9 Sept 2018

We Can(ada) Read: Indigo @ Adventures in YA Fiction - #Review: PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE by Kevin Craig

We Can(ada) Read is by Canadians for EVERYONE to learn more about some amazing Canadian authors! It is a highlight of Canadian Literature and those of us who promote it as much as possible.

For a full schedule of events, please check out the Kick-Off post!

Thank you to Moonbeam Books for sponsoring the amazing giveaway! Scroll to the bottom!

In addition, Kevin Craig is giving away two copies of PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE! One for a Canadian reader and one for a US based reader!
Indigo is an MA student, studying modern literature in Toronto. She’s a YA book blogger, a tarot reader, a tea enthusiast, and a dog lover. When she’s not shouting at literally anyone who will listen to her about musical theatre, she is attempting to blog, and usually getting distracted. She has far too many opinions on The Great Gatsby, and is a Taylor Swift Stan. She started Adventures in YA Fiction in April of 2012, and has been active in the blogging community whenever she can remember to post. And, of course, Indigo is not her real name.

You can find her on Twitter or Instagram @IndigoWayworth

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Author: Kevin Craig
Series: N/A
Publisher: Museitup Publishing
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Ezra Caine is gay. He’s sort of out at school but not at home, where he fears the wrath of his father’s bigotry. When Ezra's flamboyantly out friend Alex Mills takes one too many beatings from homophobic bully Will Severe, Ezra finally snaps. Fed up with the situation at school, he decides to do something about it.

With the help of his BFF, Nettie, and some unlikely allies, Ezra rallies to create their small-town school’s first gay-straight alliance. The Rainbow Alliance Club is formed. But the changes don't come without hiccups, one of which being a messy scandal involving Alex and a gay hook-up app.

As Ezra and his friends attempt to sway their school into an alliance of tolerance and acceptance, Ezra experiences a few surprises of his own on the home-front. He also learns the hard way that friendships out of convenience aren't always a good idea, just as some enemies might not be as bad as he originally imagined them to be.
Pride Must Be a Place really took me by surprise, in all aspects of the saying. The plot twists were totally unexpected, and I found myself really taken by the story. I had also not read much Canadian contemporary, so it was nice to dive into something new!
I don't think I've ever read a book where a Grindr type app comes into play, but I can honestly say that it created some nice drama. While I constantly wanted to strangle Alex, because of how horrible he was to his friends, his Extra-ness really brought the plot to life. It was also really interested to read about the ways in which Ezra excused his behaviour, and why he stayed his friend. I mean, Ezra is a lot stronger of a person than I am, because my Virgo-ness has no time for people like Alex.

This book also was a lot more gusty than I was expecting! I was thinking that this book would be a feel good story about the forming of a GSA, but it had a lot more to offer. There were a lot of discussions on very intense topics of LGBTQ+ life like coming out, targeted violence, homophobia, and sex, which was unexpected, but also the candor in which the book is written in was refreshing. The conversations between friends are very candid, and they're about everything from violence to the fact that a child who is underage is hooking up with adult men!!!! No!! Don't do that!!!

I also want to talk about a part of the book that could be a big turn off for people. The book deals with some incredibly homophobic bullying, and because of this, there's a fair amount of hate speech used. Specifically a word that starts with F-. While I could understand why it was used, and it was never, in my opinion, used out of context, that word still makes my skin crawl, and it really frustrated me that it was used so much. While I find that words like Queer have been reclaimed in the LGBTQ+ community, other words haven't been, and I really would have liked a warning about this language in the book. While I wasn't harmed or triggered by it, I don't think it's a stretch to think that someone else might be.

Also, a quick note on romances: while there was a romance in the book, which was cute, it wasn't super fleshed out. While I liked the character of Simon, and I found the romance sweet, it did nothing to add to the book for me. It fell flat. I feel like if there's going to be a romantic subplot, it needs to add something to the story, and to both characters. We didn't know Simon beforehand, so his entire job was to be a romantic interest, but it didn't add anything to Ezra either.

I found that while Ezra was our main character, and the vehicle in which the story was told, I was really taken with all of the side characters! Ezra's friend Nettie was not in the book enough, but I really liked her. I also really liked Marc and his dads, but I also realize that the whole family seemed a little too good to be true. I kind of chalked that up to the fact that we're reading through the eyes of Ezra, who thinks Marc is the best thing since sliced bread. Also Hank! Sweet little Hank! Loved him.

Overall, this was an interesting contemporary, that when broken down, had really great parts, and was an interesting read, but wasn't something that I really loved. I'm giving it a 3.5 star rating because I enjoyed it, and I found some of the characters really interesting, and I also enjoyed the more mature, candid tone of it.

Thanks so much for reading, and let me know what you thought about the book!

Happy Reading!
Kevin Craig is the author of young adult novels [Summer on Fire(2011), Burn Baby Burn Baby(2014), Half Dead & Fully Broken(2015), Pride Must Be A Place(2018)] and adult-themed coming-of-age novels featuring young narrators [Sebastian's Poet(2012), The Reasons(2013)]. Kevin lives in Toronto, Canada, with their partner Michael. Kevin has had 10 short plays and 2 one-act plays produced/performed. They are represented by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group. Most recently, Kevin signed a young adult novel set on the Camino de Santiago with Stacey. It is currently on submission.

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This giveaway is sponsored by Moonbeam Books, an independent bookstore in Toronto, Ontario! 

Win a copy of PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE by Kevin Craig courtesy of the author!

There will be one for someone in Canada and one for someone in the United States! Happy reading!

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