The One True Me and You
One small fandom convention. One teen beauty pageant.
One meet cute waiting to happen.
Up and coming fanfic author Kaylee Beaumont is internally screaming at the chance to finally meet her fandom friends in real life and spend a weekend at GreatCon. She also has a side quest for the weekend:
· Try out they/them pronouns to see how it feels
· Wear more masculine-presenting cosplay
· Kiss a girl for the first time
It’s…a lot, and Kay mostly wants to lie face down on the hotel floor. Especially when her hometown bully, Miss North Carolina, shows up in the very same hotel. But there’s this con-sponsored publishing contest, and the chance to meet her fandom idols…and then, there’s Teagan.
Pageant queen Teagan Miller (Miss Virginia) has her eye on the much-needed prize: the $25,000 scholarship awarded to the winner of the Miss Cosmic Teen USA pageant. She also has secrets:
· She loves the dresses but hates the tiaras
· She’s a giant nerd for everything GreatCon
· She’s gay af
If Teagan can just keep herself wrapped up tight for one more weekend, she can claim the scholarship and go off to college out and proud. If she’s caught, she could lose everything she’s worked for. If her rival, Miss North Carolina, has anything to do with it, that’s exactly how it’ll go down.
When Teagan and Kay bump into one another the first night, sparks fly. Their connection is intense—as is their shared enemy. If they’re spotted, the safe space of the con will be shattered, and all their secrets will follow them home. The risks are great…but could the reward of embracing their true selves be worth it?
A big-hearted, joyful romance and a love letter to all things geek, Remi K. England’s The One True Me and You is a *witness me* celebration of standing up for, and being, yourself.
The One True Me and You by Remi K. England is a coming-of-age story for the 21st century. I loved that the main characters, Kay and Teagan, are on their journey to embrace their authentic selves and gain the courage to share that self with the world. I also loved the juxtaposition of the worlds they are doing it in – the pageant world and the world of fandom. These very different worlds offer so much to the story and the reader. Teagan and Kaylee share their journeys through 1st person narration in alternate chapters, which gives the tale a more personal feeling than one written in 3rd person. The author reflected, in the Acknowledgements, that The One True Me and You is closer to her heart than any of her other books because of her own experiences as a nonbinary teen. The 1st person narration creates a story where I could understand Kaylee’s truth the way England would have appreciated, especially as a teen. I also loved the theme that threads itself through the story of, “Feminism is supporting women in their choice.” No matter what those choices are – whether it be the pageant circuit, the sports arena, or the many things in between – feminism is about building women up, not tearing them down. There is so much to learn and take away from this story, especially for the teens who are the intended audience, that I feel confident in recommending it to all who would dare to become more enlightened by this modern age tale.
Listening Still by Anne Griffin
From Anne Griffin, the bestselling author of When All is Said, comes Listening Still, a refreshing new novel about a young woman who can hear the dead—a talent which is both a gift and a curse.
Jeanie Masterson has a gift: she can hear the recently dead and give voice to their final wishes and revelations. Inherited from her father, this gift has enabled the family undertakers to flourish in their small Irish town. Yet she has always been uneasy about censoring some of the dead’s last messages to the living. Unsure, too, about the choice she made when she left school seventeen years ago: to stay or leave for a new life in London with her charismatic teenage sweetheart.
So when Jeanie’s parents unexpectedly announce their plan to retire, she is jolted out of her limbo. In this captivating successor to her much-lauded debut, When All Is Said, Anne Griffin portrays a young woman who is torn between duty, a comfortable marriage, a calling she both loves and hates and her last chance to break free. Listening Still is a heartachingly honest look at what we give up and what we gain when we choose to follow our heart.
Listening Still by Anne Griffin is a compelling tale about Jeanie Masterson Longley, a woman with the power to talk to the dead soon after they pass and her fitting career at the family’s funeral home. She tells the story of her obligation-filled life through a very personal first-person narration that surprisingly flowed rather slowly for my taste. She meanders through her life’s journey and doesn’t reflect as much on her gift as I imagined she would. I did, however, love the central theme of the story, which is that living a life of fear means facing a lot of closed doors, whereas if you are brave and face down your fears, then your world will be full of possibilities. This is such excellent insight and so true of many people in this world. Jeanie lives a life full of fear and obligation. She works with the dead but never really lives life by taking chances and facing her fears. Jeanie is delicately developed with fragile layers, each exposed as the story proceeds. The support characters are all somewhat unique and intriguing. My biggest wish for Listening Still is that it had moved a bit faster by sharing more experiences of Jeannie as she talks to the dead. There is a story behind what led to the decisions about which things should be shared and what should be buried with them. I can envision an even more compelling tale containing the experiences that led to or reinforced their decisions in this regard. If you are looking for a compelling story with an insightful theme, Listening Still should be the next book that you pick up.