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May 2021

Lifestyle

Dee Reviews | Rogue: Untouched and This Book Is Gay

Oooh, look who is coming to you with a slightly different looking post. This layout is just a quick test to see how the pictures look in the post. If I don’t like them, then I’ll probably just take the pictures the way I have been doing. As the title suggests, Netgalley finally gave me some upcoming books to review! I was beginning to think no-one liked me. Haha!

This month I reviewed Rogue: Untouched by Alisa Kwitney and This Book Is Gay (new updated version) by Juno Dawson! Two completely different books but both I was super excited to read! The first because I’ve previously read and review Domino Strays and the second because my local library still had the book under ‘James’. Only fair I read under the correct name!

Hope you enjoy these mini reviews and let me know if you want more in future!

UK Paperback: 22nd July 2021

Plot

Young Rogue’s life sucks: she lives alone in an abandoned cabin, works a terrible diner job and hides from everyone. The powers she has started to develop are terrifying her. When your first kiss almost kills the guy, it’s hard to trust anyone – even yourself. Then two people arrive in town who could change her life, and she finally gets a choice: follow a mysterious billionaire who says she’s scouting for gifted interns, or the handsome card shark with eerie red eyes. Except they’re not the only ones watching her… Rogue will have to trust in herself and accept the powers she’s trying to suppress to decide her own fate – before someone else does.

Review

If there’s anyone that adored watching the original X-Men animated series or the older X-Men films, then you will have discovered the incredible Anna Marie LeBeau aka Rogue! She was always such a sassy lady but her life was super sad too! The fact that she was always too scared to touch anyone or kiss them.

As you can guess from the plot, Rogue Untouched is basically a prequel to everything that we know about Rogue. She’s a teenager in a quiet Mississippi town, trying to make ends meet through her waitress job and praying that her 1986 pickup truck (called Willie) starts! She never would have guessed who would turn up in her life!

If you know the whole X-Men story, then you will probably have already guessed who the ‘handsome card shark’ is! Let’s just say that he’s just as suave and a magnet for trouble as he always has been! We get to see a whole bunch of people that we recognise and some new faces that we meet along the way. Marie’s journey to the lady we know is bumpy, deadly and chaotic but I loved it!! You never knew what was going to happen next and it definitely left me wanting to re-read it all over again.

If you love Marvel and X-Men, you need to read this!

 

Synopsis

A funny and pertinent book about being lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer, transgender or just curious – for everybody, no matter their gender or sexuality Former PSHCE teacher and acclaimed YA author Juno Dawson gives an uncensored look at what it’s like to grow up as LGBT.

Including testimonials from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, this frank, funny, fully inclusive book explores everything anyone who ever dared to wonder wants to know – from sex to politics, how to pull, stereotypes, how to come-out and more. Spike Gerrell’s hilarious illustrations combined with funny and factual text make this a must-read.

Review

You’re probably looking at this book and thinking ‘Er…Daisy? This has been out for years now! Why are you including it?’. Well, there’s a good reason. This Book Is Gay was originally released back in 2014 and in 2015 she came out as a transgender woman. Her old book was under her deadname ‘James’. Even my old library has that copy. I wanted to see it with the new updated cover.

Juno is such an incredible writer and even won an award last year for her book Meat Market!

This book is definitely more non-fiction than her other books and does exactly what the synopsis suggests. It gives a really interesting look into different elements of the LGBTQ+ community! Juno, if you ever read this mini review, I had to skip Chapter 9 about gay sex because I’m ace and couldn’t get myself to read!

The rest of the book is hilarious yet informative in a way that will really help any age who is questioning themselves and help them engage too! You get to learn through some of Juno’s own personal experiences growing up and discovering who she really was. Spike Gerrel’s brilliant illustrations add to the humour too!

If you know anyone, whether young or old, who has recently come out or is just curious about the community, tell them to read this!

What books have you been reading this May?

Books

Why Heartstopper by Alice Oseman Should Be On Your School’s Reading List?

Another day, another post about Heartstopper and Alice Oseman in general. Don’t worry…I’m not going to fangirl the book series again. I’m wanting to put forward an idea for why I think Heartstopper should be put on school reading lists.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has the odd couple of books stuck in my head. For me I have Of Mice and Men and Pig Heart Boy renting space in my brain. Though these books have decades in between them, both have a powerful message to share with students. I believe that Alice Oseman’s books carry the same power to shape the lives of the teenagers who read them.

*cracks knuckles* Okay, let me show you my reasons!

school reading list

1. The series is based mostly in a school

There are so many YA books out there that are set in a school environment such as Harry Potter, Malory Towers and even Twilight. Obviously the characters are stuck there. You see their home life, their free time and life away from school. Heartstopper does exactly this! It starts at Truham Grammar School for Boys with Charlie starting Year 10 and Nick starting Year 11.

Alice is super clever with how she brings the school to life through her drawings. She shows the odd lesson like English or P.E, includes glimpses of timetables and revision notes. You definitely don’t get such an indepth glimpse into a fictional world in other YA books.

I reckon any secondary school kid will see similarities to their own school life and connect to the series.

2. It has a variety of LGBTQIA+ characters

One of the key elements to this series is that it has so many characters who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. You have a few who are gay, transgender and bisexual. This is a topic that needs to be spoken more openly in schools. For years it has carried a taboo. Whether it’s because the students are too young or could ‘have their minds altered’, it’s been kept behind closed doors.

It’s 2021, people!

This should not be happening!

Teenagers are discovering their identity/sexuality regardless and Heartstopper gives them that freedom. Charlie and Nick’s journey provides a safe space for them to explore.

3. The series explores difficult situations

Any book that has a character go through challenging yet relatable situations is a winner for me. There are a handful of moments where you feel super uncomfortable and have to watch the character live through it. While it might make teenagers cringe, it’s vital they experience this. You have no idea what a student could be going through at home and they could see their home life in the series.

  • Homophobia
  • Bullying
  • Mental Health
  • Eating Disorders
  • Divorce

Alice doesn’t sugar-coat these moments to make it easier for the reader. She puts them right in the moment, slurs and all. While there might be some parents who don’t want to expose their kids to this, it’s necessary. How else will they learn that actions have consequences? Words provide the lesson without the danger!

4. Graphic novels caters for any reading level

Hands up who struggled to read lengthy paragraphs in English?

As much as I adore reading, even I struggled to take in a never-ending chapter. If a student has difficulties in concentration (ADHD), pictures with words can really help in keeping their focus! It’s such a unique reading experience!

Not only do you get the story through the eyes of different characters, it also makes the experience more enjoyable for reluctant readers! It helps that some of the drawings show social media such as Instagram and everyone knows how obsessed teens can be when it comes to that.

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I would love for any readers who are teachers to share their thoughts on this, especially if you teach English or Social Studies. Have any of you used graphic adaptations of popular books in your lessons to help students engage with the story?

Do you think the Heartstopper series should be put on school reading lists?

Books

Review | Heartstopper: Volume 4 by Alice Oseman

It’s been a long time since I adored a book series but, over the last couple of years, Heartstopper has taken over my fangirl mind! If you’ve never read Heartstopper or any of Alice Oseman’s books, it’s never too late!! This particular series is all about two teenagers called Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson.

They’re not only trying to get through their GCSEs and school, but also understanding themselves. These two are so special to me! They chat about their sexuality, their mental health and more. Alice doesn’t just focus on Nick and Charlie. She has a cast of characters that are going through their own problems:

  • Abuse
  • Homophobia
  • Depression
  • Family troubles

You name it, Alice has given it a platform to discuss!

I’ve been reading her Heartstopper comics on Tumblr for a few years now and was so happy when she had them published into books! It’s even going to have its own Netflix series in 2022! I’m chatting about Volume 4 because it’s out today and I’ve been sitting on this book for a week to chat about it with you!

Heartstopper

This is going to be a spoiler-free review because the best part of reading is discovering all the surprises yourself! I will be fangirling though so good luck! I’d recommend starting with Volume 1 to get you into the lives of Nick and Charlie but I reckon you could read this alone too!

Plot

Charlie didn’t think Nick could ever like him back, but now they’re officially boyfriends. Charlie’s beginning to feel ready to say those three little words:I love you.

Nick’s been feeling the same, but he’s got a lot on his mind – not least coming out to his dad, and the fact that Charlie might have an (SPOILER).

As summer turns to autumn and a new school year begins, Charlie and Nick are about to learn a lot about what love means.

Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

Review

Where can I even start with Volume 4?!

I guess I want to thank Alice Oseman for not only an incredible volume but also for the trigger warnings at the start. So little books contain warnings for what they will discuss and every time I’m triggered. Thankfully we got one here and I’m really glad. One of the topics a character goes through hits very close for me and, even knowing what might be discussed, I still had to put it down for a night.

If you want to know what it is, it’s pretty easy to find out! Haha!

Volume 4 starts with a handy overview of Volume 3 in the form of a diary entry! It’s always adorable to see the different writing styles of the boys! Charlie has a dilemma: is it too early in their relationship to tell Nick that he loves him? It might seem a little thing but don’t forget that Charlie is 15 so this is as big as it gets!

I think more characters should write diary entries! They make scenes even more powerful and really help you connect with whatever that person is going through. Thought that might be just me and my love for visual cues! If Adrien Mole could do it, so can Charlie and Nick!

Just when I thought my heart couldn’t break for these boys more, it shatters! They really go through so much and literally have no idea how to talk it through with anyone. You have one trying to understand something they’ve never thought about before and another battling with themselves. Let’s just say that I’m super glad that they have each other and their friends.

The problems are just linked to the main characters. You also see difficulties with Darcy and Tori too. That’s one of the many things I love about Alice’s universe and her style of writing. None of the characters are perfect and feel both real and very relatable. It doesn’t matter what you’ve gone through. There will be something that you relate to one way or another.

You tend to forget that you’re reading a book and feel as if you’re peeking over the shoulder of different people.

I adore Alice’s art style too! You get so many little details adding to each scene that you always find something new every time you re-read a page. Whether it’s in what a character wears, the texts or even what they’re holding. There is always something new! I’m one of those weird people who love seeing what exam results a character gets or what their Instagram picture is like!

If you’ve never read a graphic novel before, then the Heartstopper series is the perfect set of books to start on! You won’t be disappointed!!

Have you read any of the Heartstopper books before? If not, have you read a graphic novel?

 

Disney

“May The Fourth Be With You” Bullet Journal Flipthrough

Ever since I started creating my 2021 bullet journal I’ve been wanting to be more nerdy with it. I’ve done episode reviews with anime and did a Beauty and the Beast themed spread back in March. Now we have entered May, I knew exactly what theme I was going to do: Star Wars!!

Today is Star Wars Day so May the Fourth Be With You, fellow Jedi!!

I’m hopeless when it comes to drawing/doodling so excuse the horrendous attempts at Chewbacca and BB-8! I couldn’t do this kind of spread without including a few little doodles. You can probably tell in the first picture that I don’t use anything to draw circles so my ferris wheel looks like a deformed orange but it still looks cute! This month’s quote and design was inspired by Julietta at thatsmybujoaccount. The only difference is that I added BB-8!

Star Wars

Every time I see a ferris wheel, it instantly makes me think of the fair scene in Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens! If you’ve read the book or seen the film, then you will know exactly what I’m talking about!

I chose this design and quote because life is definitely a crazy ride. Sometimes it’s a rollercoaster that takes you on massive highs and intense lows. Other times you can just relax and enjoy the ride! I’m still stuck on the rollercoaster but hopefully I’ll find myself on the ferris wheel by the end of the year. I mean…I’m not getting younger!

While my monthly overview isn’t the most gorgeous thing to look at, I think it’s a really nice layout. I wanted to do something a little different and jotted down the days of the week and did black and white numbers. This seems like it will be much easier to read and less of a chore to figure out when my brain is broke.

Of course I added a teeny light-saber as a header and doodles of R2-D2, Chewbacca and BB-8 on the side. Poor BB-8 looks like he’s had a rough night but I tried!

Star Wars Bullet Journal

Star Wars Mood Tracker

You guys know by now that I love a good ol’ mood tracker. It helps that I need to keep track of it since it’s crazy. Look at how the start of May has gone so far. Got to love mental health taking charge. Meeeeh. Ah well, I thought I’d try and cheer myself up by having light-sabers to keep track of what my mood is doing. Oh and I had to have The Child going after a butterfly to make me smile.

I love how the light-sabers look and you can’t go wrong with a rainbow Star Wars page!

To celebrate May the Fourth I’ve been living my best fan life and watching the films in order. I’ve been meaning to do it for years but now I have an excuse and time to kill. Not only have I got films to watch, there are even TV shows. You have The Mandalorian, Star Wars: Rebels, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Resistance! So much content for fans and Disney+ is just making my life so much easier!

Star Wars Memories

On the other pages that I haven’t shown are my blog schedule, anime reviews and that’s it. It always depends on what happens on the day whether I make a page about it. Last month was a lot of new pages because stuff happened! It’s amazing how creative I can be when I want to be.

Let’s see whether Star Wars continues to inspire me to make pages for May! Hopefully I at least learn how to make a better circle. Haha!

Are you a Star Wars fan? How have you been celebrating the day?