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People may be worried because this is about religion and has a conservative overtone but this was amazing. It had all the elements of the religion but still acceptance. Yes, of course there was backlash, but it was handled in such a delicate way and the main characters were so brave and scared and beautiful. And there was on-screen lesbian sex that was done really well.
I loved the relationship between Hannah and Baker and their extended friend group. I liked how they were supportive and unsupportive of one another as different things came up. The complex relationships between the friend group as a whole made this so realistic.
This felt like one of those books that should have taken place in the 90s or early 2000s, but it was actually in 2012 which was ... strange to me. It felt as though it was a historical book but it never really clicked for me that way. I felt like the references were a weird date compared to the rest of the book, but that might just be my reading of it.
However, I loved Hannah and Baker both struggling with their sexuality and their spirituality. It was nice to see a character who was very religious try to come to terms with both religion and moving forward with what is their Truth. I think there are a lot of people who feel this way as well so I think it is almost therapeutic for people to read this one.
For those who are wanting to pick this up, there is a forced outing of a character, slurs throughout the book, and violence, just as an FYI. I wasn't triggered by them but that doesn't mean you will not be.
Overall, I really liked this one! If you have the opportunity to pick it up, definitely do so. I liked seeing the characters struggle with all aspects of their identity and try to bring them together. I hope you like this as much as I did!
As a Catholic grown person I found so much of my teenage self in the struggle to combine the words of the gospel with the pervasive feeling of shame everything had. I really respect the people who remain to fight the system from the inside, maybe one day it won't be such a damaging religion and it will be thanks to people like you.
I believe this is the author's first novel and it shows. Some wooden prose, sometimes verbose, it could have benefited greatly from a good editor. That said, there are passages where the author seems to definitely be in touch with her muse and the results are breath taking, e.g., when Hannah and Baker lose their virginity to each other. The chief value of this book, and why is should be read, is how it illustrates the danger of teaching people to believe in myth and then imbuing that myth with some allegedly divine authority that applies to all people at all times such that people are separated into "normal" and "abnormal", "saint" and "sinner", "saved" and "condemned"; and the destruction this wreaks on the lives of people who, because of their indoctrination, strive to live in accordance with the teachings of the myth. The false shame and guilt, the anxiety and depression and fear Hannah and Baker struggle with is very real for many LGBTQ kids as is the hatred, humiliation, ridicule, persecution and violence at the hands of the "believers"; all in the name of some deity and the teachings of some religious institution. Sadly, the truth is that many LGBTQ kids do not find the happy ending and acceptance by family and friends that Hannahbear and Bake do, especially in religious families and social groups. Instead they are disowned, thrown out of homes, attacked verbally and physically by peers and family, and told they are "unnatural", "abnormal" and "condemned to hell". Is it any wonder why so many of these kids struggle with self destructive behaviours and suicidal thoughts? Given the level of venom and hatred being expressed these days toward LGBTQ people and LGBTQ kids in particular, this is a book everyone should read.
This is the first wlw book i've read and i am very happy about that. It takes place in a chatolic high school in a catholic town and i love all the characters. I enjoyed the "friends becoming a family" trope and the fact that even if it's a love story taking place in high school it is not clichée or cringe. I loved how they found a way to talk about love, faith, shale and oercoming your fears without making the story boring or too intense.
Very cute and poetic book and i loved having it in a physical format, it is delicate. Can't wait to read it again !
This is an interesting examination of the intersection of LGBTQ identity and Catholic identity-- recommended to me by someone who has experienced this particular tension. Some of the dual-consideration made me a bit uncomfortable (somewhat explicit scenes connected directly to God). This was obviously purposeful, and likely necessary in order to achieve the purpose that Quindlen was going for, and I wish it hadn't been quite so uncomfortable for me... Maybe it says more about me and my stint at Catholic school than I would like.
At first, the friend group of six was hard to disentangle, but the role of each character in relation to the protagonist, Hannah, soon became clear and no longer confusing. They served different purposes in terms of support or additional complications for Hannah to explore her own identity while dealing with different levels of acceptance within this group and from the adults that play a peripheral yet important role in her own self-judgment.
This book serves as an important consideration for teens exploring their own sexuality AND relationship to faith/god/religion. I wonder if people from non-Catholic (or other conservative Christian sects) would be enlightened or alienated by the specific setting in a Catholic school.
Told entirely through Hannah’s third-person point of view, this YA is angsty, dramatic, yet sweet and tender. I fully root for Hannah and Baker to be together from page one, and despite all the awful things they did to their friends and each other, I love them both. I think the self discovery and religious belief aspects of the story are handled pretty well, too, and everything that happened is oh-so-relatable.
(The font for the paperback version seems to be Baskerville and not very readable for me. I ended up reading the ebook.)
This is an adorable coming of age, lesbian romance. It’s got the right amount of almost everything in it. The one element that didn’t resonate with me personally was the catholic element, but that part will help many people of faith. All in all it was cute and deep and emotional.
This book must be turned into a film, it'd be incredible. Hannah and Baker are the sweetest. The story was compelling and written beautifully. The supporting characters were great and adder an important layer to the story. It wouldn't have been the same without them. Both Hannah and Baker felt great shame and for that, no one should blame them. I was glad to see how they developed.
I really enjoyed this book and I really loved the author's view on religion. She didn't diminish people who do believe in God, from reading, it would seem she believes the exact opposite. It seems as though she too believes in God. I also liked that she showed that the south isn't always so conservative. While the main character, Hannah, faced some discrimination by some, she overall had those that mattered help validate her. Believing in God doesn't always have to go hand in hand with a person's sexuality. I think that distinction is so very important. Overall good book for anyone because at its base it's heartwarming coming of age story.
I read this book in a night. It had good characters and good scenes. This book would be good for anyone struggling with being gay and being catholic. I gave it 4 stars because at times I felt like, "ok I get it! Let's move on!" at certain parts. But that may be because I'm not religious and I personally felt like those parts were overkill. But, I can also see how someone might need to hear all that "God talk".