Thank you to NetGalley for an eARC of this title.
Wow. I’m speechless.
It’s 1983, Michael is 17 years old, lives in New York, has two best friends…. and he’s gay. AIDS is growing in victims and Reagan’s Homophobic America has Michael’s father calling it ‘what they deserve’ for their lifestyle. Michael’s older brother, Connor, had already been kicked out for being gay and Michael is terrified of being next.
I always find reading any art that takes place during the AIDS epidemic incredibly upsetting. The desperation, the lack of information, and the blatant and violent homophobia that prevents people from learning how to protect themselves, what to look out for, and getting help…. it’s heavy. A heavy that is one hundred percent necessary. Today, the knowledge about this time period is limited to those who survived and to those who are diligent about keeping that knowledge, the stories, alive.
I applaud Helene Dunbar for using a young adult to bring the topic to younger readers, especially younger queer readers. It’s so so important for us to know our history.
The writing is beautiful. It’s definitely an acquired taste, one that thankfully I have, but I felt that it added to the uncertainty of the environment and the ability to build fear and keep it in the forefront. If you have a rough time with it at first, keep going, I promise it adds to the story and is very nearly essential to it.