lgbtq

If Noah Can’t Even were a TV Show…

It’s Thursday 18th May and it is my turn to host the Noah Can’t Even Blog Tour! Thank you to Scholastic for inviting me to participate and Simon James Green for writing the book and this blog post!

 

If Noah Can’t Even was a TV show…

This is good fun! What if Noah Can’t Even was a TV show? Who would my dream cast be? Casting a TV show is actually quite a long and complicated process, so I’m going mainly on visual references here, or actors I’ve seen play similar types of role, who I love.

Noah

The casting of Noah would be crucial. In my head, he looks a bit like Asa Butterfield – especially in shots where he’s wearing glasses. Noah is geeky, but sweet, with dark hair – and, of course, he’s a bright, intelligent boy. Asa’s maybe a little younger than 16 in some of these pics, but you get the idea…

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Harry

Harry’s a bit taller than Noah, has slightly cooler hair, and, as Noah mentions, ‘the beginnings of proper arm muscles.’ He’s a real ‘boy next door’ type – very sweet, with beautiful eyes. I’m thinking someone a bit like Logan Lerman – but a British, 16-year-old version.

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Josh Lewis

Josh is 19 and the hottest lad in school… only there because he’s agreed to put Uni off for a year to help out the sports team… obviously. Everyone looks up to him and admires him. He’s pretty much perfect – physically, anyway. Definitely has very distracting abs. Oh, it’s really awful having to search the internet for pictures like this… um… how about someone like KJ Apa? (But again, KJ Apa doing a British accent, or else a Brit version of him!)

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Sophie

Intelligent and sophisticated Sophie takes Noah under her wing and doesn’t mind when he’s massively awkward with her in all sorts of situations. Everyone needs a Sophie in their lives. There’s a fab British actress called Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness (she was in the Ab Fab movie) who might just fit the bill…

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Eric

Short, greasy, and pretty disgusting in so many ways – Eric is bad news. He’s the school blackmailer, with underworld connections and a habit of knowing what everyone is up to and using it to his advantage. He’s not like this in real life at all, but Craig Roberts in this role in Being Human, has always been my reference for how Eric looks.

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Jess Jackson

School ‘bad girl’ Jess Jackson is bad news for Noah. But, boy, is she popular with everyone else! She spends a lot of time making sure she looks great, and she’s got a super-mean streak. This actress is American again, and her hair colour doesn’t quite match the description in the book, but I rather like Madelaine Petsch, who can currently be seen playing Cheryl Blossom in Riverdale.

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Gran

Good old Gran! Always there for Noah, she’s great at giving him good advice… most of the time! She’s not old enough, but maybe with make-up and her great acting skills Julie Walters would be a good choice here? I’m a huge fan and she’s so funny, I think she would play Gran brilliantly.

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Huh. All this talk of casting has got me excited for a TV series or movie of Noah Can’t Even! Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we?!

Simon James Green

Simon James Green

Simon James Green grew up in a small town in Lincolnshire that definitely wasn’t the inspiration for Little Fobbing – so no-one from there can be mad with him, OK? He enjoyed a classic British education of assorted humiliations and barbaric PE lessons before reading Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he further embarrassed himself by accidentally joining the rowing team despite having no upper body strength and not being able swim. When it turned out that being a lawyer was nothing like how it looks in Suits or The Good Wife, and buoyed by the success of his late night comedy show that involved an inflatable sheep, he travelled to London to pursue a glamorous career in show business. Within weeks he was working in a call centre, had been mugged, and had racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt. Finding strength and inspiration in the lyrics of Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, he eventually ended up working on a range of West End shows and UK tours, co-wrote a feature-length rom-com for the BBC and directed Hollyoaks for C4 / Lime Pictures. After trying really, really hard, he also managed to write Noah Can’t Even. If you are interested in stalking him, he still lives in London, where he spends a lot of time telling people that Noah Can’t Even is only partly autobiographical, and his mum has definitely never done a Beyoncé tribute act.

http://www.simonjamesgreen.com
@simonjamesgreen

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did! Noah Can’t Even is out now, published by Scholastic.

annalsie

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On Diversity

Hey everyone! It’s been a really hectic month so sorry about the hiatus – I’ve moved house (twice!) and started a new job so things haven’t really settled yet, but I’ve been inspired to finally write this post and would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

So, this week I started my new (first proper) job, and part of my first week was an induction – a few days of talks about working for the company and its values. One word that was constantly floating around was ‘diversity’, and, to be honest, it made me feel a little uncomfortable.

‘Diversity’ seemed like it was being used as a buzzword, and all this talk about diversity often feels a little empty. It’s great when people point out that something is not diverse, that we need to be targeting and including different groups of society, but without action, pointing out diversity (or the lack thereof) can be a bit pointless. Diversity is also talked about A LOT in YA at the moment, and yet, diverse books are still difficult to find.

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At the event this week, one speaker said that the room was overall, not so diverse. Here’s the problem: diversity is often invisible, and it’s often used to mean racial diversity. I’m not saying that we don’t need more racial diversity (especially in YA, this is something we need to be seeing), but we need to remember other ways people can be diverse.

Disability is close to my heart – I have an invisible illness and I’d say that no-one knows I have it unless I choose to tell them (sidenote: I’ve had friends in the past telling anyone and everyone about my disability without my consent, and you should know that this is NOT COOL). Some forms of disability are visible, and these are the forms of disability people often think of and expect when somebody says they’re disabled. In fact, I’d say a large proportion of people classified as disabled don’t have mobility issues – so many of us are affected by autoimmune diseases and/or mental health issues and often physical, visible disabilities get more attention and sympathy than those which are not so easy to see. Disabilities in YA are often miraculously cured (often by a hot teenage boy with a rebellious streak), and we need to see more accurate depictions of disability.

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Class/socioeconomic background is an aspect of diversity that is often forgotten – social mobility really is an uphill struggle, and not everyone can see themselves in a white, middle class character. It’s not always easy to tell which class a character belongs to – personally, I have a very variable accent which isn’t always so Northern (although I am from Lancashire), and so people often assume I come from a more privileged background than I do. I’d love to see more class issues explored in YA, and it’s definitely one aspect of diversity that is often forgotten.

Political and religious views are often left out of YA – I’d love to see more of them but understand that they can be a problematic subject and a character with wildly different views to your own can be more difficult to understand. If anyone has any recommendations for books that explore these views, I’d love to hear them.

LGBTQIA+ is an aspect of diversity that is becoming more featured in YA, but I want to see more diversity still – so many YA books of the LGBTQIA+ variety are the stories of the coming out of gay men, which is great, but there are so many stories to be told. A book featuring LGBTQIA+ characters doesn’t have to be about ‘coming out’, and it doesn’t even have to be about romance. There’s still so much to do here – I’d love to read more about intersex and/or asexual characters, for example.

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If I’ve left out any aspects of diversity you think we should be talking about, please let me know – and again, if you have any recommendations, please post them down below or message me on twitter (@annalisebooks).

annalsie

Review + Giveaway: Girl Hearts Girl by Lucy Sutcliffe

Girl Hearts Girl

Girl Hearts Girl by Lucy Sutcliffe

Release Date: 24th June 2016
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
Amazon

Lucy Sutcliffe Author Photo.jpg

Co-star of the popular YouTube channel Kaelyn and Lucy which documented the long distance relationship she had with Kaelyn Petras. She and Kaelyn finally came together in August of 2014, ending the long distance element of their relationship.

She graduated from Plymouth College of Art and Design in 2014 with a degree in Film Arts

She works as a freelance film editor and author. She and Kaelyn’s channel mainly focuses on advice videos for LGBT youth.

She was born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire to parents Sharon and Roger Sutcliffe.

Website: http://kaeandlucy.tumblr.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lucyliz
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lucylizz/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/kaelynandlucy

My Review

5 STARS!

Thanks to Scholastic UK for a review copy of this book!

I went into Girl Hearts Girl not knowing too much about the actual book itself – just knowing I was in love with the cover, and complained on Twitter a few weeks ago that LGBTQ+ representation tends to represent a whole lotta G but not much else.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Girl Hearts Girl is not a work of fiction, but the memoir of Lucy Sutcliffe and her journey from a British schoolgirl coming to terms with her sexuality to a YouTube megastar in a serious relationship with a woman she met online through Tumblr. Lucy’s world is so relatable, and she writes so beautifully, that this was a very enjoyable read from a perspective we don’t see too often.

This is, at the very heart of it, the story of a girl realising her sexuality and coming to terms with it, becoming proud of it, and inspiring others to do the same. The story is peppered with tales of friendship, bullying and the pressure to conform. It also touches on some of the negative reactions to her sexuality, coming from people who you would expect to understand.

This book is written simply but beautifully, and so would be easily readable by children – there’s no sexual content in here, and it is much more a story of self-acceptance than a romance novel.

I gave this book five stars because it was incredibly uplifting, positive, and unique in the market today – it’s an LGBTQ+ book that anybody could read and relate to, and because this is her real story, it isn’t full of tropes and stereotypes. It’s a book that feels very honest, but doesn’t dig too deep into anything serious, and that’s perhaps where it is lacking – but it is aimed at children, and the level of depth feels right for the market.

If you’re looking for an uplifting quick read that will look beautiful on your bookshelf – look no further.

Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway! 3 copies of Girl Hearts Girl for 3 lucky winners!
Participants must live in UK or IRL.

Click here to visit the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Tour Schedule

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That’s it from me for this blog tour – remember to check out the rest of the tour and thank you for reading!

annalsie

Review: London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning

London Belongs to Us
London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seventeen-year-old Sunny’s always been a little bit of a pushover. But when she’s sent a picture of her boyfriend kissing another girl, she knows she’s got to act. What follows is a mad, twelve-hour dash around London – starting at 8pm in Crystal Palace (so far away from civilisation you can’t even get the Tube there) then sweeping through Camden, Shoreditch, Soho, Kensington, Notting Hill . . . and ending up at 8am in Alexandra Palace.

Along the way Sunny meets a whole host of characters she never dreamed she’d have anything in common with – least of all the devilishly handsome (and somewhat vain) French ‘twins’ (they’re really cousins) Jean Luc and Vic. But as this love-letter to London shows, a city is only a sum of its parts, and really it’s the people living there who make up its life and soul. And, as Sunny discovers, everyone – from friends, apparent-enemies, famous bands and even rickshaw drivers – is willing to help a girl on a mission to get her romantic retribution.

 

London Belongs To Us is the fourth Sarra Manning novel I’ve read – my first and favourite being Unsticky – and the first YA novel of hers I have read (although she has written loads).

LBTU is the story of Sunny, a mixed-race working-class seventeen-year-old Londoner, who has decided she’s going to lose her virginity to her boyfriend Mark – tonight. It’s the August Bank Holiday weekend (the last weekend in August for all of you non-UKers), and her mum is out of town, and Sunny has the house to herself (although she’s not allowed any of those wild teenage parties that get out of hand!).

Sunny is hanging out with her best friend Emmeline when she gets a text – a photo of her boyfriend, Mark, kissing another girl. What ensues is a 12 hour chase around London landmarks, meeting interesting characters and doing crazy things Sunny would never have dreamed of doing – all so she can dump Mark and get her dignity back.

What I really did like about this novel is the fact that for every London area visited, there’s a little history to really set the mood. What this novel was missing however, was a map. If in doubt, add a map in the front! This is really common in fantasy novels, but I’d also like to see maps in contemporary novels like this one where the story takes place all over a city.

The absolute highlight for me was the characterisation and diversity in this novel. I loved how Sunny was mixed-race and in an interracial relationship and she did encounter racism, but it wasn’t the main arc of the story. So many stories about non-white characters focus on stereotypes – often featuring gangs, drugs and murder. It’s refreshing to see a non-white character who isn’t defined by their skin colour.

On the topic of diversity, there’s a whole host of diverse characters here – the LGBTQ spectrum is well covered, we see characters from a range of different class backgrounds, and, as mentioned earlier, we see characters of different races. The diversity in this novel doesn’t feel forced – it feels natural, as does the characterisation of London.

This novel introduces lots of characters for such a short book, but it’s done well – they are each unique and memorable, as well as being well-developed.

Overall, this is a fun, short novel which is itself an ode to the culture of London. If you’re looking for a quick summer read that gets diversity right, check this one out.

This book reminded me of another recent YA release, You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, so if you enjoyed that, this would be another great read.
View all my reviews

Annalise x

Review: You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour

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You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publication date: 7th June 2016

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour, the award-winning author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

Disclaimer: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t really know where to start with this review, so here goes…

You Know Me Well is a story told over the background of Pride Week, told in the alternating views of Kate and Mark. Kate and Mark happen to have sat next to each other in calculus for an entire year, until one night, at Pride, when Mark loses his inhibitions and dances in his underwear on a bar, and Kate spots him, while she hides from the girl she can’t stop thinking about – but has never met.

The characters, especially Kate and Mark, are realistic, and both dealing with their own issues. Mark, in love with his best friend Ryan, deals with his unrequited love and Ryan’s new boyfriend, the older, tattooed Taylor. Kate, enamoured with her best friend’s cousin Violet, shies away from the girl she loves, despite having never met. When Kate and Mark run away from their problems to a party, they are photographer and Kate’s artwork is thrust into the limelight.

I loved the other themes in the book – the juxtaposition of Ryan, still closeted, and Mark, openly gay, proud and accepted was one – and Kate’s worries about going to university, despite already having accepted a place, were reminiscent of the wonderful Radio Silence by Alice Oseman.

There are a lot of pop culture references throughout the book, but I liked the musical references – they didn’t feel dated, and they added to the atmosphere of the book.

At first, this book reminded me a lot of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, also by David Levithan, and both books take place over a short period of time. There’s perhaps a little insta-friendship between Kate and Mark, but I think we all find friends we feel like we’ve known for years.

A realistic, relatable tale of friendship, love and embracing not only both, but accepting yourself in the process.

I’m also looking forward to seeing both authors at YALC, where there’ll be a You Know Me Well poetry slam!

View all my GoodReads reviews

Have you read You Know Me Well? Are you planning to? Let me know by commenting below or tweeting me at @annalisebooks!

Annalise x