Author: Jo Ramsey
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Nail Polish & Feathers
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Deep Secrets and Hope: Book One
Sixteen-year-old Evan Granger has no problems with being gay. Despite his mother’s objections, he wears nail polish and makeup to school and pursues his goal of becoming a professional drag queen.
TV drag star Taffy Sweet gives encouragement and Evan’s cousin Holly tries to protect him, but school bullies abuse him so badly because of his sexuality and the girly way he dresses that he ends up at the hospital emergency room. After that, even his new crush, a closeted football jock named Moe Garcia, is unhappy about Evan’s choice to live his life openly gay. But even in girly clothes and nail polish, Evan is a force to be reckoned with, and he soon shows the bullies—and everyone else—that beating a drag queen up does not mean the queen is beaten down.
Shoulder Pads and Flannel
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Deep Secrets and Hope: Book Two
High school football star Guillermo Garcia can count himself among the popular kids—for now. Although he secretly dates Evan Granger, who is openly gay and badly bullied for it, Guillermo doesn’t dare let his teammates, classmates, or close-knit family learn about his sexuality.
But Guillermo witnessed an attack on Evan, and now the school bullies plan to out Guillermo in retaliation. In their small town, word spreads rapidly, so Guillermo must make a quick choice—come out now on his own or risk having someone else do it for him.
Here at Prism Book Alliance, reviews are not necessarily published as soon as they are written. Sometimes there are days, weeks, and months between writing a review and publishing said review. That could be because of publication dates and early review copies, or it could just be a function of how many reviews we have to publish in a given week and when we have room to schedule them. So I just want to say. You don’t know what else I read today, but I am so glad that I read these two titles. They redeemed what would otherwise be a very unsatisfactory reading day for me.
Nail Polish & Feathers and Shoulder Pads & Flannel are books 1 and 2 in the Deep Secrets and Hope series from Harmony Ink Press written by Jo Ramsey. From the blurbs you know that they take on the very real, very serious, and very scary topic of bullying. They also address coming out, being outed, and the harm that can come from spreading rumors. All topics that are very near and dear to any parent of an adolescent or any adolescent. You often here me talk about the list I am keeping for my kids to read when they are of age, these two titles are now on there.
I am reviewing them together because I think they should be read together. They are two sides of the same story, in a way. Book 1, Nail Polish & Feathers, is told by Evan, an out and proud 16 year old with a penchant for drag and tendency to find himself pushed into doors and lockers. He is, however, is not scared into being anyone but himself. He finds an unlikely ally in the school’s star running back, Moe. A very closeted boy who none-the-less stands up for his new friend.
Every day as Evan walks into school, he doesn’t know what challenges he will face. Even those closest to him begin to try to change him “for his own good.” Victim shaming at its worst. Unfortunately, his bullies aren’t all at school. Evan shows us that that there is nothing wrong with being yourself.
Book two, Shoulder Pads & Flannel, continues Moe and Evan’s story about two weeks after the events of Nail Polish, but this time we hear from Moe’s perspective. Moe is popular. He is also a big, built, and intimidating guy that no one wants to take on to his face, so instead, they bully him in the only way they can… through rumors. Most everyone has heard the adage “Sticks and stones will break my bones
But words will never harm me.” Shoulder Pads takes that adage on and turns it on its ear. Words hurt. Labels can harm. Whispers can knife through a person on so many more levels than a physical blow.
I recommend these titles to anyone with a child in the appropriate age range, LGBT or not. The message is too important. For what it is worth, there is no heat in these stories. There is some mention of off page sex (not between the MCs) and mention of off page rape (which is another important topic that these stories tackle with grace).
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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