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The Bermudez Triangle

The Bermudez Triangle
Maureen Johnson
YA, LGBT, Romance, Coming of Age

Lifelong best friends Nina Bermudez, Avery Dekker, and Melanie Forrest face their first separation the summer before their senior year when Nina attends a ten-week summer program at Stanford. Nina returns home bursting with stories about Steve, her summer romance. But she soon learns the shocking truth about what her friends were up to while she was gone when she sees Mel and Avery . . . kissing. The friendship is rocked by what feels like the ultimate challenge. But it's only the beginning of a sometimes painful, sometimes funny, always gripping journey as three girls discover who they are and what they really want.

It seems like I go on a hardcore reccing-spree for this book once every few months--probably because that's how often I reread it. I've just finished it for the twentieth? thirtieth? time and I want to make everyone who hasn't been around to witness my Bermudez-related histrionics is made aware.

The Bermudez Triangle is a romance on the outside but a story about friendship at its heart. I've never related to characters in a YA novel the way I relate to Mel, Nina, and Avery. When you read this book, you could be reading about yourself or your friends. And those are the best kind of characters, in my humble opinion--the ones you can see yourself in, be it the good parts or the bad parts. Rarely do I find one character--let alone three--where I can see, not one side, but both. For bonus points you also have the goofy but endearing guy friend thrown in there. Why all have those. (Don't we?)

Maureen Johnson realizes that it's not just how a character is described or how a character acts that is a prime marker of characterization--it's the relationships between the characters and how they interact and how their personalities bounce off of one another. This is especially important in a book about friendship and it's one of the many aspects that makes The Bermudez Triangle shine through triumphant.

The book chronicles a year in these characters' lives together and it's full of poignant moments, sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad, usually bittersweet. It's organized with holidays as time-markers and it serves to remind that even in the midst of jubilation or crushing heartbreak, life doesn't stop.

And besides all that, I'm just a huge fan of Maureen Johnson's writing. She's adept at bringing any scenario to life with her trademark style of humor. The lesbian relationship is (of course) what drew me to this book in the first place and if I'd have to choose, it probably stand number one on my shelf of Queer Relationships And How They Are Handled. Sexuality is a big theme: not only is it about two girls in a relationship, it's about discovering yourself, coming out, questioning your identity, dealing with homophobia, and learning how to deal when your two best friends begin a relationship.

There is honestly nothing I don't love about this book and I could wax poetic some more about WHY but I think you get the idea. It's one of the first books I go to when I need a heartwarming, comforting read. Read it. I can't recommend it strongly enough.

Trigger warning: some depictions of homophobia.

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Dead of Night: A Zombie Novel

Dead of Night

Jonathan Maberry
Horror, Zombies

A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite.

This book broke away from every expectation I had and I mean that entirely in a good way.

Dead of Night rekindled the zombie loving passion in me. The author played with a few different concepts I've mulled over but never seen done, such as the zombie that retains its human mind as it's biting and devouring people. When I received the book and read the words "two small-town cops" I didn't expect much to come from that since it's typically a played out concept for dull cookie-cutter characters, almost always heterosexual white men. But Maberry took a gun to my expectations by introducing a diverse cast who made me want to root for them--especially spitefire Dez Fox, who was a far more rounded character than one usually finds in zombie thrillers.

The ending was what made this novel for me. The first three quarters of the book, while excellent and fast-paced and exciting, were merely a set-up leading us down the road to a showdown which certainly had my heart pumping. And I know it's past Halloween but any time is a good time to get into the zombie spirit.

Trigger warning for violence.
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Wildthorn

Wildthorn

Jane Eagland
YA, LGBT, Historical Fiction, Feminism

Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor's daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself - and others - in order to be set free. And love may be the key...

This book is a blatant case of a novel not getting the publicity it deserves and I hope to rectify that even if only by the smallest of margins. Wildthorn uses Victorian England as a backdrop to explore and criticize sexist attitudes which, sadly, still exist in the world today. And while it is a queer novel, the queerness is more incidental to the story than it is the primary focus. But primary focus or not, it's heartwarming all the same.

Take my word, if you’re looking for a gripping, well-researched, and well-written feminist novel with interesting characters, you need Wildthorn in your life.

Trigger warnings: depictions of sexist attitudes, mental illness, and abuse of mentally ill people.


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The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1)

Shades of London, Book 1: The Name of the Star

By: Maureen Johnson
YA, Supernatural Mystery/Thriller

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.


I won this book as an ARC back in June from the Librarything Early Reviewers program. You can hardly understand my excitement. I love Maureen Johnson. Maureen Johnson is one of my INSPIRATIONS. And I’m happy to report that she hasn’t failed to deliver. The Name of the Star was released last week and if you have the funds or the library access, I highly recommend picking it up.

The Bermudez Triangle is one of my favorite books by Maureen Johnson, if not my number one favorite in the entire field of queer YA. The Name of the Star comes close to topping it on my list of favorite MJ books. I can’t praise this book enough. It’s books like this that keep me in the paranormal YA genre even when I feel like I’m burnt out—it’s original and funny, thrilling and well-plotted, and just the right amount of eccentric.
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