOSTING a readalong, a giveaway, Twitter chats, etc.?

Alex: Umm..stressful? More work than I was expecting? MUCH more time consuming. I don’t regret anything though. It made me actually have to do stuff this summer, while simultaneously making me look like I’d done nothing. I also spent the first money that I ever have on my blog (in the form of postage..), which was kind of weird, but also...educational?...in a way. I learned how to fill out a customs form! I learned what a custom form is! It actually arrived! I don’t know. It made me talk to people. Sometimes even in the outside.

Arvenig: It wasn’t my first time hosting a giveaway, luckily. I thought, too, that it was going to be much easier. The really difficult things for me were reading with a schedule (yes I always started the books three days before the deadline) and writing a review the same day or the day after, since I usually take a week to make up my mind and write a review, in fact now I think I want to set a couple of higher ratings. I’m also so happy that I co-hosted this readalong especially that I co-hosted it with Alex, thanks for the patience! I had a lot of fun and it has been an awesome experience that also gave me lots of ideas (as some corrections in my review format).


The Twitter Giveaway

The giveaway ended today and the winner is Jodie @novellover97 that has also a blog: forthenovellovers,

Our Twitters:

Let’s talk…


What was your favourite part of the book? What was your favourite book in the series?

PS: This is Alex. I'd just like to personally thank everyone who participated in this readalong. Whether you actually read the books with us, or you just entered the giveaway, or all you've done is read this review, thank you. Seriously. We had a few ups and downs along the way, but I really loved doing this. It was an amazing experience, so thank you guys for being a part of it. And, of course, a special thank you to Arvenig for saying yes to co-hosting this event. Memories have been made. :)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Problems with Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (Review Take Two)


Two months ago, I made a review of Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin. I gave it three stars, which, for me, isn't that bad of a rating. I liked the book! But after a couple months of consideration, I realized this book had even more issues than I previously thought. I mentioned some of them in my original review, but it wasn't until I read other reader's reviews that I really saw the issues. I really want to readdress them, and I want to share with people the problems in this book. Honestly, I want to share the problems with the AUTHOR, who, as far as I can tell, is cisgender (not trans or nonbinary), and I want him to realize the problems this book has because I'm hoping he'll write a new book that's...not as bad. Yup.

For those of you who don't know, this book is about a genderfluid teenager. I think it's worth mentioning that I am transgender. Specifically, I'm a demiguy (I partially identify as a guy, but not entirely) whose gender is also pretty fluid (it's complicated). I think I have at least some merit in discussing this.

Problem #1: The Inaccurate Representation of Dysphoria

I'm doing this one first because, well, it's probably going to take the longest.

This book represents dysphoria as something that is caused and fixed by clothing. Believe it or not, your expression/what kind of clothes you like to wear has absolutely nothing to do with gender. At all. Hell, I would be comfortable in a dress. The problem, and the reason why trans people like to dress like how their gender (stereotypically) does, is because they want to appear as that gender. Like, it's hard to pass as male while wearing a dress, which is quite unfortunate because I have a TARDIS dress that I'm in love with, but I feel like I can't wear it. I usually wear it anyway because idgaf about your bullshit.

Anyway, back to the point: THAT'S NOT GENDER DYSPHORIA. That's called being gender non-conforming, meaning that you don't dress in the stereotypical ways of your gender.

Simply, there are two different types of dysphoria (some people would argue that there's more, but I'm just going to keep it the way most people say it): social dysphoria and body dysphoria. What are these, you may ask if you don't spend enough time on that side of the internet? I'll include the definition for dysphoria too, just in case anyone's confused about what the hell I'm talking about.

Dysphoria [also called Gender Dysphoria]: an experience of discomfort or disconnect with one's assigned gender, often accompanied by a strong desire to change one's sex to better match their identity or to be called the correct gendered language. [Source] <- You can also learn more there.
Social Dysphoria: the sense of dysphoria specifically linked to social situations. It is typically caused by social assumptions relating to gender, such as gendered birth names, pronoun use, assumption of social roles, or body language. [Source] (It was slightly edited.)
Body Dysphoria: distress, discomfort, confusion, anger, sadness, or disgust experienced because a person's body doesn't match up with how they feel it should be. Certain parts of a person's body, usually primary or secondary sexual organs, face shape, body shape, etc., will cause body dysphoria. The solution is usually transition (taking hormones, getting surgeries, and the like) to help an individual feel more "at home" in their bodies. Commonly experienced among transgender people.
**Important Note: Not all transgender people experience dysphoria the same way, nor do they always experience the same types of dysphoria. Don't assume they do, please.**

Honestly, in my own opinion, it doesn't seem like Riley even experiences dysphoria, though I assume that's caused by the author not seeming to know what dysphoria even is.

Dysphoria is not something that can be cured by a dress or styling your hair in a certain way. Wanting to wear a dress or a suit or whatever has NOTHING to do with being transgender. Going back and forth between wanting to wear a dress and a suit does not make you genderfluid, wearing some kind of suit-dress hybrid does not make you androgyne, and dammit being naked does NOT MAKE YOU AGENDER. Clothes do not equal gender. Come on, guys, we're supposed to be crushing gender roles here. Ugh.

As I said before, I'm pretty sure Jeff Garvin is cisgender, meaning he has a male body and is a dude blah blah blah. I wouldn't expect him to understand what dysphoria feels like, but I also wouldn't expect him to write a book about a gender fluid character. On his website, he said he did a lot of research. My question is, did his research involve any actual genderfluid people? Did somebody with dysphoria approve of this??? 

Dysphoria is not something that is easily dealt with. The sheer amount of times I've burst out crying (with my luck, usually in the middle of a test that's going to decide whether or not I'm allowed to live) because I looked in the mirror or was called a girl or looked down at my chest and went wtf is that weird fatty shit doing there? is pretty insane.

Or maybe the problem is actually caused by the next problem, which was a pretty major mistake if you ask me.

Problem #2: Riley doesn't have a biological sex/assigned gender at birth, does have a gender-neutral birth name, and also looks completely neutral without really trying

Well, okay, they probably do, but it's unknown. For the whole book. This, in theory, is actually a pretty interesting idea *cough*that's totally been done before but whatever*cough*, but it really didn't work for one key reason: dysphoria. 

Body dysphoria relies on uncomfortable body parts. Social dysphoria relies on not being able to pass. How the hell am I supposed to relate to Riley when they don't even have to try to pass? I mean, I have short hair and wear clothing from the guys section and bind my chest and put a sock in my underwear (it's called packing, google it) and lower my voice, but do you think I pass? Fuck no. It's not that easy. Despite what Mulan has taught you, cutting your hair and wearing guys clothing is not all it takes to look like a dude.

Names and pronouns...that's a huge part of dysphoria. I would've loved to have been given a gender-neutral name at birth, but I wasn't. I had to change mine, and explain it to all of my friends and family and random people in the grocery store. Passing wearing only gender neutral clothing and an androgynous haircut? Forget about it. Everyone knows I was assigned female at birth just by glancing at me. I would kill to be in Riley's position. That's...really not an exaggeration.

Problem #3: The Absence of "They" Pronouns

From the authors perspective, I actually understand this one (editors are the worst, trust me I've had intense grammar fights with a few of them), but it still pisses me off. Whether you like it or not, there are people in the world that use "they/them/their" pronouns. It's a pretty excepted way of addressing someone who is neither male nor female, since it's already a word in the English language.

It's also worth pointing out again that this second definition is a thing:
Riley always referred to people they didn't know the name of by "he or she," which not only got annoying, but was also completely unnecessary. "They" pronouns exist. Hey look! I've been using them this whole time for Riley! I also have a ton of friends that use "they" pronouns. I'm still pretty iffy on whether or not I should tell them to read this book considering it completely ignores their pronouns. You don't need to say that they're grammatically correct, but at least acknowledge that there are people in the world that use them.

Problem #4: Lack of Other Nonbinary Genders

I don't think I saw one other gender besides male, female, and genderfluid. Just...what? Sorry? I exist? I have friends that also exist? (I mean, I think so.) It's like, yeah lets talk about nonbinary genders! What do you mean there's more than genderfluid?

Yet another reason I hesitate before recommending this book to a nonbinary friend...there's a good chance their gender's not here. I mean, I don't expect you to mention every gender known to Tumblr, but at least mention a couple? Agender? Androgyne? Demigender? Bigender? Genderflux? ANYTHING?!?!?!? If you're going to be inclusive with gender...please include more than just genderfluid. Thanks. Appreciate it.

Problem #5: Genderfluid Inaccuracies

I'm not trying to say that Riley's type of genderfluidity isn't a real one - it totally is, but it's not the only one. Ahem, hello! Once again, I exist! Ha. Ha. Ugh.

Genderfluid people aren't necessarily people that are sometimes female and sometimes male. Actually, I've yet to meet someone who's like that, but I've heard they exist. Many (if not all) of the genderfluid people I've talked to go through more than two genders. Some go between male, female, and an in-between gender or two. Some go throughout all the genders. Others, like me, only go through certain genders. For me, that's neutral/genderless sometimes, male, and the genders in-between. For others, it might be something totally different. But that's still being genderfluid. What goes into being genderfluid? Having a fluid gender. You're welcome.

Back to the problem - Riley is only ever male or female. Sure, it might get a little confusing if your main character is switching between several genders, but hey, that's my life. I found it kind of sad that so many people now think that that's the only way genderfluidity can work, when it's really not. Honestly, people saying how much this book taught them broke my heart. Please don't use this book as your only source of information! PLEASE!


So what would I rate this book now? Well, I kind of want to give it one star just for failing to accurately represent trans people or nonbinary people or genderfluid people. I feel like dysphoria is a big part of any book with a trans character...and this one failed miserably, but I'm going to give it two stars. Mostly because I actually liked the characters and the writing and all that (except for a few Doctor Who inaccuracies that I broke down in my previous review). With all the other issues, I don't even think it's necessary to mention how unlikely the plot is, but that's just me being picky.

Would I recommend this book? I'm not sure. I want to encourage books with nonbinary main characters (and LGBT books in general), but I also want them to be accurate. This book fails in many key ways that are pretty vital to a book with a trans character, but is it a bad book? No. I kind of want you to read it so more books with trans characters become a thing, but I also want you to realize that this isn't how it works for most (if not all) transgender/nonbinary people. At all. Just...no. I don't know if that was helpful or not.

What did you think of this book? Are you going to read it? Do you think my problems with it are valid? Do you agree or disagree? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

PS: Please share this post if you liked it! I really want people to know that this is NOT how it works, and that's it's a hell of a lot more complicated than that. So many people said that this book taught them a lot about being genderfluid, and I want people to know that it taught them wrong in many ways. It's important.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Double Review of The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson #4) by Rick Riordan w/ Arvenig! (Half-Blood Readalong)


Hello! This is the fourth review of the Half-Blood Readalong of Percy Jackson series hosted by me and Arvenig @ Arvenig.it. If you want more information on our readalong, you can check out our announcement post. Join the Goodreads group for a free entry to our Percy Jackson-themed goody bag giveaway, and you can enter down below!

We’re going to do a different kind of review. Obviously, it’s going to be from both of us, but it’s also in a Q&A format! (Tell me what you think of this because I really like it!)


Title: The Battle of the Labyrinth
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book Four)
Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 361
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Published: March 6th 2008
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.32 out of 5
Alex’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Arvenig’s Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis: Percy Jackson isn't expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos's army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop the invasion, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth - a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn.


What were your thoughts before reading?

Alex: I didn’t really know what to think going into this because I didn’t remember much from the first time I read it. Basically, I remembered the outcome, but I didn’t remember how they got there!

Arvenig: I was excited to start to the fourth book since the third was pretty amazing!

What are your final thoughts after reading the book?

Alex: Whenever something happened I almost always went, “I remember this now!” Though there were several times when I honestly didn’t remember something happening at all. I’m not sure why I didn’t remember this book as much as I remembered the other ones. Also, NICO. AHH. It’s so weird going back and seeing tiny Nico, who’s so sad and cute. I just want to give the guy a hug.

Arvenig: I loved the fact that there is Daedalus because he’s one of my top favorite people of Greek mythology, mainly for his story. I find it funny because Alex said the same thing as me (I remember this!!) but for different reasons during this book XD. I love Nico and Tyson they’re so so cute :3. They’re are really different; Tyson is cute and squishy because he’s childish, so he’s happy and everything, and Nico has been going through a lot of things, ecc.


What did you think of the plot/storyline?

Alex: I love the fact that Annabeth gets her own quest. IT’S ABOUT TIME. I also love that we get to see Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Tyson all together! I feel like this book includes so many things that I’ve been waiting to happen: Kronos, Percabeth..but, ahem, no spoilers. :)

Arvenig: Same thing as always: battle, Camp Half-Blood, the Prophecy, and a quest. I like it, but I find it interesting the fact that it is the same thing in all the books. As I said before, I loved seeing them together as well, and there are always new characters as Quintus (that is an important part of the book:)).

What do you think of Nico’s character?

Alex: I love love love love Nico’s character, and he only gets BETTER! (I’m trying not to spoiler it, okay?) Seriously though, I’ve loved him from the beginning. What can I say? He was adorable playing Mythomagic, and he’s adorable raising the dead. I can’t stop reading fanfiction okay I’m sorry. (I don’t know how I got through this without spoiling bits in The Heroes of Olympus.)

Arvenig: I agree with Alex so so much! He’s so adorable. We saw him the first time in the third book and he just gets better and better. I don’t really know how to explain this, but I hope there will be more about him!!


What are your top 5 favorite quotes?

Alex:
1. “People are more difficult to work with than machines. And when you break a person, he can't be fixed.”
2. “You deal with mythological stuff for a few years, you learn that paradises are usually places where you get killed.”
3. “‘I thought maybe, at first, he was seeing another tree.’
‘No,’ Annabeth said, as Juniper started crying. ‘I’m sure that’s not it.’
‘He had a crush on a blueberry bush once,’ Juniper said miserably.”
4. “I tried to talk to him in my mind. I can do that with most horses.
Hi, I told him. I'm going to clean your stables. Won't that be great?
Yes! The horse said. Come inside! Eat you! Tasty half-blood!
But I'm Poseidon's son, I protested. He created horses.
Usually this gets me VIP treatment in the equestrian world, not this time.
Yes! The horse agreed enthusiastically. Poseidon can come in, too! We will eat you both! Seafood!
Seafood! The other horses chimed in as they waded through the field.”
5. “Poseidon raised his eyebrows as they shook hands. ‘Blowfish, did you say?’
‘Ah, no. Blofis, actually.’
‘Oh, I see,’ Poseidon said. ‘A shame. I quite like blowfish.’”

Arvenig:
1. “'You're a half-blood, too?'
'Shhh! Just announce it to the world, how about?'
'Okay. Hey, everybody! These two aren't human! They're half Greek god!...They don't seem to care.'”
2. "Don't feel bad, I'm usually about to die."
3. "But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword."
4. “He just raised the dead with coke and cheeseburgers.” 
5. "'Are you guys busy?’
'Well, we’re in the middle of this game against a bunch of monsters and we’re trying not to die.'
'We’re not busy.'”

What’s your rating for this book and why?

Alex: My rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars. The Battle of the Labyrinth, while not my favorite book in the series, is still an amazing book. The Percy Jackson series really takes off from The Titan’s Curse and never backs down. (*cough*let’s ignore The Blood of Olympus for the time being*cough*)

Arvenig: My rating is 4 out of 5 stars. Again I really liked it, but there weren’t enough feels for a 5 out of 5 stars. I think I don’t have much preference between this and the third book too: in the third there’s Artemis and some very little and weird Percabeth; in this one there are Percabeth scenes and there are Nico and Tyson.


The Twitter Giveaway

We currently have a giveaway where you can win a bookmark made by Alex! It’s still open, so head over to Alex’s Twitter to enter.

Don’t forget: We’re having a Twitter chat at the end of our readalong Friday, August 12th at 12 PM EDT.


Our Twitters:


Let’s talk…

What was your favourite part of the book?
And remember to enter the giveaway!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Discussion: Should There Be Gay Characters In Children's Books?


Recently, I bought the book The Marvels by Brian Selznick. When I started looking through reviews, I discovered that there was a major gay character featured in this book. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure if the fact that this book has a gay character in it is a spoiler or not, but I also don't know how to warn you since you can read the title of this post. So sorry about that.

Almost all of the negative reviews about this book are about the fact that the synopsis doesn't disclose the fact that the topic of homosexuality is discussed. My gut reaction was these homophobic people make me want to punch things, but I quickly realized that all of these reviews said something pretty similar. But first, let's see if you can figure it out (these are all taken from Goodreads by the way):







Did you figure it out? It's that the topic of homosexuality is inappropriate for children. (Gay children don't exist, obviously.) Now, I'm probably a little biased when it comes to this topic, so I wanted to ask you non-gays what you think of gay characters in children's books.

This is probably a good time to point out that The Marvels isn't actually a children's book. It's middle grade, and almost always recommended for 12 and up. I actually think that's a pretty good age considering this book also talks about AIDs (a little more serious than love in my opinion), and I hear there's a bit of death, but here's the thing: these reviewers (as a whole) are complaining about the homosexuality element of the story, not the other parts. So not only can they not read the recommended age, they also don't realize that there are worse things than gay people.

Anyway, let's go to the question: should there be gay characters in children's books? Your opinion is yours to decide, but let me give you some arguments for and against the inclusion of gay characters in children's books:

Pros:

  • Being gay is something that's introduced as normal, therefore avoiding more future homophobic assholes also known as bullies of my gays.
  • Gay children will realize that they're not crazy, and they won't spend years of there life being confused and/or hating/killing themselves and contributing to the staggering suicide rate among LGBT youth.
  • Gay children will look towards more books that feature people they identify (because they realize that books with LGBT characters exist) with rather than being annoyed by straight romances all the time (me), thus they will become readers. What kind of parent is against that? (Ones that want to keep there money in the bank and not in a bookstore, I suppose.)

Cons (according to the aforementioned homophobic assholes):

  • Parents will have to explain what being gay is to their innocent cishet children (supposedly).
Obvious Counterargument: You don't have to explain what being gay is if you introduce them to the idea from the get-go. How about you stop showing them old Disney movies about princes saving princesses from evil queens and start reading them more books what reality's like? I mean, I don't have a source for this, but I'm pretty sure babies don't come out of the womb screaming "kill the homosexuals!" No. Homophobic behavior is learned just like racism or sexism. If you just treat it as normal, they'll know that it is.
  • It scares the Goodreads user, Russ Bruxvoort.
Obvious Counterargument: And people say arachnophobia is an irrational fear... Dude. You have a problem. It's just love.
  • Homosexuality is sexual content that is inappropriate and shouldn't be allowed in books for children!
Obvious Counterargument: Really? This is one of my main problems with these people. They think that the presence of a gay couple is somehow equal to graphic anal sex. Either these people have never gotten passed first base (how did these people have children), or they actually think gay relationships are all about sex. Being a gay person myself, I wish people would realize how fucked up that is. My sexuality isn't just about sex. It's about love. I enjoy having crushes and falling in love with people of my same gender (actually most genders if we want to get technical here). That's something that I've been doing for my entire life. It's not sexual (always...), and it's not something I chose. (Why would I want to when there's so many people like them in the world?) Gay love, like any other kind of love, is innocent. Are you really trying to teach children that love is inappropriate? Because that's what it sounds like. There's a chance the child you're teaching this to is gay, and guess what? If you continue to push this kind of harmful message on children, you're going to end up with a miserable child. Parents like you are the reason almost half of all gay teens have attempted suicide. I hope you're proud of that.
  • The synopsis should make the topics of the book obvious so that the parents can make the decision about whether or not they want their child reading this book.
Obviously Counterargument: And what? Make sure that all the hateful homophobic parents raise hateful homophobic kids? The earlier these topics are brought up the better. Children need to be introduced to the idea that not every experience is like their own, whether that be based on sexuality, gender, race, religion, etc. Parents need to STOP KEEPING THEIR KIDS IN A BOX (and for some, in a box pushed into the back of a closet). I spent so much of my life being completely unaware of the diverse world around me, and that's not okay. Children being shielded from the world around them is what ends up making kids become bullies. They pick on the kids who are part of an unfamiliar community. Children need to know that there are people and communities that are different from their own. How else will they ever be compatible with other humans? If anything, parents should be thrilled at the happy surprise! Seriously though..It's not like they have to tell you there's a straight romance! 
  • It pushes the homosexual agenda.
Obvious Counterargument: Honestly, I don't have a counterargument for this. It's true, I do have an agenda. What can I say? I just can't remember anything otherwise. I would forget so much homework if it weren't for my agenda. For those of you wondering, I prefer this agenda for all my gay agending.

Sure there's more cons than pros, but I think my counterarguments were pretty good, though that isn't hard when the arguments are incredibly invalid. And offensive.

Well, that's my opinion. Please feel free to leave yours down in the comments.

Monday, July 18, 2016

BookTubeAThon TBR! (2016)

Hello! The BookTubeAThon started a little over two hours ago in my time zone, and then I realized that I forgot to make a TBR post, so I decided that I'm going to do a quick post right now to let you guys know what I'm going to be reading this week!

If you want more information on the BookTubeAThon (or if you just don't know what the hell it is) then you can check out their YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Also, this is Book Depository's BookTubeAThon page with discounts and stuff.

Last year, I read six books, and completed six of the seven challenges, which is actually pretty good. I'm hoping that I can complete all seven this time around, but even six is pretty good in my book!

Challenge #1 - Read a book with yellow on the cover.


I'm going to be reading Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella because so many people adore it, and I've been avoiding it for awhile, but I thought I'd try to read it now. I really wanted to read it last year, but that just didn't happen... At least from the description it sounds like it's going to romanticize mental illness, which terrifies me because NO, but obviously I don't know so correct me if I'm wrong.




Challenge #2 - Read a book only after sunset.


I honestly don't know which one this is going to be sooo.... But I am going to try to do it with The Crown by Kiera Cass, mostly because it's currently night, and I plan on reading that one first.

Also, can we talk about how TERRIFYING and CREEPY this cover is? Just look at that face! What the hell is that? I literally have a poster of it that came with it that I refuse to hang up because the face creeps me out (though the other side is The Heir, mostly I'm really lazy..)




Challenge #3 - Read a book you discovered through BookTube.


For this challenge, I'm going to be reading My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Wanga. To be honest, this book also sounds like it's going to romanticize mental illness, but that seems to be a thing, so let's just go with it. I mean, I already own it (friend's gift), so I might as well read it amirite?

Also, it's literally one of the only books that I remember being recommended to me by a BookTuber. It was JesseTheReader, no, I have no clue what video.



Challenge #4 - Read a book by one of your favorite authors.


I really really really need to read The Hidden Oracle. I've been attempting to avoid spoilers rather unsuccessfully so far, and so I think it would be best to just read it. I've been meaning to read it forever (this is not the first TBR this book has been on, unfortunately), and I think it might be time to force myself to sit down and read.

Also, people keep talking about Solangelo. Is that in this book?? Is it? I NEED TO KNOW.




Challenge #5 - Read a book that is older than you. & Challenge #6 - Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation.


I'M GOING TO BE READING HARRY POTTER, OKAY? AND NO, I HAVEN'T READ IT YET PLEASEDONTKILLME. Yes, this book was on my TBR last year. But on the bright side, it's one of only two books on the TBR that's older than me (the other one being White Jenna by Jane Yolen), so I'm probably going to be forced to read it this time around. And as for the book-to-movie adaptation challenge, it's is legitimately the only book on my shelf I haven't read with a movie adaptation, which, no, I also haven't watched. Kill me.

Challenge #7 - Read seven books.


My last two books are The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Demigod Files by Rick Riordan. I really need to read The Battle of the Labyrinth for The Half-Blood Readalong (info here), and it seemed fitting to read The Demigod Files directly after it since that's the order it was published in. I also didn't read them in that order the first time (I read The Last Olympian first), so I thought it would be nice to read them in publication order during my reread of the series.


Hurrah! I'm really looking forward to this week full of reading! Are any of you guys participating? I know most of you guys are bloggers, not BookTubers, but it's honestly so much fun for everybody as long as you like reading. Definitely check it out!

Thanks for reading! Are you participating in the BookTubeAThon this week?

PS: If you're curious, Camp NaNoWriMo has once again been a flop. Several things came in the way that I wasn't expecting (including but not limited to: random trips to Chicago I wasn't informed about, Sherlock series two, this readathon, The Half-Blood Readalong stuff (so many bookmarks), my birthday next week and the misgendering by family members that comes with it, and the fact that I'm very ADHD), so I've pretty much given up. BUT: I do really want to if not finish than at least come close to finishing my novel by the end of the summer. As of right now, August looks pretty open for me, so I'm hoping I'll have enough time to crank out some words. Please, somebody hold me to that. I don't want to fail.