Which Wednesdays: LGBTQ Characters

Hello, fellow bookworms and book bloggers! I have appeared, right before your eyes, to bring the second ever Which Wednesday! This week’s theme? Book’s about LGBTQ characters!

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The two books I’ve chosen this week are Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (AADDTSOFU for short) and Simon VS The Homo Sapiens Agenda (SVTHSA for short). Both books feature LGBTQ characters, something that has become extremely relevant.From the landmark US Supreme court ruling, to the hashtagΒ  #lovewins, and Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out, many say that 2015 has been the year of LGBTQ rights. From more representation in movies, to acceptance in general, homophobia is generally becoming a thing of the past. More and more people are seeing past a default and opening their minds and hearts to people who would, 10 years ago, have been shunned. This trend (and to call it a trend is too simplistic) is not only in popular culture, as the We Need Diverse Books movement has contributed greatly to the variety of YA, LGBTQ-centric literature today. The two books I have chosen today are some of the most hyped and widely talked about stories. They deal with regular, average teenagers, and how they face their problems. Both of them have an average of 4+ ratings on Goodreads, so let’s see how they turn out!


ROUND 1: Synopsis. (From Goodreads)

simonsynopsis

From what I can read, AADDTSOTU is more of a coming of age story, while SVTHSA is a typical YA romance. Personally, I feel that SVTSHA is more my style. My only problem? Both of these books feature male narrators… and I usually hate reading male POVs. For one reason or another, I usually can’t relate to them at all, and end up detesting the book.

WINNER: Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

ROUND 2: Style of Writing

AADDTSOTU is written in Aristotle’s point of view… and isn’t jarring at all. He seems to float on and observe life… never really attached to his surroundings. Usually, I find that frustrating, but here, it worked really well. I didn’t really get a sense of anger, though, like the summary implied, but a sense of sadness and mundanity. He really did give off a loner vibe… The only way to possible describe the voice of this book is lyrical. It’s deceptively simple, but impossibly relatable. It felt like the way people say “like a John Green novel” except that I actually liked this book and basically hated every John Green book ever.

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Like I ain’t even gay, but this book makes you feel.

SVTHSA is written in Simon’s point of view… and he felt like a typical YA character. Granted, he didn’t get on my nerves, or alienate me, but it stylistically wasn’t even close to AADDTSOTU. That’s probably because I read SVTHSA after I read AADDTSOTU, so the shift was awkward.

WINNER: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

ROUND 3: Characters

I LOVED EVERY SINGLE FRICKIN CHARACTER in AADDTSOTU. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Aristotle was completely relatable. Sure, he did some weird boy stuff (cough cough wanking cough cough) but it came off (get it? Sorry) as natural rather than provocative. Aristotle and Dante were SO GODDAMN CUTE. Like I can’t even articulate at how I feel at their level of friendship.

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Something as cute as this.

Something that made me even happier? Both their parents were present. Can you believe it? TWO FUNCTIONAL SETS OF YA PARENTS IN THE SAME BOOK! I mean, sure, there was some parental drama, but it’s not like one was a drug dealer and the other was abusive. The parents made me want to hug them so bad. #WeNeedMoreParentsinBooks

All the characters developed quite nicely and came to some really sweet realizations. I loved the self discover and how it wasn’t pretentious at all.

With SVTHSA, I liked most of the characters, although at times they felt quite trite. Simon was very funny, however, at times he could feel bland. I DETESTED his blackmailer, and I disliked his friends. I know this book was partially about friendship, but honestly, it felt a lot more focused on Simon’s e-romance than his friendships. The problems that arose with his friends got on my nerves, but they eventually developed. Ish. While there were parents in this book as well (Hallelujah, two in a row?), they were the weird, kooky type, and were waaaaaaay to overbearing. I mean, I’d never thought I would be asking parents to lay off, but these guys need chill pills. And not in an endearing way.

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Sherlock says SHUT UP!

WINNER: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

ROUND 4: Setting/World Building

AADDTSOTU was actually set in 1987 and 1988. I only realized that the second time I read it (I’ve read it 3 times as of right now πŸ˜‰ ). It has that perfect, timeless quality, and feels so relevant no matter how you grew up or where. It also includedspanish and questions ofΒ  Mexican heritage (ya know, the typical immigrant problems πŸ˜› )…It was just enough to make the characters interesting and build their individual personalities.

SVTHSA was set now… so it didn’t really include any world building. However, it felt sort of dated, and quaint due to the fact that the love interests exchanged emails.

WINNER: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

ROUND 5: Originality/Interest

Now, both books are technically original, but I’m tempted to let AADDTSOTU win since it was published first. Both books were interesting in their own way, and had their own mysteries. SVTHSA had me emotionally invested in finding out who Blue was (the mystery cutie pie) while AADDTSOTU had me emotionally and soully (solely, get it?) and COMPLETELY invested in finding out along with the characters themselves, who they were.

WINNER: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (for putting such a new twist on an old formula)

Final score: 4-1


Individual ratings:
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: 5 out of 5 stars
Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda: 4 out of 5 stars

WHICH ONE: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

This doesn’t mean the other books was bad; in fact,Β  I encourage you to check out both if possible. To illustrate why I loved this book so much, I’ll leave you with an elegant quote from Nafiza (check her out, y’all) about why I loved the winner so much:

The novel is about love and not just the romantic kind. This novel is about falling in love with your parents and with yourself. It’s about silence and pain and the poetry in the desert and the poetry in yourself. It’s about realizations about the person you are and the person you are going to becoming. This novel is beautiful, funny and everything that a wonderful novel should be.

Β And I truly hope you guys feel tempted to pick either of these ~ You won’t regret it!

❀ Sarah ❀

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

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26 thoughts on “Which Wednesdays: LGBTQ Characters

    • sublimereads says:

      I was surprised too, tbh. I was like…WHUT – NO WAAAAAY. But, there were clues… I mean, he went out in the summer, and didn’t have a phone… there were no computers at all, now that I think about it. You won’t regret adding it to your tbr ~ It’s so KEWT πŸ˜€
      Thanks for the sweet comment πŸ˜„ πŸ™‚

      Like

  1. Aila @ One Way Or An Author says:

    I absolutely adore your analysis, Sarah! I liked both these books, but also for very different reasons (other than the fact that they focus on LGBTQ characters, which was awesome). While both books highlighted the mc’s self-discovery and the repercussions of their love, Simon Vs. gave off a more light, fluffy vibe that spreads warmth all over while A&D provided some heart-tugging and tear-jerking moments. (I admit, I teared quite a bit reading it because I got so emotional. I’M A CRIER ALRIGHT.) But in the end, I found that element to be one of the reasons why it resonated so much with me, so I’d have to agree with you on this – A&D certainly topped Simon Vs. for me!

    Like

    • sublimereads says:

      Merci, Aila ❀ πŸ˜€
      I might as well put your comment as the review, gal, because it’s on point (and like 1000 words shorter πŸ˜› ) Reading it was like “YAAAS SHE GET’S IT”
      A&D was much more emotional… but not in a cloying, vying-for-your-feels way, ya know?
      In retrospect, I feel this review was too one sided. I guess next time I’ll have to ensure I talk both books up πŸ˜›

      Like

  2. Danni Mae says:

    Really love the idea for Which Wednesdays. I haven’t read either of these (In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve never read ANY LBGT book) but I’ve heard great things about both and that Simon really represented a realistic view of a gay teen, whereas Aristotle provides a really TFIOS feel. These Wednesdays are good for picking between two similar or new-to-the-reader books, though!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Galaxial Word says:

    I LOVE the grunge texture and the colour palette you’ve used for the header image! I haven’t read either of them, and actually didn’t know that Aristotle was an LGBT book. I plan to read Simon soon though! I definitely have to participate in this, once I find two good books to compare. (And also omg I’ve been away for literally 4 days and I MISSED SO MUCH OF YOUR BLOG! ARGH. Going to catch-up read now.)

    Liked by 1 person

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