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How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom by S.J. Goslee
Roaring Brook Press / Macmillan
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
Nolan Grant has a new penis drawing on his locker daily, he is tormented by the jocks in gym class, and he has never had a boyfriend. With junior-senior prom on the horizon, Nolan’s sister decides to change that last one for him. When she forces him to promposal his biggest crush, things go sideways and Bern, an unsuspecting ally, jumps in to save him. As the two fake date their way to prom, they will find that faking a relationship feels an awful lot like a real one.
This comical book is light, quick, and charming. In a world of cute heterosexual rom-coms, the queer rom-com is on the rise, this embodies everything that makes a good romance. Goslee evenly paces the story in a way that makes all of the secrets feel like another character. By using wit and snark to create an authentic teen voice, it is hard not to root for Nolan and Bern.
This book is great for those who liked To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han and The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe.
The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
Scholastic Press / Scholastic
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Rukhsana is months away from following her dreams of graduating and going off to college at Caltech with her girlfriend. Plans change after her conservative Muslim family finds out her secret, and forces her to visit Bangladesh where she grapples with who her family wants her to be, and who she really is.
Rukhsana’s experience provides a unique lens of what it is to be a queer first generation teen that is forced to come out to their family. Rukhsana’s relationship with her girlfriend Arianna rings true and authentic, especially when they begin to argue over if Rukhsana should tell her family about their relationship. Rukhsana knows what her family’s response will be, but wants to show Arianna she loves her which puts her in a difficult position. What they both don’t know are the lengths that her parents will go to, to maintain their image in their community. Teens will identify with the challenges and struggles of talking with parents about identity and sexual orientation, as well as navigating entering adulthood.
Readers that loved the heart wrenching journey of Rukhsana will also enjoy I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver and I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. Those that enjoyed Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed will find similarities in how Rukhsana must grapple with balancing being true to herself, and being who her family wants her to be.
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