Monday 26 June 2017

Read With Pride- celebrating Pride Month with Scholastic's LGBT Reads!

As part of Pride Month, I am thrilled to be taking part in Scholastic's #ReadwithPride campaign. I have my review of Girl Hearts Girl to share with you and brilliant and funny guestpost from Simon James Green for Noah Can't Even. Follow the hashtag #ReadwithPride for more posts celebrating #Pride2017

Girl Hearts Girl


Lucy Sutcliffe if you didn't already know is part of Youtube sensation Kaelyn and Lucy and Girl Hearts Girl is Lucy's story.
Girl Hearts Girl is Lucy Sutcliffe's true story of growing up and accepting who she is and her sexuality and it really touched my emotions. Although I have not had all of the same struggles as Lucy a lot of her growing up story really resonated with me. There was the bullying from other kids at school and boys calling her ugly- I had that said to my face three times at school and even all these years later I can remember who said them and where. I brush it off now, but I keenly felt Lucy's pain with this. 
This got to me in more ways than I thought it would. Such an inspiring story whether you are part of the LGBT community or not. I felt completely uplifted whilst reading. I particularly fell in love with Lucy and Kaelyn's love story. Now that is true love if I ever did hear of. I think that in itself would have made a beautiful story.
Although I of course have the utmost respect for those in the LGBT community, I will never fully grasp 100% of the prejudice that this community face, as I do not face it myself, but that's where Lucy's story comes in. She gives us an inside point of view of the daily struggles and judgements faced and I found it pretty heart-wrenching. We may be in the 21st century but as Lucy says in this, there are still so many countries where you can be killed and arrested for feeling the way you do and this horrifies me. That said though what Lucy and Kaelyn have done and are doing for the community is amazing. 
If you ever have any doubts or are worried about anything I really recommend you read her memoir. I came away feeling happy and uplifted. 

Noah can't even



Whilst Noah Can’t Even isn’t really autobiographical (I mean, thank god, can you even imagine?!) there’s a lot in there that reflects my own experiences growing up. 

Let’s start with the setting – Little Fobbing is a fictional small town in Lincolnshire. By a complete coincidence, I also grew up in a small town in Lincolnshire, Called Market Rasen. Yes, odd name, I know. Now, small towns have a lot of positives and in all honesty, I had a good time growing up where I did. But those places also present certain challenges – the main one being, you don’t have much anonymity. Everyone kinda knows what you’re doing and you’re up to. I never got into the mess that poor Noah does in the book, but I did experience that sense of everyone knowing about you, and how being under the microscope like that can intensify the stuff you’re going through.

Noah’s an absolute geek… er, yeah. I was too. I still am really. Nothing pleased me more than handing in a good essay, or going the extra mile with some coursework. I still like premium stationery and I still have anxiety dreams about GCSE’s and A Levels… just like Noah.

Let’s talk about my social life during my teenage years. Well, this could just be a blank paragraph really. I didn’t have one. I pretty much stayed in. Maybe watched a bit of telly. Phoned a friend. Did my homework like a good boy. I did go to a party in the Sixth Form. I got drunk on Martini and lemonade and puked up everywhere, so that went well. It many ways, Noah’s social life is actually more successful than mine. So sad. 

I don’t want to give any spoilers, but Noah has a couple of romantic entanglements in the book. ‘What abut you, Simon James Green?” I hear you ask. No. No, I did not. No one wanted to kiss me at school. I’m going to style this out and tell you it’s because I was solely focused on work, and didn’t have time for such trifles as romance and heavy petting. But who am I kidding? Looking back, I should have tried harder. I should have got better hair, more fashionable clothes, made an effort. Terrible missed opportunity. 

Noah’s relationship with his gran is partly based on my own. I would often watch Murder She Wrote with my gran, just as Noah does with his, and, just like Noah’s, my gran also had a thing for using correct grammar and social etiquette. The stuff in the old people’s home is also based on my experiences with my gran (albeit not when I was a teenager), and some of the lines “At night, little boys break in and they hit my knees with toffee hammers!” are actual things my gran really said. 

Whilst most of the actual plot isn’t lifted from my life, a lot of Noah’s thoughts and feelings most certainly are. I think most teenagers experience those feelings of insecurity and doubt, working out who they are, who they want to be. I was no different in that regard and reliving all that through Noah in this book has been quite cathartic. And it’s been less traumatic, because I’ve been able to say to Noah, “Hey, chill out. It all works out OK in the end.” Of course, he doesn’t listen. I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t have either.

Girl Hearts Girl and Noah Can't Even are both out now!

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