Enrique “Quique” Luna has one goal this summer—get over his crush on Saleem Kanazi by pursuing his other romantic prospects. Never mind that he’s only out to his best friend, Fabiola. Never mind that he has absolutely zero game.
I was granted audio ARC access to This Is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest. I would also like to note that I was approved for this title very late in August, possibly even after publication date had passed, but I truly did still intend to get my review out sooner than I’ve managed, and for that I’m sorry.
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About the Book
This Is Why They Hate Us
by Aaron H. Aceves
Published 23 August 2022
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 400
Published 23 August 2022
Dreamscape Media LLC
Narrator: Alejandro Ruiz
Length: 10 hours and 3 minutes
Genre: YA LGBTQIA+ Contemporary Romance
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Enrique “Quique” Luna has one goal this summer—get over his crush on Saleem Kanazi by pursuing his other romantic prospects. Never mind that he’s only out to his best friend, Fabiola. Never mind that he has absolutely zero game. And definitely forget the fact that good and kind and, not to mention, beautiful Saleem is leaving L.A. for the summer to meet a girl his parents are trying to set him up with.
Luckily, Quique’s prospects are each intriguing in their own ways. There’s stoner-jock Tyler Montana, who might be just as interested in Fabiola as he is in Quique; straight-laced senior class president, Ziggy Jackson; and Manny Zuniga, who keeps looking at Quique like he’s carne asada fresh off the grill. With all these choices, Quique is sure to forget about Saleem in no time.
But as the summer heats up and his deep-seated fears and anxieties boil over, Quique soon realizes that getting over one guy by getting under a bunch of others may not have been the best laid plan and living his truth can come at a high cost.
My Rating: 5 Stars
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Okay, what the heck, it ends THERE?!
I’m going to be completely honest and say that the first couple of chapters of this book were absolutely not winning me over and I let this book fall by the wayside as my first semester back to school in several years started, but tonight I decided to finish and I must have hit pause at a critical turning point because oh my goodness the rest of this book was pure gold!
This Is Why They Hate Us is a queer teen coming-of-age story during which a bisexual boy with unresolved mental health issues he’s working through decides that this is the summer to explore the full range of prospects his sexuality offers. Some of that exploration leads down dead ends, leads into danger, or leads to unexpected and unconventional friendships. (Ever heard that joke about how if you’re queer you were either friends with your English teacher or your Art teacher?) Some of that exploration eventually leads to honesty and deeper connections among the friends and possibly more-than-friends already in his life. It’s sweet, honest, scary, and beautiful all at the same time, and I couldn’t get enough!
Beyond the exploration of relationships, this book also shines a spotlight on BIPOC, mixed-race, and immigrant & refugee voices and experiences. There’s very little cis-het white representation in this book, and that means every single internal and interpersonal issue the main cast has is tangled in intersectionality. I think this is definitely a re-readable book because it has so much to say about minority experiences that it’s impossible to soak it all up with a single reading.
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