I'm really picky about my LGBT books. I ignore a lot of LGBT reads because they seem to be your typical steamy contemporary romance variety or Mpreg type of stuff in steamy shifter romances. I'm just really not much of a romance reader, so I want my LGBT books to have more than that. I think what's so appealing about these steamy contemporary romance and Mpreg varieties of LGBT is the fact that they have the whole falling in love and happily ever after formula that makes people, well, happy. As for me, I prefer stories like Release by Patrick Ness.
Magical realism is pretty much my favorite thing. Release has that. I want well-developed characters with real heartfelt struggles, and I want them to reach higher (if it's in their character 😉 ). Release also has that. I love endings that are earned, not necessarily happily ever after. Release has that too.
Release deals with a serious issue that hits home for me. It's the story of a boy named Adam. He's gay, but his father is a preacher and his entire family is very religious. As is sadly often the case, they wouldn't be supportive if Adam told them. His whole life he's been told how wrong it is. Adam doesn't think he deserves love. He doesn't know how to love himself. He doesn't know if his family really loves him, especially if he told them the truth.
There's another part of this story, the magical realism that is tied in with the main story, two plot threads weaving together. A teenage girl was murdered by her boyfriend when he was high on drugs. And her spirit is back for revenge. But is it revenge she's really back for?
It all falls apart in one day. Adam and the ghost will be forced to release all of that pain inside of them before the end, and wow what a journey it is.
This book is about love. Not romance, not sex. It's deeper than that, and it is so, so beautiful. And heartbreaking, but in the end, truths have to come out. We have to accept who we are.
And we are all worthy of love.