Writer / Reader / Fandom Extraordinaire
Chiara / July 6, 2017 , Thu / this book is lgbtqia

This Book is LGBTQIA+ is my way of putting a spotlight on books that may not be widely recognised as such. I want these books to have as much exposure as they can, and I hope you add some of these titles (or all) to those never-ending TBR piles!

Today’s book is:

one of us is lying by karen m. mcmanus

Title: One Of Us Is Lying

Author: Karen M. McManus

Publisher: Penguin

Genre/s: Mystery/Thriller

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.

Why This Book is LGBTQIA+

One of the main characters in this book, Cooper, is gay. There were a few moments where I thought that the author would make some really terrible decisions regarding this character and his sexuality, but in the end she didn’t, which I was extremely grateful for.

Cooper doesn’t exactly have the best time in this book, and he does face adversity when his classmates and friends find out that he’s gay (which wasn’t his choice). But he did have friends who weren’t assholes and stuck by him, and while his father was a jerk in the beginning by the end he was coming to realise that if he loves his son he loves everything about his son.

In all honesty I really enjoyed One Of Us Is Lying. It was a mystery/thriller with added character and relationship development, and the ending wasn’t predictable, either. If you want to check out my full thoughts, you can read my review here.

I will mention that some reviewers have found the reveal of Cooper’s sexuality could be harmful to some readers, and that the representation of mental health was inadequate and could be harmful to readers, as well.

(trigger warning: bullying, reference to school shooting, references to suicide (graphic), suicide, alcoholic parent, romantic cheating, drug addicted parent, absent parent, bipolar parent (off medication), sibling with cancer, heart attack (grandparent), emotional abuse, use of ableist language, ableism, slut shaming, reference to animal cruelty, physical assault, attempted murder, and homophobia in this novel)

Chiara / June 16, 2017 , Fri / writing

Firstly, I apologise for the blog being silent for so long! I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump in terms of writing content that I’m proud of and would want to read myself. Hopefully I will get my blogging mojo back ASAP. But in the meantime, I thought I’d share some publication news with you!

In the first issue of Cauldron Anthology – Sirens – I was lucky enough to have three pieces published! You can check them out below:

I really love all three of these poems, and I’m so glad they have been published for you all to see! They are darker than previous published works of mine, but in all honesty most of my poems are like this so it’s very true to my craft. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading them!

If you want to know more about the thoughts and processes behind these pieces, become a Patreon supporter because I shared a post about them with my $1 and up patrons :D

Until next time,

Chiara / April 7, 2017 , Fri / feminism

It’s the thing no one likes to talk about, in person or on the internet. It’s the thing that leads to photos removed on Instagram. It’s the thing that has advertisements pouring blue liquid on pads because god forbid we actually portray it in any kind of realistic way. It’s the thing a lot of people have to deal with every single month for a lot of their lives.

It’s the period. Or periods. Or menstruation. Or, you know, the lining of a uterus ripping away from the walls of a uterus and gushing out of a vagina in the form of blood.

Ohmygod. I said the word vagina. I said uterus. I said blood. And I’ll say them again because this is something that is real, and it sucks, and I am sick to death of the lack of talk about periods.

I could go into the reasons why society as a whole is so terrified of the thought of blood coming out of a vagina, but I wanted to talk specifically about books today. About the fact that YA books (because this is 99.99% of what I read) never mention periods, and if they do they only mention it in passing, using a reference to tampons.

Now, I was a mere, wee twelve year old in my first year of high school when my period arrived and settled in as a permanent, and quite unwanted, fixture in my life. I hadn’t been taught a lot about periods, and when the first day was over and there’d been hardly any blood and no pain I thought: that wasn’t so bad.

Oh, my poor little baby self.

Cue onslaught of period pain so bad that I couldn’t walk, couldn’t go to school, couldn’t sleep. Cue a heavy enough flow that I didn’t feel safe enough unless I was wearing night time pads all the time.

Throughout high school there were many days where I simply could not go to school. But when I reached senior years, and I knew that missing a class could mean that I’d miss something on an exam, I started to force myself to go. Nothing worked in terms of pain relief. My aspirin did jack shit. Heat packs did nothing except make me sweat. The pain was something I just had to deal with.

I distinctly remember one time in grade eleven or twelve, when it was the first day of my period. I’d woken up that morning and known it had come, known that pain was going to arrive within the next few hours. I was in the library for my ancient history class, and we were told to go and look at books for research (which, to us, meant it was a bludge class where we weren’t going to do anything). My best friend and I sat down in the puzzles aisle and proceeded to look at Where’s Wally books. I remember being in so much pain during this class that I was curled up on the library floor, trying not to cry. I remember the bell ringing, which meant I had to go to another class, and just the thought of standing up had me literally whimpering. I couldn’t bear the thought of moving, not when I was in so much pain. But I did. I fucking got off the floor and went to classes for the rest of the day.

There are so many other memories like this. Like the bake day my friends and I had planned, where all I could do was sit on the couch and watch them bake because the pain was so bad. Like the time I had to run back to the car, leaving my mum in the shops, and lie down inside because I just couldn’t stand up any more. Like the countless nights I have woken up in pitch dark, crying, curled in over myself in pain. So many other memories of pain, pain, pain.

And I’ve never once read a book where a main character mentions a period like this. Where that time of the month is hell and pain, and blood and blood and blood. Where you literally can’t do anything because it’s just not freaking possible. Where you wish there was some way to just make the pain go away, to stop having these goddamn periods because you don’t even know if you want kids and what’s the point of a period unless you want to have kids? Where your friends don’t really understand the pain you’re in because they have cramps for maybe a day, but they’re bearable, but you’re debilitated by the pain of yours. Where it takes a doctor years to give you medication to make the pain bearable because they didn’t believe you, or didn’t care, or just didn’t know.

I want periods to be in the books I read. And I wish I’d read about characters who had to deal with this in high school like I had to deal with it in high school. Because this is real. It happens. And it shouldn’t be something that’s never mentioned, or only mentioned as a tampon. It should be something that is talked about, and taught about, and just made normal because it is normal for so many people.

YA books shouldn’t be shying away from mentioning something that impacts someone’s life so much. They shouldn’t be pretending that people don’t have to deal with this. They shouldn’t be pretending that periods don’t exist. Because they do. And they can be hell. And they are real.

Why is it normal to mention dragons and never-ending love and prophecies of the chosen one but not normal to mention periods? Why do YA books touch on so many other things that high schoolers have to deal with – love and friendship and sex and parents – but periods are taboo or forgotten or not mentioned? Why are pimples and bad hair days things that YA books talk about but not the shitty thing that comes knocking every month?

And whenever periods aren’t talked about, aren’t normalised, it adds to the taboo surrounding them. Adds to the collective societal disdain for mentioning them. And there are so many reasons why this taboo needs to disappear. For the people who are suffering from endometriosis but have no preventative measures or cures because there’s no research being done. For people who have other menstrual- related disorders (of which there are many) that impact their lives.

I am just so sick of the lack of talk about periods. About the way that society, and the books we read like to pretend that it doesn’t exist, that it doesn’t happen. We need to include it in the books we write and read so that people grow up knowing that this shit happens, and that it’s okay to talk about it. Because without talk we get nowhere. Because without talk the taboo continues. And people stay in pain.

So. Let’s talk about the thing that no one likes to talk about. Let’s talk about periods.

Chiara / March 2, 2017 , Thu / films & music, lgbtqia

1. sense8

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I don’t see how Sense8 couldn’t be on a list of favourite shows with LGBTQIA+ characters. This show is so queer and it is so wonderful. Even though at times I am not 100% sure of the storyline regarding the sensate business I thoroughly enjoy every episode I watch. The character relationships and the romantic relationships are all A+. YAY FOR SUPPORT AND FOUND FAMILIES.

Also huge kudos to Netflix for hiring a transwoman actress to act in a transwoman role. If only the rest of the world would do this for trans roles (and all LGBTQIA+ roles, let’s be real).

In my Googling for this post, I just found out that one of the creators said that ‘in theory’ all of the characters in Sense8 are pansexual so *endless cheering and excitement and yeses*

2. orphan black

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I had heard about Orphan Black a lot, but I was never particularly interested in watching it. Then, one fateful day, I was browsing through Netflix and decided to see what all the fuss was about. I then proceeded to binge the entire series (except for the last season which releases this year – NO, DON’T LEAVE ME).

Orphan Black is as good as you’ve heard. The storyline can get a little complex and convoluted at times, and literally nothing ever goes right, but damn this show is good. And Maslany’s ability to portray so many different characters is freaking amazing.

As for the LGBTQIA+ aspect: Cosima, one of the four main clones in the show is gay, and there was also a transguy clone who had a small role, as well. Cosima’s romance with Delphine is really adorable and also wrought with heartbreak because this is Orphan Black we are talking about here.

3. pretty little liars

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Yes, this show is kind of terrible but I cannot help but love it. Also, a girl loving girl of colour is one of the main characters so that alone is a 100% valid reason to watch.

The fact that Emily’s romances get as much screentime and angst and cuteness as all the cishet ones makes me happy. Because when my cute queer couples are sidelined for the cishet ones I am not happy.

At the point where I’m up to in this show Emily hasn’t fond her endgame girlfriend but it better happen. After all the A crap she deserves a happily ever after.

4. shadowhunters

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Okay so the acting might be terrible, and they have changed the storyline so much from the books that it’s barely recognisable … but I can’t help but watch this. And Malec is so BEAUTIFUL. And haven’t been denoted to just the cute m/m couple. They are adorable together, yes, but they also disagree and talk about important things and are real! people!

I’ve also heard rumours that Simon is going to be pansexual and so help me lord if this happens because it would be AMAZING.

5. how to get away with murder

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How to Get Away with Murder started off with two cis male gay characters (one of whom is a man of colour), and then BAM Annalise is bi/pan (so far I haven’t seen her use a word to describe her identity). THIS MADE ME SO HAPPY I CANNOT EVEN.

I loved this show before it was revealed that Annalise had been in a relationship with a woman (and then kind of continued that relationship in the present), but my respect for the show went up by approximately 100% after that point. It’s still such a big deal (and I mean this in the exciting way, obviously) when shows have queer characters, and for one this popular and widely consumed to expand upon a character’s sexuality in the second season was just incredible.

Have you watched any of these shows? Do you want to? What are some of your favourite shows with LGBTQIA+ characters?

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