Before we get into the exact details of why, let’s break it down. YA author/powerhouse Adam Silvera recently tweeted this, and we want to retweet a hundred times over:
Note on blurbs: I'm ONLY blurbing books with queer main characters from now on. 🌈
Writers/Editors/Agents, pls forward all blurb requests to my agent @byobrooks. My anxiety won't let me say no if you ask and I'm forced to overextend myself as a result. Thanks for understanding.
— ADAM 🏳️🌈 (@AdamSilvera) September 25, 2018
This message is SO important for a number of reasons: not only is Silvera supporting artists he believes in, he’s showing the world the stories he wants to be told, the stories that deserve to be told. They have been around forever, but unfortunately too many have been hidden from the public eye. Not anymore, if we have anything to say about it!
Someone else has something to say about it too: #ownvoices author Kheryn Callender, whose debut This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story went on-sale recently. Callender, who uses they/them pronouns, says they have seen more of a shift in books featuring queer characters, but still:
“I still wanted more: a book with queer characters of color whose identities weren’t tied to pain; whose identities brought them love and joy. A book where the character’s races and sexualities weren’t considered shocking or groundbreaking. A book where I knew that the queer characters of color would get their happily ever after.”
And they have certainly delivered in This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story. It’s hard for us to express how much *epic love* we have for this book, for Nathan Bird and Oliver James Hernández, and of course the author who created the story we all needed to read! And it’s important because at its core, it reminds us that everyone, no matter who you are or how you identify, is deserving of an epic love story. We are all human and we deserve to see ourselves represented in the stories we see and read, in the stories we tell.
But fine, if you need even more convincing, here are more reasons to drop everything you’re doing and open yourself up to Epic Love:
5 Reasons to Drop Everything and Read ‘This Is Kind Of An Epic Love Story’
1. The intersectional love is here and it is oh-so-beautiful
We all want to make a difference in the world, whether big or small, and Callender has done just that in representing diversity as not just a checkbox, but a necessary inclusion in their book. The book explores diversity as it relates to race, sex, socioeconomic status, deaf culture, and more. This is true intersectional love in all its forms.
2. Characters that are relatable and oh-so-real
Seriously, these characters will burrow into your heart to shatter it, only to put it back together again. Of course, main character Nathan Bird is our main bae, but we equally love Oliver James, Flo, Ash, Gideon, Becca, even Ollie and Nate’s moms! No one in the book is perfect (how boring would that be?), but that’s what makes us love them all the more. Seeing characters that are nuanced, complicated, making decisions that are sometimes plain wrong—it reminds us that they’re human and deserving of empathy, and makes us cheer for them that much more when they do get it right.
3. Amazing squad goals
Nothing gets you through the trials and tribulations of high school like your best friends, and the squad from This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story is no exception. Sure, their origin story is a bit unusual with the whole friends-to-dating-to-friends again, but the most important part of this friendship is the genuine love and support all these characters give to one another. Their love is so palpable, we can’t help but fall a little bit in love with each of them, too!
4. High-stakes romance
The will-they-won’t-they, push-and-pull that makes any romance fun to watch, or read, is amplified here, as Ollie deals with the potential of moving across the country (again) and Nate struggles with opening himself up to the love and happiness he deserves with another person.
5. A (Really) Epic Love Story
At its heart, This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story is about love in all its forms. Romantic love, platonic love, familial love. Maybe it’s impossible to tell if we’ll all get happy endings in life, but we can all have a happy ending right now, if only we take a second to look around and enjoy where we are and who we’re with.