ARC Review – Jack’s on Fire

Hello, everyone! Today I am reviewing Jack’s on Fire by Owen Lach, which was just published last week. As the cover suggests, it is a cute YA romance. So, if that’s your cup of tea, be sure to check it out!

What if you were a queer teenage musician outed by his vengeful ex-boyfriend and not a fairy tale princess trapped in a castle tower? What if your wicked stepmother was your ordinary, thoughtless, uncaring mother? What if your fairy godmother was your older brother? What if your Prince Charming was captain of the JV soccer team? Maybe you’d be forgiven for not realizing you were living in a sort of fairy tale.

Faced with the impossible choice of staying home to risk being sent away to Father Sullivan’s special school for exceptionally happy boys or moving in with his older brother in California, 16-yr-old Jack Martin leaves behind everything he knows in Minneapolis to go to San Francisco. He finds himself at a new school with new friends and the freedom to be himself. Then sparks fly when Jack meets Damon, his Geometry tutor (and captain of the JV soccer team.) But Jack wonders if Damon feels those sparks, too. And does their budding friendship have a chance to become something more?

Jack’s On Fire is a heartwarming, modern, queer fairy tale about friendship, chosen family, and young, queer love perfect for fans of Heartstopper. Sure, there aren’t any fairies or wands. But what else would you call it when everything starts magically going your way?

***Thank you to Jetspace Studio for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***

This book is exactly what the cover and synopsis suggest: a delightful queer fairy tale focused on found family and the healing power of acceptance. Jack was such a great protagonist, and I appreciated the realistic portrayal of anxiety his character represented. He experienced so much growth, both in managing his anxiety and learning to trust and be open with others. I felt so much joy watching him realize that people could not only accept him but also love him for who he was.

His relationships with others, especially his brother and Damon, were the highlights of the story for me. He had a fun, easygoing relationship with his brother despite the circumstances of the two of them being thrown together, and I just loved the honesty and mutual support they shared. The friendship, and eventual romance, between Jack and Damon was sickeningly sweet and an absolute delight to read. The slow burn friends to lovers romance created a will-they-or-won’t-they tension that was fun, even though it was fairly obvious they’d end up together. This was a fairy tale after all.

On that note, this was largely a low angst story about the queer kid getting everything he had ever wanted after being moved from a hostile environment to a supportive one. There were moments of despair, but the general vibe of the book was very positive and devoted to giving Jack the perfect healing experience. That being said, sometimes I wished things wouldn’t have gone quite so easily for him. What can I say? I love drama. lol. However, I did enjoy the book for the positive vibes, and seeing Jack live the dream so many queer kids have of unconditional love and acceptance was a cathartic experience.

Now I’m going to be a bit picky. There was one character who seemed to exist only to create the conditions needed for the final climax. Their arc felt removed from the rest of the narrative, and I found the eventual outcome obvious despite also feeling a bit blindsided by it because it seemed like it should have been part of another story. Despite this pickiness about a relatively small detail, I loved this book and think it would be perfect for fans of Heartstopper because of its focus on queer joy and an absolutely adorable friends to lovers high school romance. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars!

Monthly TBR – October 2022

Hello, everyone! I don’t have very many ARCs this month. So, I’m going to try to catch up on the ones where I missed the release date and then get a head start on some of November’s releases. I’ll also be doing a bit of mood reading beyond these selections. I just got a ton of new audiobooks from the Audible sale last month, and I’m dying to get to some of them. I’ve also got some library books that aren’t listed here. So, stay tuned to see what they are when I get to them over the next couple weeks. 🙂 I hope you all have a great month and are enjoying the start of spooky season!

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Books I’ve Read This Year with Bi+ Male Characters

Last year for Bi Visibility Day, I created my first list of favorite books with bi+ male characters (see here). It was comprised mostly of books I’d read in the preceding year. I’ve decided to make this a yearly thing… because why not? Without further ado, here are some of the books I’ve read since last September that included bi+ male rep within the main cast of characters (with synopses from Goodreads).

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ARC Mini Review – Never Ever Getting Back Together

Hello, everyone! This evening I’m sharing my last review of Bi Visibility Week, Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales. Sophie is an auto-buy author for me, and I was super stoked to be offered this ARC.

When their now famous ex-boyfriend asks them to participate in a teen reality show, two eighteen year old girls—one bent on revenge, the other open to rekindling romance—get tangled up in an unexpected twist when they fall for each other instead in Never Ever Getting Back Together by nationally and internationally-bestselling and Indie Next Pick author Sophie Gonzales.

“Wickedly funny [and] searingly sexy.” —Kelly Quindlen, author of She Drives Me Crazy

It’s been two years since Maya’s ex-boyfriend cheated on her, and she still can’t escape him: his sister married the crown prince of a minor European country and he captured hearts as her charming younger brother. If the world only knew the real Jordy, the manipulative liar who broke Maya’s heart.

Skye Kaplan was always cautious with her heart until Jordy said all the right things and earned her trust. Now his face is all over the media and Skye is still wondering why he stopped calling.

When Maya and Skye are invited to star on the reality dating show Second-Chance Romance, they’re whisked away to a beautiful mansion—along with four more of Jordy’s exes— to compete for his affections while the whole world watches. Skye wonders if she and Jordy can recapture the spark she knows they had, but Maya has other plans: exposing Jordy and getting revenge. As they navigate the competition, Skye and Maya discover that their real happily ever after is nothing they could have scripted.

***Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***

I DEVOURED this book in one sitting. It took staying up until 3 AM to finish, but it was totally worth it. I laughed so much while reading, and the drama of it all kept me engaged despite the premise being pretty straightforward. The enemy was easy to hate almost from the start, and I was definitely on board with Team Fuck Up the Fuckboy the whole way through the story. He really was the epitome of fuckboyness in all the worst ways. The sapphic love story between the bi main characters had good chemistry and utilized common tropes well, including forced proximity and enemy to lovers. I always appreciate Gonzales’s ability to weave fantastic bi rep into the narrative, and this book was no exception. Maya was bent on getting revenge and had built her entire life around proving Jordy wrong for leaving her. Whereas, Skye had major abandonment issues. The combination of the two created some serious drama that felt realistic given both of their issues. The premise (two contestants on a reality dating show falling in love with each other instead of the person they are competing over) was a lot of fun, but it was a bit weird that all of them were teenagers. I kept aging them up in my head to just be reminded over and over by the text that they were all teens. It was just strange, and I think this would have worked better as an adult book rather than YA. That being said, this was a funny sapphic romance with a great premise. If you like reality TV or have ever wondered what it would be like for contestants of The Bachelor to end up together, this is the romcom for you. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.