Book Review · Books

The Stone Rainbow

Jack recently came out to his mom and is slowly befriending Cody, whose teaching him how to swim. He hangs out with his friend Ryan and likes to get advice from Ryan’s girlfriend Clare. Life is improving from the previous year when things felt hopeless.

When cute new kid Benjamin starts talking to Jack in art class, Jack is surprised since Benjamin is the school VP’s son. Jack can’t tell if Benjamin is just being polite, or actually likes Jack. He doesn’t know of any other gay kids in their town.

When Benjamin and Jack have to make an art project for class, Jack is surprised how out Benjamin is. He makes a rainbow out of stones he colors and then writes the meaning behind the different colors. Jack is concerned for his safety once everyone in town knows Benjamin is gay. Benjamin on the other hand is out and not shy about being obvious.

Benjamin starts talking about how their small town should have a Pride parade, but Jack knows with how conservative their town is there’s no way they’d get it approved. When there’s an incident Jack has to decide if hiding who he is, is worth it.

I received my complimentary digital copy of The Stone Rainbow by Liane Shaw from NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own will. If you haven’t read Caterpillars Can’t Swim you can still read The Stone Rainbow without being lost as to what happened in the first book. A lot of times sequels don’t live up to the first book. This one surpassed it. This book is a powerful story of friendship, family, community and being true to who you are no matter what others think, or do.

Book Review · Books

Caterpillars Can’t Swim

Ryan is minding his own business when he notices a woman down by the water twirling in a yellow skirt. She looks happy. One minute she is there and the next she disappears. Ryan looks over the railing to see if he can see her, but he sees no one. The water is down a bit of a hill and to get to it he’ll need to crawl. Ryan has cerebral palsy. He doesn’t think of anything else, but to find the unknown woman.

After saving the unknown woman Ryan realizes he knows this person. This person is Jack. Why was he wearing a skirt? Jack is a quiet classmate of Ryan’s, but he’s not friends with Jack. Both boys don’t want what happened to be blown out of proportion. Wouldn’t anyone else do the same if someone was drowning?

Enter Cody, Jack’s best friend from swim team. He’s a classic jock whose got an ego the size of the sun, trying to shine brighter than anyone around. Cody is determined to find out more about Jack and what really happened, but Ryan’s not sure on the fine details either of the why. When Ryan invites Jack to accompany both him and Cody to Comic Con in a gesture of friendship is it a recipe for disaster, or will it bring the boys together?

I received my digital copy of Caterpillars Can’t Swim by Liane Shaw from NetGalley. The opinions are my own and of my own accord. This young adult novel tackles the challenging subjects of depression, identity, friendship and what it means to be true to who you are. I loved this novel. I thought Ryan’s character is fleshed out well. I don’t have to depend on a wheelchair to get around, but this novel shows the realistic struggle to be noticed for who you are minus any handicap assistance you come with. Cody was a well represented high school jock, though how he changes throughout the story is interesting to watch. Jack is the classic sensitive kid who is scared to trust to be himself in front of others. This book will be a great edition to any YA fan’s bookcase, as well as any high school library. Let’s get the conversation going. Never let anyone suffer in silence.