April, 2020 - I think I'm going to shut From My Bookshelf down for a while; maybe for good. I've been putting this together for quite a few years now and it's starting to feel a bit more of a chore. I'll keep my Goodreads connected, but with the state of the world right now, I just want to read without worrying about making sure I post something about it. Who knows - when the world starts to make some semblance of sense again, I may start actively posting here again. Until then, as always, happy reading!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

My Brother's Husband, Vol 1 by Gengoroh Tagame

My Brother's Husband, Volume 1 My Brother's Husband, Volume 1 by Gengoroh Tagame
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Yaichi’s twin brother, Ryoji, passes away, he is forced to confront his past when Ryoji’s widower, Mike, comes to visit. Mike wants to learn about his husband’s life, but comes to understand how little homosexuality is accepted in Japan. Yaichi, through his interactions with Mike and Mike’s growing friendship with Yaichi’s daughter, Kana, begins to understand that maybe he was too harsh and unaccepting of his brother’s life and starts to reshape his views about homosexuality. Dealing strongly with the homophobia and struggle of self-acceptance in Japanese culture, this is still ultimately a story of hope. I’m looking forward to reading the next volume.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

The Prince and the Dressmaker The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Frances, a seamstress with dreams of taking the fashion world of late 19th century France by storm, is brought to the palace, she has no idea who her new client is. Prince Sebastian, whose parents are trying to find a suitable princess for him to marry, wants nothing more than to take the fashion world by storm as well, only as the Lady Crystallia. Together, Sebastian and Frances create fabulous gowns and are the talk of Paris, but when Sebastian’s secret is threatened, will he be able to let Frances strike out on her own? What I appreciated most about this charming story is the way Wang thoughtfully and carefully handles gender fluidity. While Sebastian does face discrimination, it is how the story is resolved that made this jump from a solid 4-star story to a 5-star joy to read.

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Friday, June 11, 2021

Indivisible by Daniel Aleman

Indivisible Indivisible by Daniel Aleman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mateo, whose parents are undocumented immigrants but also respected members of their community, is your typical high school student, trying to navigate the ups and downs of teenage life. He works at his parents’ bodega to help them, but dreams of being on stage. When his parents are detained by ICE and the threat of deportation is looming, Mateo must grow up far too fast as he tries to protect his younger sister, his parent’s business, and understand what is happening to his family. A wildly timely and thought-provoking novel, Aleman depicts a family’s struggle to remain together in the face of a country that wants nothing more than to tear them apart.

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Saturday, June 5, 2021

Heartstopper, Vol 4 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper, Volume Four Heartstopper, Volume Four by Alice Oseman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heartstopper, Vol 4 is the heaviest volume to date, dealing directly with Charlie’s mental health issues and how Nick is there to support him. This volume is definitely not all flowers and rainbows, and there are some definite triggering elements such as self-harm and eating disorders, but Oseman deals with everything in her usual caring manner. I still can’t recommend this series enough.

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Friday, June 4, 2021

Heartstopper, Vol 3 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper: Volume Three Heartstopper: Volume Three by Alice Oseman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We get a deeper dive into Charlie and Nick’s relationship this time around as the boys go on a school trip to Paris! How will they keep their relationship a secret? Or do they not mind people knowing now? I liked that we get to find out a little bit more about the side characters this time around, too. And the normalization of other sexualities!! I’ll say it again, this is so refreshing to see characters being treated in a normal way. Oseman has gone to great lengths to show that all people, regardless of their sexuality, deserve to be treated fairly. This volume is not without its darker moments tho, as issues of mental health in various forms are also dealt with, but in a caring way. And as someone who is still discovering things about his own sexuality well into his 40s, the side story dealing with the feeling of loss that comes with not having known who were earlier in your life really resonated with me. This continues to be one of the best series I’ve read this year.

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Thursday, June 3, 2021

Heartstopper, Vol 2 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper: Volume Two Heartstopper: Volume Two by Alice Oseman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Charlie and Nick’s awkwardness continues to be adorable as they navigate the early days of their relationship. I think the thing I appreciate most about this volume is how Oseman handles Nick’s uncertainty about discovering who he is and coming to terms with that and how it’s made very clear that no one should force you or rush you into making these decisions. Each person’s coming out story is different and personal and should be done solely on their terms and when they’re ready. Charlie is understanding and patient and let’s Nick take his time in discovering who he is. It’s so refreshing to see a queer love story told like this. Everyone should be reading this series!

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Heartstopper, Vol 1 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper: Volume One Heartstopper: Volume One by Alice Oseman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first read this last year, and it made my heart so happy. The developing relationship between Charlie and Nick is adorable and filled with all the awkwardness and angst that comes with being young and in love. Oseman’s art is simplistic but still spot on and renders everyone perfectly. If you’re looking for a practically perfect young queer love story, this series is exactly what you’re looking for.

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