Size Doesn’t Matter (74): The Inside of Out; Once Was a Time

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (74): The Inside of Out; Once Was a TimeThe Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne
Published by Dial BFYR on May 31, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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Meg Cabot meets Glee in this breezy, hilarious, deceptively smart YA about privilege, pretense, and realizing that every story needs a hero. Sometimes it's just not you.

When her best friend Hannah comes out the day before junior year, Daisy is so ready to let her ally flag fly that even a second, way more blindsiding confession can't derail her smiling determination to fight for gay rights.

Before you can spell LGBTQIA, Daisy's leading the charge to end their school’s antiquated ban on same-sex dates at dances—starting with homecoming. And if people assume Daisy herself is gay? Meh, so what. It's all for the cause.

What Daisy doesn't expect is for "the cause” to blow up—starting with Adam, the cute college journalist whose interview with Daisy for his university paper goes viral, catching fire in the national media. #Holy #cats.

With the story spinning out of control, protesters gathering, Hannah left in the dust of Daisy’s good intentions, and Daisy's mad attraction to Adam feeling like an inconvenient truth, Daisy finds herself caught between her bold plans, her bad decisions, and her big fat mouth.

Ever since I saw that gorgeous cover, I wanted The Inside of Out desperately. It looks so much like it should be the OT3 I’ve been dreaming of, doesn’t it? Well, spoiler, it’s totally not. However, it’s got fabulous voice, humor, and is super cute to boot.

Daisy’s voice really worked for me. I read this book straight through, which isn’t something I do a ton, because I read multiple books at once and shift through them if I get bored. The Inside of Out remained so consistently engaging that I didn’t want to take any breaks. Much as I love her voice, I do question why Hannah, her POC, lesbian best friend, isn’t the main character. Having the white, cishet Daisy as the MC does make it possible for people to educate her about her privilege and ways that, even while trying to help, she makes things worse, but also it would have been nice to get that other point of view.

The other drawback for The Inside of Out was the plot. It’s not that it’s bad, but I’ve read the “fighting for gay homecoming/prom” narrative several times before. Given the dearth of LGBT fiction, especially fluffy LGBT fiction, it’s a shame that this one has a narrative that’s been done before. That said, I do think this one does it the best, despite the whole pretending to be gay nonsense.

Honestly, I sound a bit down on this book, but I did really like it a whole lot. For all that I wish it had been in Hannah’s POV, I want to be clear that Hannah doesn’t get stereotyped or token best friended. The book is about her arc almost as much as it is Daisy’s. Their friendship really works, and both of their ships end up working surprisingly well, despite my initial suspicions.

Though a bit long perhaps for the story within, I couldn’t put The Inside of Out down. It’s not the most original LGBT novel out there, but the voice is excellent and the ships are cute.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 gif gay prom

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (74): The Inside of Out; Once Was a TimeOnce Was a Time by Leila Sales
Published by Chronicle Books on April 5, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Historical
Pages: 322
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
AmazonThe Book Depository

In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty's fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

After being unimpressed with Sales’ prior effort, Tonight the Streets are Ours, I almost passed on Once Was a Time, since middle grade isn’t my favorite anyway. However, Once Was a Time turned out to be a vast improvement, and I flew through this surprisingly heavy middle grade.

This quirky little time travel story opens in 1940 but quickly spins off into a contemporary tale set in 2013 Wisconsin. Charlotte time travels away from having been kidnapped by the Nazis and finds herself in future America. There, she has to deal with her guilt and figure out what to do next.

One thing I liked a lot about this book is that Charlotte actually didn’t have a convenient way out. Yes, she escaped, but she can’t get back. She’s lost her family forever and has to deal with the regret of leaving her friend behind. View Spoiler » As I said, it’s a surprisingly heavy little book, though it remains a light read.

That, I think, does cause some problems, since it’s bringing up some stuff with the WWII angle that Once Was a Time really doesn’t do much of anything with. The result is that the novel feels a bit off at times, but Kitty’s strong voice and constant literary references sold it for me.

Once Was a Time had me turning the pages to see how the plot would resolve, and, on the whole, I think it was done well, though I’m not sure how necessary the actual time travel frame story really was.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif susan narnia


2 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (74): The Inside of Out; Once Was a Time”

  1. Pamela says:

    I was also not impressed with Once We Were–and it was the time-travel aspect that really killed it for me. The target age also seemed wobbly–is it MG? Is it teen? Is it kids? Hmm.

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