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Friday, September 16, 2016

Review: It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt



Blurb from Goodreads:
A new state, a new city, a new high school. Mike's father has already found a new evangelical church for the family to attend, even if Mike and his plainspoken little sister, Toby, don't want to go. Dad wants Mike to ditch art for sports, to toughen up, but there’s something uneasy behind his demands.

Then Mike meets Sean, the new kid, and "hey" becomes games of basketball, partnering on a French project, hanging out after school. A night at the beach. The fierce colors of sunrise. But Mike's father is always watching. And so is Victor from school, cell phone in hand.
My Review:
 
This is such a hard book for me to review. I don't generally set out to read books that are devastating emotionally but this one did make me so sad with its intolerance. Mike's parents and some of the kids at school were so awful that it was hard to get past their actions and find any joy in reading this book, even if it is telling a very necessary story. The writing is very simple; I believe that it is meant to be a conversation/diary form from 15 year old Mike and it fits but there were times when I found myself longing for this story to be told with a bit more finesse or awareness.  On one hand, there is such need for a story like this from the 15 year old's perspective and language but, on the other hand, the lack of context leave me reeling.  This was well done but something was missing for me -- I feel such empathy for Mike and his situation but I cannot articulate why I didn't fully connect with him or his story.

For a realistic take on growing up gay without parental support, I highly recommend this. While my heart may not have fit exactly with this one, it was well done and is certainly a documentation of a tragedy that goes on every day for gay children and teenagers. It Looks Like This came out earlier this month on September 6, 2016, and you can purchase HERE.
I turn back and Sean is looking at me.  For the first time I notice little flecks of orange in his eyes, around the inside of the irises. Only a few but they're there, like the first gold leaves in a brilliant green forest, the first gold leaves of fall. I watch the orange flecks disappear as his pupils dilate, just a little. All at once I realize how close he is.   

13 comments:

  1. Oh goodness, from the blurb and your review, I can see why this book was devastating. Mike's perspective sounds heartbreaking, and I can appreciate the realism of this sort of story. That said, if you didn't connect, you didn't. I've definitely experience that with a book I should have connected with otherwise.

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  2. These reads really are hard to both read and review. Wonderful job on your review, I can see how this was such a hard read, very emotional!!

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  3. Great review for a tough subject. I like books that are realistic and somewhat relatable, but that also makes them hard/emotional to read sometimes.

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  4. Oh wow. This sounds like a hard read. I am intrigued though. I hadn't even heard of this book. I'm adding it to my list. Great review!

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  5. Sounds like this was able to get across the emotional turmoil of being outcast for such a huge part of your identity! Great Review!

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  6. I am sorry you didn't connect more with this one, but we can both appreciate the tough topic matter.

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  7. This sounds like it might be hard to read but an important topic. Great review!!

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  8. I definitely know what you mean re: reading a book with a great message but the awful characters making it impossible to enjoy it. I think I would like the message/topic but the characters would probably have me going crazy so I don't know if I would pick it up. It does sound good, though. Great review!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

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  9. Oh wow, this does sound extremely important, but yeah, definitely difficult to read. How can parents be so awful? I do like the idea that it was written with actual 15 year old boys in mind, that is awesome, but I do think that an element of connection simply MUST be there for it to be effective, so that is hard. Great review!

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  10. It sounds like this is a story that needs to be told, but it can be difficult to read such a heartbreaking story. D: I like that it's from the teenage boy's perspective, but I can totally see how that would make it frustrating at times. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  11. Hmm, sorry something was missing for you. It still sounds like an intriguing read though. Terrific review!

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  12. it can be so hard to read those stories that can be sad. I don't mind heartbreaking stories but they need to be well written as well.

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  13. This sounds like such a difficult, emotional read. I think I would have a hard time getting through it... my outrage would take over. Seems like it's one of those books that you're glad you read even if you didn't exactly enjoy it.

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