After putting down my latest read, I was scouring the Waterstones’ website for a book that would stand out with colour and beauty. A change from the bland, white, straight authored books sitting on my Young Adult fiction shelf, I wanted a book that would explore the gender identities within our society. I’d heard of all these words: ‘Queer’, ‘Asexual’, ‘Nonbinary’ and many more, but I’d never truly understood them until I began to read This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson.
The title was attention grabbing so I clicked on the book and read the blurb, ‘Juno Dawson smashes the myths and prejudice surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity’, well that sounded really interesting! However, I still felt a bit nervous as though I oughtn’t to be reading a book which I assumed from the title would be aimed at LGBTQ+ teens, as a straight cis female. Then I saw ‘…this book is not Gay, Straight or Bi. It is a book about the extraordinary, unique and totally normal person that is you…’. Just what I was looking for!
The book covers sexual orientation and gender identities in Chapter 2, and draws on peoples’ experiences of coming out, transitioning, and dating throughout. This Book is Gay is a truly enjoyable and inspiring read for anyone and everyone.
Dawson’s use of language within the text is also an aspect that I enjoyed, as it made the book relatable, and, as stated on the blurb, made me ‘laugh- out-loud’ at the ‘wit and wisdom’ while also conveying the serious parts too. There is even a chapter at the end covering ‘gay saints/icons’, and of course, with many activities for you to complete throughout the book. It was refreshing reading a book which felt so open and honest. Juno Dawson filled this book full of passion, opinions, and completely smashed a lot of stereotypes! Therefore, it definitely deserves a space on my YA bookshelf at home, and upon yours.
My final thoughts would be that this is a book that inspires you to go out into the world and be yourself. Your identity is part of who you are, whether you choose to adopt one of the many labels out there or shake off the stereotypes that society tries to pin on you. I am certain that you’ll love this book, and if you haven’t already, you’ll find yourself within its pages.