A chat with beck: book addition

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Beck Iannucci

  • They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Recommended: from TikTok

TW: suicide, violence, panic attacks, drowning, family death, gang violence

If you scrolled through the Barnes and Noble TikTok section on their website or were going through your for you page, chances are you´ve come across this book. It’s worth a read.

This book makes me think a lot about spoilers. Can you enjoy a book when you know the ending? Before this book, I would have said no. But there’s a huge piece of this puzzle where you don’t know how they’re going to die and as they come across other deckers (people also slated to die) we get a glimpse into other lives as well. All these people the pair come across have an impact — both on the person they met and themselves. 

It feels a bit like the queer version of Romeo and Juliet. Despite knowing the end is near, the pair fall in love and in the end, die for each other. 

  • openly straight by Bill Konigsberg

Recommended: by a teacher 

TW: ableism — specifically towards tourettes

I like this novel because it brings up the idea of privilege. Queer people are considered minorities, but we can still be privileged. Rafe is a great example of this. He didn’t have any backlash from his family and his peers were overall understanding. Though many avoided him, but none said homophobic things to him.

Rafe brings up the idea of a label and not wanted to be known as the gay kid. Which lots of people struggle with. No one wants one trait of theirs to take over how people view them. He also brings up teachers singling him out to speak on queer issues, as if he speaks for the entire community. This is not only extremely awkward but no one speaks for an entire community. It suggests that all queer people share one brain cell. That we all have the same experiences and opinions, therefore we all think the same. It’s not true. Furthermore, teachers that act this way are overstepping a boundary. They should not expect a student to openly share details on their life to everyone. It’s disgusting behavior and makes everyone uncomfortable. Stop it.

The story progresses when Rafe decides to pretend to be straight at his new school. It’s then he realizes something. At first he just wasn’t going to tell people. Then he starts lying about having a girlfriend. When it escalates, he sees what it’s like to be in an environment where you’re scared. He doesn’t want to lose these new friends he’s made. This kind of scary is humbling. It shows him a perspective of the queer community that he didn’t see. He starts to see how difficult it can be.

Rafe’s situation has a way of making people reflect on their own lives. I think of myself since I’m openly queer. Yet if I’m around people I don’t know, I don’t always correct them. If I’m in a new environment and I’m scared, I wait. When Rafe talks to his family they seem to think that acting this way is like being back in the closet. Maybe it is. Maybe we think we’re authentic but we still hide. Does that mean you’re putting yourself back into a harmful box? I don’t know. I guess it depends on the situation and why you don’t feel comfortable. 

I like this reflecting question on how we let others view us in certain spaces and if that means we’re compromising who we are.

  • Color Outside the Lines (stories about love) by multiple authors

Recommended: by librarian because I like Adam Silvera

This short story collection about dating as a POC is perfection. One of my favorites is Giving Up the Ghost by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas. In this world, you have a ghost of a past family member that is supposed to help you get through life. Only, the main character and their ghost don’t get along. If you´re looking for something other than pirate ghost relatives, there are stories about meeting your partner’s family for the first time, awkward dinners, protests, family differences, being adopted, and more! There’s even a short story involving the underworld! Seriously, go pick up a copy!