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The Weyward family has been haunted by a curse for generations—if a Weyward falls in love before their seventeenth birthday, the person they love dies. Sam doesn’t plan to fall for anyone in the nine weeks before his birthday. He’ll spend his time working at the Eezy-Freeze with his dad; cooking up some midsummer magic with his grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-gre The Weyward family has been haunted by a curse for generations—if a Weyward falls in love before their seventeenth birthday, the person they love dies. Sam doesn’t plan to fall for anyone in the nine weeks before his birthday. He’ll spend his time working at the Eezy-Freeze with his dad; cooking up some midsummer magic with his grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother (the Grands); and experimenting with drag with the help of the queens at the Shangri-La, the local gay club. But when a new guy comes to town, Sam finds himself in trouble when they strike up a friendship that might be way more than that. As Sam’s birthday approaches and he still hasn’t quite fallen in love, the curse seems to get more powerful and less specific about who it targets. A mysterious girl Sam talks to on the phone late at night and a woman he’s only seen in a dream might have the answers he’s been looking for—but time is running out to save the people he cares about.


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The Weyward family has been haunted by a curse for generations—if a Weyward falls in love before their seventeenth birthday, the person they love dies. Sam doesn’t plan to fall for anyone in the nine weeks before his birthday. He’ll spend his time working at the Eezy-Freeze with his dad; cooking up some midsummer magic with his grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-gre The Weyward family has been haunted by a curse for generations—if a Weyward falls in love before their seventeenth birthday, the person they love dies. Sam doesn’t plan to fall for anyone in the nine weeks before his birthday. He’ll spend his time working at the Eezy-Freeze with his dad; cooking up some midsummer magic with his grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother (the Grands); and experimenting with drag with the help of the queens at the Shangri-La, the local gay club. But when a new guy comes to town, Sam finds himself in trouble when they strike up a friendship that might be way more than that. As Sam’s birthday approaches and he still hasn’t quite fallen in love, the curse seems to get more powerful and less specific about who it targets. A mysterious girl Sam talks to on the phone late at night and a woman he’s only seen in a dream might have the answers he’s been looking for—but time is running out to save the people he cares about.

30 review for Love & Other Curses

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hal Schrieve

    Content warning: this review contains spoilers and references to NSFW content+suicidal characters. I am convinced that the spoilers and content is necessary for a complete review that will be useful to readers, librarians, and to the author. Sam is a gay boy in a small town in upstate New York, and his life–while fulfilling–is pretty full of secrets. At home, he avoids telling his three magic-practicing, pie-eating grandmothers that he spends much of his free time at the Shangri-La, his town’s on Content warning: this review contains spoilers and references to NSFW content+suicidal characters. I am convinced that the spoilers and content is necessary for a complete review that will be useful to readers, librarians, and to the author. Sam is a gay boy in a small town in upstate New York, and his life–while fulfilling–is pretty full of secrets. At home, he avoids telling his three magic-practicing, pie-eating grandmothers that he spends much of his free time at the Shangri-La, his town’s only gay bar. When he’s at the Shangri-La, meanwhile, hanging out with drag queens Lola, Farrah and Paloma and trying on his own drag personas, he has to conceal the curse that has haunted his family for generations: whenever a Weyward child falls in love before age seventeen, their beloved inevitably meets with disaster. The curse has stalked Sam’s great-great-grandmother, his great-grandmother, his grandmother, and his father–Sam’s mother has been missing since his birth, and Sam believes her to be dead. Sam has almost made it to age seventeen, but just when he thinks he is safe, a new boy, Tom, shows up for the summer, and Sam develops an unfortunate crush that he’s afraid will turn into something worse. Readers of Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera, David Levithan and Mackenzi Lee will be interested in this realistic, magic-laced coming-of-age story about friendship, grief, family, and growing up. NOW. What this book doesn’t advertise on the jacket–but what is revealed in the first page after the introduction of Tom Swift, Sam’s love interest–is that Tom is a trans boy. As a gay trans man who came out in 2010, I can say with assurance that there has not been very much widely-consumed representation of trans men in fiction in the media I grew up with, and recent years have–despite much media coverage– not much changed that fact. When we appear, we tend to either be background characters or be exploited as a source of pathos and angst (Boys Don’t Cry, Cole on the Fosters in early seasons, Albert Nobbs, 3 Generations). Representations of transmasculine spectrum people also tend to still be written by cisgender people, resulting in portrayals that are focused heavily on transition narratives, pain, suicide attempts, and voyeurism. The best representation of a teenage trans boy (and one of the only gay trans boys in any popular art that I know of) is Max, the central character in Taylor Mac’s play Hir . Mac, who uses “judy” as a gender pronoun, is trans spectrum of some kind, so judy’s detail and emotionally visceral and authentic writing in Hir makes sense. When I first realized that the love interest in Love and Other Curses was trans, I was excited that for the first time there might be a fully developed trans gay boy love interest in a YA which could provide solace and hope to closeted or recently-out trans teens (plus reassurance and excitement to the boys and others who are into them). Unfortunately, at the end of the book, I came away disappointed. Before I talk about issues I have with Tom Swift’s characterization in Ford’s book, I want to name the things in Ford’s book that he does well. 1. I LOVE the Practical Magic spin-off premise with a gay boy protagonist. If you could pick my subconscious for most-wanted YA novels, “17 year old weird drag queen with three generations of magic-practicing grandmas living in a rural house and working at an ice cream store and having conversations on the phone with strangers for fun” is pretty close to the top. In general I like the curse arc, and how it’s resolved. 2. I LOVE the feeling that Sam’s scenes at the small-town gay bar Shangri La evoke in me. I grew up gay in a small town with one gay bar too, and I know what it feels like to need mentorship but to not be allowed into any of the spaces of revelry or solidarity that provide gay community. Unlike Sam, I had an LGBT youth group and a lot of punk friends who invited me to gay shows –and I had an annual drag show to look forward to, and a yearly Queer Rock Camp. But the loneliness was still real! I love the mentorship and love that Farrah, Paloma, and Lola provide to Sam, and I like the descriptions of Sam’s own explorations of drag. These scenes are homey and touching and affirm how good gay family can be. 3. The scene where Sam dresses up as mysterious day-glo drag queen Kandy Korn for Pride is OUTSTANDING and captures really beautifully what it feels like to be in gay community and do drag and try on new faces. It reminds me somewhat of Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s beautiful descriptions of club life, but it’s accessible and teen-focused and also feels like the scene in the Perks of Being A Wallflower movie where the characters are dancing to “Come On Eileen“. It’s an authentic image of queer youth, and the music references (MIKA, Scissors Sisters, Ariana Grande) are gleefully dead-on for small-town white gays. 4. I really like the initial meeting between Sam and Tom and the scene on the river. It’s sweet and has a great captivating sense of summer and possibility. 5. I like the fact that Tom is the first boy Sam has kissed and I like the frank sexuality of Ford’s books/the reference to the mutual jack-off session that is Sam’s only other point of comparison for sex. I believe Ford genuinely wants to write a good novel with good representation, and I think he’s competent at this in the extreme–when it comes to gay boys and drag spaces. He is also good at writing about family, grief, and the eternally relatable rural feeling of driving long distances on foggy country roads for small errands. That said, I think Ford’s trans representation could use work. I don’t believe he wants to be transphobic, but his laziness has resulted in transphobic tropes making their way into his book. The issues I have with Tom, the “Love” in Love and Other Curses, are as follows: 1. Tom is obsessively focused on transition. This is the main issue I have with most trans representation written by cis people (for instance, the first season of Transparent). Cis authors seem to believe that trans people only think about our own bodies and our own identities, to the exclusion of everyone else in our lives. Tom’s obsessive focus on himself and his angry, disproportionately explosive outbursts at Sam when Sam makes predictable mistakes makes him an unlikeable, unsympathetic character who comes across as boorish, idiotic, and one-dimensional. This depiction communicates to readers that trans people are irrational, abusive narcissists, which can sometimes be true but generally isn’t. 2. Tom has an unrealistic lack of trans community or quality medical information. It’s 2018. Tom wears Dr. Who binders (a dorky and yes, realistic touch–the Adventure Time shirt is also something that a real trans teen would definitely wear). But having access to that means he is plugged in to some kind of online trans community. Because of the Dr. Who obsession, I think Tom would probably be on Tumblr, which would expose him to reams of good and bad information on transition, gender politics, safety, and resources. If he wanted to he could reference lists of books and films related to trans content and seek out information on people like him. He would likely find Susan Stryker’s Transgender History, or The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You by S. Bear Bergman or Morgan M. Page’s trans history podcast One From The Vaults. He could also access many comics and a lot of art by trans people featuring their ideas and ideologies. Tumblr is a weird mix of information resource and cesspool, and it’s true that there as many people trying to exploit teens as there are people providing good resources or sharing information. I think it’s reasonable that Tom would make bad decisions sometimes, including trusting people unnecessarily and having hypocritical ideas about gender (particularly transmisogynistic ones, like those he hurls at Sam after Sam tries to suck his dick). However it is ALMOST CERTAIN that Tom, like the thousands (millions) of trans kids around the world who are on the internet, would have read somewhere at some point that black market hormones are a bad idea. Spoilers: It is also almost certain that NO reasonable trans adult would sell black market hormones to a teenager. Most trans adults would instead try to direct a teenager toward an informed-consent medical provider which could legally and safely connect that teenager with consistent HRT or other services. There are Planned Parenthood resources in the Upper Hudson area, near where Tom and Sam live. In New York, Planned Parenthood provides HRT at a cost which, while steep to an uninsured teen, is not more than one would pay for online hormones. The experience of going to a doctor for the first time and explaining one’s needs around transition is one every closeted trans teenager will someday face. I don’t know ANYONE who buys their hormones online except during manufacturer shortages. Trans people also very rarely SELL hormones to other trans people, in my experience, particularly not closeted trans people in need. We’re a community and (not always, but usually) act like it. I can see an older trans man giving T to a trans kid while also referring them to a doctor, but not selling it to him. 3. Tom’s dysphoria is one-dimensional and not representative of the complicated feelings trans people often have about our bodies. While some trans men, especially straight ones, have extreme dysphoria about their bodies, many of us do not, and feel comfortable sometimes or all the time with our genitalia and our chests and the rest of us. Even if we do have dysphoria, we likely still experience some level of sexual pleasure and arousal even before transition. While you aren’t obligated to show Tom as comfortable with himself, I think it’s realistic to show him as capable of joy and self-love. As a gay trans teenager, I only got on hormones at age 16, and had my first sexual experience after that, but I jerked off prior to getting on hormones and had lots of crushes, and I even occasionally thought of my body positively. There are lots of things online about trans men being hot these days, and plenty of online validation available to transgender teenagers that can help assuage the shame or disgust we feel with our own bodies. There’s also a large amount of porn of trans men where trans men love women and men joyfully (though fetish blogs tend to prefer videos where trans men get fucked by cis men, which I imagine would make Tom, who thinks of himself as straight and has a lot of dysphoria around his genitals, fairly uncomfortable). Even if some days we wake up and hate the way we look or feel, that isn’t necessarily something we would share with someone we just met. 4. Warning: spoilers and NSFW: I am down with the scene of Sam sucking Tom off while Sam is in girl drag! It’s extremely corny, but it’s cute and plausible. What I’m not into is the discourse that happens immediately after where Tom yells at Sam for wearing drag and wanting to crossdress during sex. Tom would CERTAINLY know that Sam was having some kind of gender moment, and it’s only a truly despicable trans person that would react in such an extremely cruel way to someone’s gender experimentation, even if they were freaked out and in a sexual situation they were no longer sure about. There is bad drag discourse out there and trans mascs eat it up, but I think Tom would at least pause to ask if Sam felt like a girl–he HAS to realize that there is something complicated going on. 5. Warning: Spoilers and suicide attempts/cutting: Tom’s subsequent freakout and cutting feels bad an voyeuristic and deeply upsetting to me as an adult. It would feel even worse to a gay trans teenager. I don’t know if you remember when gay men of all kinds were mainly shown dying, killing themselves, or wanting to die (Ray Bradbury’s “Tangerine” was one of my first encounters with gay representation). I don’t like it! I don’t think we need more of it. Discussing suicidal ideation is one thing; suicide attempts as plot points is something else. 6. We get no sense of Tom and his summer girlfriend Anna-Lynne’s connection. This is unfair to both characters. I want to know why they get along and what she sees in him and what he sees in her! All we get is details about how it feels to kiss her, which dehumanizes her. I want to know what she likes, what she gives Tom and makes him feel, and what she wants. She also seems exceptionally chill with trans people, and I want to know how she sees herself in relation to Tom in the future. 7. We get no sense of what Sam sees in Tom. All he ever does is talk about himself and his transition and angst. Sam’s a complex boy who likes a lot of music and has a lot of secrets and ideas about metaphysics–why would he be satisfied with that? The only thing left is physical attraction, which translates to voyeurism, and that feels really bad. I have had a LOT of cisgender men express attraction to me and my body for a range of reasons, but when they start waxing poetic about the novelty of my body, or the surprise of it, or whatever, I’m very frustrated and disgusted. 8. It’s the Trump era, and trans people are political. Even an extremely out of touch trans person would want to talk about the fear the government inspires in us. Bathrooms and other public spaces are places people want to legislate us out of. Tom would know about this. EDIT (may 26 2020): since people are liking this review again, I should say one more thing that went unmentioned in earlier reviews-- after his suicide attempt, Tom goes to the hospital, where the doctor MISTAKES HIS T SHOT MARKS FOR TRACK MARKS and gets him in trouble with his abusive parents. In case anyone doesn't know, T shots don't really leave any marks at all, and definitely nothing that could be confused with track marks. So that’s my list. Basically: this book is not written for trans kids. It’s written for people who know we exist, think we can be hot, and might be interested in fucking us, but who generally see us as angst-vortexes in need of a pity hug, or as rage-machines irrationally lashing out at people who give us said pity hug. That’s no fun! I really hope that Ford thinks about these issues with his text. I hope he has time for revision before publication and that he will consult with more trans people about the content in his book. He may have already spoken to sensitivity readers, but I am here to say that the current text remains a problem for potential trans readers who are in the target age range for this book. As someone who was a teenager not long ago, this book would have distressed and frustrated me–it paints a picture of trans people totally hemmed in by our own pain and unable to relate effectively to others. While the main character obtains freedom, the trans character is stuck in tropes. What could be a really excellent, glittering LGBT YA is consequently made into a wet blanket of a book for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    samantha

    DNF at 50% I have a lot of feelings about this book and there were many things I didn’t like. I’m not even gonna bother focusing on the things that were okay or done well, because I‘m choosing to focus on the negatives & potentially harmful content. In regards to the writing: - The writing was terrible. The sentence structure was so poor that it was difficult, clunky, and sometimes confusing to read. I wondered many times why the author chose to write like this, if it was supposed to come across DNF at 50% I have a lot of feelings about this book and there were many things I didn’t like. I’m not even gonna bother focusing on the things that were okay or done well, because I‘m choosing to focus on the negatives & potentially harmful content. In regards to the writing: - The writing was terrible. The sentence structure was so poor that it was difficult, clunky, and sometimes confusing to read. I wondered many times why the author chose to write like this, if it was supposed to come across as stream-of-consciousness from Sam, but it was not enjoyable to read. - The characters and the relationships were SO FLAT. There’s not one character that I felt a connection to, and I honestly don’t know how they felt connected to each other because there was a lack of chemistry in every single interaction. Onto the content: - Tom, our trans male love interest, is consistently misgendered by his unsupportive family and is often deadnamed, and our main character is forced to engage in this all well when he’s around Tom’s family. This maybe wouldn’t make me feel so uncomfortable if it wasn’t that these scenes, mixed with the poor, poor writing, just made it feel like they’re written for the sake of making Tom uncomfortable and essentially torturing him with his unsupportive family. It wasn’t /executed/ well enough to include it, in my opinion. There’s a difference between painting a picture of an unsupportive family, and actually showing that unsupportive family when it’s harmful for the character and potential readers. - Sam also consistently misgendered the drag queens that he’s friends with. They correct him multiple times when he misgenders them, and they even provide ‘guidelines’ for when to use she/her vs he/him pronouns. Even after this, Sam continues to misgender them during his inner narrative. This continued all the way through what I read, never improving. - Sam also has a lot to process when he learns that Tom is trans—sure, understandable! However, while Sam is trying to process this, he does so in a way that to me (as a cis woman, so take all of this with a grain of salt) feels disrespectful to Tom. Sam has a lot of inner turmoil about Tom looking /like/ a boy, dressing /like/ a boy, acting /like/ a boy, instead of Tom BEING a boy, or BEING trans. Sam also gets confused about his feelings about Tom because, as a gay male, he’s confused by his feelings toward someone who‘s AFAB, completely disregarding Tom’s identify as male. It felt to me like Sam was regarding Tom’s ‘trans-ness’ as a disguise, or dressing up or portraying a new character, and not showing Sam having respect and understanding that Tom IS a boy. Idk if that makes sense. But moving on. - Finally, Tom makes it clear that he is straight. He likes girls. But Sam is gay and he’s interested in Tom. Now I didn’t read enough of the story to really see how this played out, but from the title and the synopsis, it seems like it’s setting the characters up for some kind of romantic relationship. Again, and it’s because of the writing, this makes me feel so icky to read because it feels like Sam is never respecting Tom’s identify or his preferences or his boundaries. Sam is lusting over/pining after Tom throughout the whole thing, getting jealous of female characters who Tom shows interest in. It’s not written in a way where Sam is having to cope with unrequited feelings, or cope with having feelings for a best friend. It comes off obsessive and uncomfortable, especially mixed with the lack of chemistry and connection I felt from the characters. I obviously didn’t finish the book so I have no idea how these issues play out or if/how they get resolved. I also know from other reviews I read that there are more harmful situations that come up in the second half of the book, including suicide and self harm (which is another issue in and of itself in relation to trans rep). UGH I say all of this as a cis woman who’s opinion and review should be taken with a grain of salt. I encourage you to read own voices reviews on this book, taking care to understand the iffy/potentially harmful trans rep from trans readers and reviewers.

  3. 5 out of 5

    noa

    *ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review* This was such a disappointment. The story in itself wasn't bad. I liked the plot, the characters seemed cool and diverse (drag, trans and gay rep) which was amazing. There were some elements that would've made me absolutely love this book which is why this is super bittersweet. This book had a real opportunity to win me over : it has magic, multidimensional characters, great rep that I had never seen before (it's my fault 100%). But tha *ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review* This was such a disappointment. The story in itself wasn't bad. I liked the plot, the characters seemed cool and diverse (drag, trans and gay rep) which was amazing. There were some elements that would've made me absolutely love this book which is why this is super bittersweet. This book had a real opportunity to win me over : it has magic, multidimensional characters, great rep that I had never seen before (it's my fault 100%). But that's not how it turned out. The MC ruined the book for me. His behavior was so out-of-line and gross I could not get over it. If you want more details : (view spoiler)[ Sammy is gay and has a crush on Tom Swift, a trans boy who hides his testosterone hormones at Sammy's place. Sammy makes a move on Tom, gets rejected (Tom is straight) then GETS PISSED AT HIM (and basically asks himself why Tom couldn't "fake" it) AND THROWS HIS FUCKING TESTOSTERONE IN THE LAKE/RIVER/WHATEVER. Who even does that ? And then, Sammy justifies it to his friends who just seem to be okay with it ???? (hide spoiler)] We were never given answers to some question which pissed me off (view spoiler)[ What happened to Sam's mom ? Why did the communication with Persephone end so abruptly ? (hide spoiler)] The magic elements I thought were so interesting and I wanted to see more of it. Honestly, if it weren't for the actions of the MC, this book could've been a 3.5 or 4 stars. Brb being sad about this book. 💫Keep up with me on my blog! 💫

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Overall I expected more from this read. The author included a lot of important themes in this novel, which is something I usually appreciate, but in this case I'm not really sure he managed to pull off all the things he set out to do. I feel like Sam could have had the opportunity to be a good character who gets to experience what it means to grow up and also to learn from his mistakes, but I think that these aspects weren't fully developed, even though I believe it was the real intention of the Overall I expected more from this read. The author included a lot of important themes in this novel, which is something I usually appreciate, but in this case I'm not really sure he managed to pull off all the things he set out to do. I feel like Sam could have had the opportunity to be a good character who gets to experience what it means to grow up and also to learn from his mistakes, but I think that these aspects weren't fully developed, even though I believe it was the real intention of the author. Sam's behaviour towards Tom was just a big no for me. I didn't like their interactions because they often resulted in Sam being offensive and insensitive towards Tom. Moreover, there were some fantasy elements that I didn't see coming and that I didn't particularly feel like the story needed. The author's writing didn't really keep me glued to the pages of this novel. I just think there are definitely better books out there.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eliza Rapsodia

    E-ARC provided by Edelweiss+ in exchange of an honest review This book caught my attention because of its title and cover and I started to read it without having much idea of what it was about, but I am so glad I did. The Weywards have lived under a curse for years: if a family member falls in love before the age of seventeen, the loved one dies. Sam Weyward lives in a small town in New York with his father, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. The Grands play cards, eat a l E-ARC provided by Edelweiss+ in exchange of an honest review This book caught my attention because of its title and cover and I started to read it without having much idea of what it was about, but I am so glad I did. The Weywards have lived under a curse for years: if a family member falls in love before the age of seventeen, the loved one dies. Sam Weyward lives in a small town in New York with his father, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. The Grands play cards, eat a lot of pie and strongly believe in magic. Sam divides his time between working at the ice cream shop with his father and at night at the Shangri-La, the only gay bar in town. He just started experimenting with drag with the help of Lola, Farrah and Paloma, the queens of the bar. But Sam's summer changes when Tom arrives in town, a really handsome boy that he has an instant crush on. But there's the curse issue and what Sam must do to avoid it. Love and other curses is a novel that has several plots that are developed at the same time and they all meet with Sam: his crush on Tom, how to avoid the curse of his family, his friendship with the drag queens at the Shangri-La and the mystery of the person he is talking to on the phone, someone he calls "Linda". It seems complicated to follow but it is not, they all flow very well thought the whole novel. It's a story about growth and acceptance, since Sam is at a point in his life that he is defining what he wants to do with his life post-highschool and getting to know his drag personality. At the same time it is a story about family, since the Weyward family is quite atypical: Sam lives without his mother since she left him as a child and only left him a collection of longplays. He was raised by a father who did not marry again and three very special grandmothers. All of them have lost their loved ones therefore they believe that curse is still alive and will affect Sam in the future. Music is very important here and I loved it because just like Sam's father, I love classic rock and the music that Sam listens to because of his mother is really great too (I'll have to reread the book and write all the songs and records names). The whole issue about diversity is present in this book and I think is well represented (in my opinion). Sam is gay and his family accepts him, drag culture as an artistic manifestation that is part of the LGBTQ + community is present and it is really nice to see it. The novel shows that as people we make mistakes, and how we understand what we are, what we like and how we refer to others (I can not talk more because spoilers) but I think it shows the process we all go through. I loved the characters, they all have had moments to establish a relationship with Sam and are not just mere shadows in the background. The writing style is nice and engaging and I think it is quite easy to read. I think the whole matter of the curse and the magical realism that is present in the story gives it a special touch and you can truly believe it. I liked the ending as well. In conclusion, I really liked Love and other curses. I think it's a fun, entertaining novel that you can reread to experience again everything it has to offer. I loved the inclusion of music, magical realism and drag queens. Who doesn't love them? ******************* RESEÑA EN ESPAÑOL Este es uno de esos libros que me llamó la atención por su título y su portada, y lo pedí para leerlo en Edelweiss pro esa razón, sin tener mucha idea de qué se trataba. Recuerdo que leí muy brevemente la sinopsis y me convenció de leerlo. La familia Weyward sufre de una maldición desde hace décadas: si un miembro de la familia se enamora antes de los diecisiete años, la persona amada muere. Sam Weyward vive en un pueblecito pequeño de Nueva York con su padre, su abuela, su bisabuela y su tatarabuela. Las abuelas juegan a las cartas, comen mucho pastel y creen firmemente en la magia.   Sam divide su tiempo entre trabajar en la tienda de helados con su padre y en las noches en Shangri-La, el unico bar gay del pueblo experimentando con el drag con ayuda de Lola, Farrah y Paloma, las queens que trabajan allí. Pero el verano de Sam cambia cuando Tom llega al pueblo, un chico muy guapo que llama su atención. Pero está presente el asunto de la maldición y lo que debe hacer para evitar que haga daño a sus series queridos. Love and other curses es una novela que tiene varias tramas que se van desarrollando a la par y se concentran en nuestro protagonista llamado Sam: su interés amoroso por Tom, como esquivar la maldición de su familia, su amistad con las drag queens del Shangri-La y el misterio de la persona con la que está hablando por teléfono, alguien a quien el llama "Linda". Parece complicado de seguir pero no lo es, y a que todas van fluyendo y la historia no se ve afectada por ello.  Diría que esta novela es una historia de crecimiento y aceptación, ya que Sam está en un punto de su vida que está conociéndose más como persona, definiendo qué quiere hacer cuando empiece su último año de colegio y conociendo su personalidad drag. Al mismo tiempo es una historia sobre la familia, ya que la familia Weyward es bastante atípica: Sam vive sin su madre ya que lo abandonó cuando era niño y solo le dejó una colección de discos, así que fue criado por un padre que no se volvió a casar y tres abuelas muy especiales. T odos han perdido a sus parejas y por eso creen que maldición sigue viva y afectará a Sam en el futuro. La música en esta historia es muy importante y y es algo que me ha encantado y me ha llegado, ya que como el padre de Sam me encanta el rock clásico y la música que Sam escucha por su madre pienso escucharla en el futuro (tendré que releer el libro y escribir todos los títulos de discos y de canciones). Todo el asunto de la diversidad está presente en este libro y creo que en el libro está bien representado (desde mi opinión). Sam es gay y su familia lo acepta, el drag que es una manifestación artísitica que hace parte de la comunidad LGBTQ+ y realmente es bueno verlo en un libro juvenil. La novela muestra que como personas cometemos errores alrededor del asunto de la sexualidad y como entendemos lo que sentimos y como nos referimos a otros (no puedo ampliar por spoilers) pero creo que muestra de una buena forma como alguien va descubriendo su identidad. Los personajes me han encantado, todos han tenido momentos para establecer una relación con el protagonista y no han quedado como meras sombras correteadoras con nombre . La novela tienen una narración fluida y amena y creo que es bastante fácil de leer y engancharte con él. Creo que todo el asunto de la maldición y el realismo mágico que está presente en la historia le da un toque especial y puedes creerte todo lo que muestra. La novela tienen una resolución buena y creo que te deja bastante satisfecho.  En conclusión, Love and other curses me ha gustado mucho. Creo que es una novela amena, entretenida y que puedes releer para volver a experimentarla. Me ha encantado la inclusión de la música, el realismo mágico y las drag queens ¿Quien no las ama? Cuanto se publique en inglés, corran a leerla.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anita Delp

    I love this book! Written in a comfortable style with some familiar movements and themes, it is easy to read without thinking too hard about what is actually happening. However, if you really, really read it the colors are blindingly vivid! So many issues are touched on without digging too deeply. There is something to be learned by everyone who peeks between the covers. Sam's family knows he is gay. While they don't actively object, and they obviously love him and support him, they don't seem t I love this book! Written in a comfortable style with some familiar movements and themes, it is easy to read without thinking too hard about what is actually happening. However, if you really, really read it the colors are blindingly vivid! So many issues are touched on without digging too deeply. There is something to be learned by everyone who peeks between the covers. Sam's family knows he is gay. While they don't actively object, and they obviously love him and support him, they don't seem to really get him. He finds solace and community at the local gay bar where he finds an interest in drag. I like the way gender/pronouns are addressed. We learn along with Sam how deal with pronouns. Sam often forgets whether to use "he" or "she" when addressing some of the ladies in drag, but we are reminded along with him that a person's gender can be fluid, and that we should listen to the individual on the matter rather than making our own judgement. In contrast to Sam, Tom Swift comes to town for the summer, and we soon learn that Tom has a serious struggle to deal with. The author takes us by the hand and guides us in understanding that even though Tom was born with a girl's body, he identifies as a boy, and likes girls. This doesn't make him a homosexual girl, but a straight transboy. The trauma for Tom is that his parents not only do not support his identity, but they refuse to accept who he is and force him to be the girl they want him to be. We are left to imagine the pain that Tom must be suffering through and he endures the remaining years of his adolescence. We can only hope that he finds freedom once he escapes into adulthood. Music is a huge part of this book. I need a soundtrack. Lots of great classic songs are referenced as well as some amazing original lyrics. Wrongskin in particular got under my skin and I found myself searching for a tune to sing it to so I could keep it with me. There are so many rich characters in this book! I would love to know more about each and every one of them. There certainly needs to be a follow-up on Paloma and Farrah, as well as a back story on Lola. These are the drag queens who took Sam under their wings. I'm sure there is an entire book to be written on the lives of Sam's parents, grand parents and great-grand parents. I need to know more about Linda, the ghost Sam accidentally calls on the phone and Linda's mother who Sam first encounters in a dream. I don't know if I can go on living if I don't know what happens to Tom after he leaves town at the end of summer to go to his new school. And Millard Fillmore just needs to come home with me. That's all. Just trust me, you need to read it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    3.5 This is less of a love story and more of a finding yourself story. I was drawn into this book because it's description vaguely reminded me of The Raven Cycle with the love curse. I was surprised to actually see TRC mentioned in the book. This book wasn't what I was expecting, but it wasn't bad. I enjoyed the story. I liked it more at the end than I did throughout. I was kind of worried about where it was headed with the potential love interest for a while. Their relationship didn't seem exact 3.5 This is less of a love story and more of a finding yourself story. I was drawn into this book because it's description vaguely reminded me of The Raven Cycle with the love curse. I was surprised to actually see TRC mentioned in the book. This book wasn't what I was expecting, but it wasn't bad. I enjoyed the story. I liked it more at the end than I did throughout. I was kind of worried about where it was headed with the potential love interest for a while. Their relationship didn't seem exactly healthy. I'm still working my feelings out completely on the book, but I would say I did enjoy it and it was worth the read,

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dahlia

    There's a lot about this book I enjoyed, especially the main character's family - both biological and found - and I read the whole thing on a flight, which definitely says a lot for its readability. But it definitely comes with a warning that it's a hotbed of misgendering (pretty much always checked on the page, but also at a point you're just like "What the fuck" because it feels like the MC is completely unwilling to commit shit that really matters to the people he loves to memory) and deadnam There's a lot about this book I enjoyed, especially the main character's family - both biological and found - and I read the whole thing on a flight, which definitely says a lot for its readability. But it definitely comes with a warning that it's a hotbed of misgendering (pretty much always checked on the page, but also at a point you're just like "What the fuck" because it feels like the MC is completely unwilling to commit shit that really matters to the people he loves to memory) and deadnaming. I think it's an honest and realistic perspective of a cis gay kid who's struggling to understand both what being trans is like for someone and his attraction to someone who is, but it sort of uses that to help him find his way in the drag world and turns the trans character into a tool for his own self-discovery, all while making him forgive shit he definitely would not in real life. I think a good sign of how you feel about this book will probably be how you felt about Looking for Group by Rory Harrison, but I would be much less likely to give this one to trans readers. (In that I...would not, under any circumstances.) cw (in addition to deadnaming and misgendering): (view spoiler)[self-harm (hide spoiler)]

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tasya Dita

    I received an e-arc of this book from Edelweiss plus in exchange for an honest review While Love & Other Curses has so many fun things going on with the sassy grandmas and drag queens all around, this book doesn’t shy around from heavy topics such as death, gender and sexuality, as well as being trans and having a drag self. I can’t say how accurate this book is in terms of representation, but I feel like this book gives me some insight and more understanding on the issue. Through this discussion I received an e-arc of this book from Edelweiss plus in exchange for an honest review While Love & Other Curses has so many fun things going on with the sassy grandmas and drag queens all around, this book doesn’t shy around from heavy topics such as death, gender and sexuality, as well as being trans and having a drag self. I can’t say how accurate this book is in terms of representation, but I feel like this book gives me some insight and more understanding on the issue. Through this discussion, we explore the issue as Sam learns it and eventually, it becomes more of a book about finding and accepting yourself, as well as others. This book also has their bit of magic here and there, from the Weyward curse, the Grands quirky magic, to other coincidences. It’s definitely a summer full of magic for Sam, both real and not real, and I definitely try to read more from the author! Full review is posted on THE LITERARY HUNTRESS

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    This summer is going to be an imortant one for Sammy Weyward, who lives in northern New York state. It is the summer before his senior year, and it wall also include his 17th birthday. While that would be great for most people, but for Sammy and his family, it is particuarly important. They seem to have a familly curse... if anyone in the family falls in love before they turn 17, the person they love will die. That was true for his grand mother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother. An This summer is going to be an imortant one for Sammy Weyward, who lives in northern New York state. It is the summer before his senior year, and it wall also include his 17th birthday. While that would be great for most people, but for Sammy and his family, it is particuarly important. They seem to have a familly curse... if anyone in the family falls in love before they turn 17, the person they love will die. That was true for his grand mother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother. And with his parents, his mother disappeared right after he was born, and Sammy believes that she has also died. Sammy is gay and out. His family has fully accepted him, and he has (secretly) connected with the owner and drag queens of a nearby gay club, the Shangri-La. In fact, Sammy is trying out the posssibility of doing drag himself. He is just not really sure what direction he wants his drag identity to go in. In the mean time, he will keep working at the Eezy-Freeze, a local ice creamery and restaurant owned by his dad. Things take a surprising turn when Sammy meets Tom Swift, who has come to town with his parents to spend the summer with his grandparents. Sammy quickly develops a friendship and a crush on Tom, which leads to some person confusion when he learns more about Tom and his own developing identity. Sammy has a very supportive mulit-generational family and great drag family who are all there for him, but the uniqueness of all of his challenges makes it difficult to talk with those who nows. When a game of making random calls late at night to ask the person on the other end to tell him a story, Sammy connects with a mysterious girl who seems to be willing to be his real confident as he is confronted with the curse, his confusing "love" life, and ironing out what to do about a drag identity. I have been a fan of Fords for many, many years. I have loved his novels for adults, which are largely filled with gay characters and often are set in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He has an amazing flair with constructing characters with incredible depth and realism that causes the reader to really become invested. He has continued that into his novels for teens. This novel is his second journey into this arena after Suicide Notes. While his protagonists are younger in this novels, they are just as rich and complex as thos found in his books for adults. These are really quite amazing page-turners. The blending into the story of the supernatural with curses, spirates, and fortunetelling adds a really interesting twist. I couldn't put the book down and read it in 5 hours straight.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenni Frencham

    Ford, Michael Thomas. Love & Other Curses. HarperCollins, 2019. Sam's family is under a curse. Every person in his family who falls in love before the age of 17 sees their loved one die. This has happened as far back as anyone in the family can remember. So of course Sam is trying to do everything to stay away from romance for at least a few more weeks. This shouldn't be a problem for the openly gay teen in a small coastal tourist town, until Tom comes into town. And with Tom comes a boatload of Ford, Michael Thomas. Love & Other Curses. HarperCollins, 2019. Sam's family is under a curse. Every person in his family who falls in love before the age of 17 sees their loved one die. This has happened as far back as anyone in the family can remember. So of course Sam is trying to do everything to stay away from romance for at least a few more weeks. This shouldn't be a problem for the openly gay teen in a small coastal tourist town, until Tom comes into town. And with Tom comes a boatload of trouble for Sam. There's a lot to unpack in this story. There is the idea of a generational curse, similar to that in Louis Sachar's Holes, along with Sam's family's belief in the supernatural. Additionally, Sam has been sneaking out to spend time at a gay bar (which he isn't legally old enough to do), and while there he spends most of his time backstage assisting the drag queens. On top of all of that, Sam finds out that Tom is transgender and Tom's family is not supportive, deadnaming him and using female pronouns in reference to him. Furthermore, Tom is straight, so even though Sam is attracted to him, it isn't reciprocated. The overall story arc is interesting enough. Sam's supportive family is a wonderful relief to read about in contrast to Tom's family. The issues Tom has with his family - wearing makeup and feminine clothing around them and hearing them say that obviously he would like those things now that he's tried them, them making references to his need to grow his hair out and allowing him to spend time with Sam under the guise that they are dating - ring true as I am married to a transgender man and witnessed these very types of things when we were dating. Sam's inability to use consistent pronouns with the drag queens is irritating beyond belief, especially once he is informed that female pronouns are always okay, but male pronouns are only okay when a queen is out of drag. That, combined, with Sam's consistent use of male pronouns for Tom make things weird when he's around the queens and changes pronouns mid-thought or mid-sentence. This is one of those sad books about transgender teens who don't get support at home, and Tom does not get his happily ever after ending, and indeed falls prey to the "transgender person must harm themselves or be attacked or something" plot line that is so overused. Apart from these flaws, the story is a good one. Recommended for: teens Red Flags: misgendering and deadnaming of Tom and the drag queens, drug use and alcohol use, Tom and Sam fight and through homophobic and transphobic slurs at each other. Overall Rating: 4/5 stars Read-Alikes: Holes, Drag Teen, What If It's Us I received a complimentary copy of this book through Edelweiss for the purpose of review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Diverse Reads

    Resources: • An early review outlines how the protagonist misuses pronouns for drag queens, even after being informed, and how a transgender character is deadnamed and misgendered by their transmisic parents. Resources: • An early review outlines how the protagonist misuses pronouns for drag queens, even after being informed, and how a transgender character is deadnamed and misgendered by their transmisic parents.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I really loved this book. There was a lot to it, with many important relationships in Sam's life. There were plenty of plot twists, mistakes, and interesting revelations along the way to keep the pages turning. I am a fan of Michael Thomas Ford, and this one was very riveting. I really loved this book. There was a lot to it, with many important relationships in Sam's life. There were plenty of plot twists, mistakes, and interesting revelations along the way to keep the pages turning. I am a fan of Michael Thomas Ford, and this one was very riveting.

  14. 4 out of 5

    A.M. Johnson

    I adored this book. Every Second!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Roger Hyttinen

    This follows Sam Wayward, an almost 17-year-old gay boy who's anxiously awaiting his 17th birthday, which is 9 days away. Because you see, Sam's family has been cursed for generations. If a Wayward falls in love before his or her 17th birthday, the person they love dies. It's worth mentioning that is family is kind of magical — we have several scenes with his Grands — is grandmother, great-grandmother and his great-great-grandmother performing magic and making predictions. Now Sam isn't too worri This follows Sam Wayward, an almost 17-year-old gay boy who's anxiously awaiting his 17th birthday, which is 9 days away. Because you see, Sam's family has been cursed for generations. If a Wayward falls in love before his or her 17th birthday, the person they love dies. It's worth mentioning that is family is kind of magical — we have several scenes with his Grands — is grandmother, great-grandmother and his great-great-grandmother performing magic and making predictions. Now Sam isn't too worried about the curse because he has no intention of falling in love. He spends his time working with his dad at their Eezy-Freeze stand serving up burgers and ice cream to the tourists and sneaking out to spend time with the drag queens at the Shangri-La — Lola the owner, Farrah and Paloma — and experimenting with drag a bit himself. The queens have kind of taken him in and they have become sort of a second family for Sam. So when a cute new guy named Tom Swift shows up at the food stand and Sam strikes up a friendship with him, disaster could result. The curse in the meantime has gotten more powerful and isn't quite so particular who it's targeting so Sam's in a race against the clock to prevent the curse from harming anyone else who's close to him. I enjoyed the manner in which gender and gender pronouns are addressed. The queens at the club explain to Sam when to use "he" or "she" when addressing the men in drag and Sam is corrected when using the wrong pronoun in the wrong situation. This comes up again with the Trans character in the book in which Sam learns that when referring to a trans person or someone whose gender is fluid, it's always important to refer to them according to the wishes of the individual. There are a few times when Sam deadnames and misgenders the trans character, calling him by his birth name and birth gender, just to be cruel which kind of bothered me, though I do believe it was placed in the book to show how hurtful ignoring the wishes of the individual can be. That being said, I found Sam to be both likable and unlikeable. There is no doubt that he can be a dick when he wants to. Same goes for Sam's love interesting. Both of them were prone to rage and expressed their anger and hurt by viciously hurting the other. I suppose it can be said that given that this is sort of a coming of age novel, learning how our words can hurt others is part of growing up and I think Sam learned some important lessons here. So in this way, I think Sam learns a lot about himself through his relationship with others, including his Grands, Lola and the other queens at the club, his father and Tom. My one major niggle with the book was the trans characters. He felt to me as though he could have definitely done with some further character development. He was kind of dull in this story and was more or less completely defined by being trans. That is to say, the novel focused heavily on the character's transitions, his genre and sex organs, rather than his personality, likes, dislikes and such. This character could have had a lot more potential if the author had taken the time to portray him more in depth and in a more complex manner. I did like the fact that Sam experiments with cross-dressing and immerses himself into the drag scene. As he explored this side of him, I enjoyed him learning all about drag culture and the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation both of which were huge themes in this novel. The novel dealt with the idea of who we are as individual vs what society expects us to be and how many of us try to fit into a mold that's not right for us. So all in all, I enjoyed this book about a young man coming to terms with who he is and how he fits into his larger community. And regarding the Wayward curse? Well, I got the impression here that the book was more about allowing something or someone to have power over us, just as the curse had power over the family members. Was the curse real or was it all coincidence? That's pretty much up to the reader to decide. Though the supernatural aspect of Sam's family does pour into his own life in interesting ways, such as his midsummer dreams and his telephone conversations with a mysterious person. And as for the book, it was laugh-out-loud funny in some places and super-serious and heart wrenching in others, and with the exception of the trans characters, most of the characters in the book were well drawn. I especially loved Sam's incredible relationship with his father and the quirky Grands. It was refreshing to see healthy family relationships as often in YA literature, they are either minimized or non-existent. But yeah, I enjoyed this book and feel that it's definitely worth a read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    This is hard to review, mostly because as a cisgender straight female, I don't think I have the experience or the knowledge to determine whether the aspects I found to be problematic are, indeed, problematic. As such, I'm going to go over my problems with the narrative and ONLY the narrative. This includes story, characters, pacing, and writing. I'm not going to discuss trans or gay topics because, and I cannot stress this enough, I have no personal experience (aside from having gay friends) and This is hard to review, mostly because as a cisgender straight female, I don't think I have the experience or the knowledge to determine whether the aspects I found to be problematic are, indeed, problematic. As such, I'm going to go over my problems with the narrative and ONLY the narrative. This includes story, characters, pacing, and writing. I'm not going to discuss trans or gay topics because, and I cannot stress this enough, I have no personal experience (aside from having gay friends) and have no other queer knowledge aside from what I've read on the internet and I don't think I have to tell you why that hardly counts. So, with that disclaimer out of the way, let's get down to business with this obvious statement: I didn't like this book. The story was intriguing and I did enjoy this premise, but HOLY SHIT did it go off the rails towards the end. The ending chapter kind of brought it back together, but DAMN the amount of drama and magical realism bullshit made it hard to take this story seriously. I think the author bit off way more than he could chew and it definitely shows in the final third of the book. The pacing was honestly the best part of this story, making it a fast read. I think the other big issue I had with the story was that there were way too many subplots going on, and some of those subplots only showed up to create more drama. AND OH MY GOSH, THE DRAMA. Anyone who has read my reviews knows that I love me some good drama, but this was WAY TOO FUCKING MUCH. Between Sam's curse, his family, the Shangri-La, Tom Swift, and Linda, it was so fucking overwhelming to the point that I couldn't focus. It was like the author wanted all of these terrible things to happen at once to make Sam's life horrible, but really just one or two would have sufficed. On top of that, the main drama between Sam and Tom is removed with two "I'm sorry" moments, nice to see all that build up resolved SO FUCKING EASILY. As for the characters, Sam was fine in the beginning but he kind of grated on my nerves after awhile. Tom I had major issues with, but I won't discuss them due to my aforementioned disclaimer. Everyone else was okay, but I don't think I'm going to remember any of them once I finish this review. The writing was fine, I guess, it was easy to understand and some of the dialogue was fun. That's about it, though. I don't like giving this book such a low rating, but I have to be honest with myself. While the diversity was refreshing, the story tanked towards the last third, the characters rubbed me the wrong way, and the drama was too overwhelming. I don't recommend this book, but if you want to give it a chance be my guest.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lex Adams

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. There was a lot I liked about this book. I liked the representation. I liked so many of the tropes: dead moms who leave music behind, found families, matriarchal magic families, ghosts. I thought the dad was a really cool character. I guess I really liked everything but the main story. Sam and Tom ruined the book for me. The way they treated each other was terrible throughout the book and then having them make up at the end, despite the horrible things they had both said and done, just... didn’t There was a lot I liked about this book. I liked the representation. I liked so many of the tropes: dead moms who leave music behind, found families, matriarchal magic families, ghosts. I thought the dad was a really cool character. I guess I really liked everything but the main story. Sam and Tom ruined the book for me. The way they treated each other was terrible throughout the book and then having them make up at the end, despite the horrible things they had both said and done, just... didn’t resonate with me. Also there were parts of this book that just...made me uncomfortable. I’m not trans and therefore don’t have the ultimate say on stories involving trans characters but I really don’t feel like this was handled very well. I remembered reading Suicide Notes by this author and feeling the same way, uncomfortable at parts even though I really wanted to like it. If they had cut the “romance” aspect and storyline from the book entirely I think I would have really enjoyed it, but even ignoring that there are some parts I’m just...confused about. At the end, when even Tom’s girlfriend when told that his parents were cutting off all contact, sending him to conversion therapy and an all girls catholic school was like “it’s okay he’s strong uwu” I was so confused. He might be strong. He’s also a teenage boy being abused by his family and the system. They wrote that off way too easy for me. There was also the part where Sam tells his dad about the suicide note from his mom, and his dad writes it off and says his mom is definitely alive. Then how did she survive the curse? Sam’s dad said it’s because he didn’t really love her, but later is shown to have been so upset over losing her he drinks himself sick. Also, where is she? Why did she leave a suicide note if she was never intending to kill herself? What was the point of her storyline? It was all very confusing, and I didn’t understand what exactly the author was trying to imply or get at there. I am really sad this book let me down because, again, there’s so many tropes I really liked and I wanted those to be worth it to me. Sadly, it really wasn’t.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karyl

    I am going to preface this review with letting you know I am a cisgendered bisexual woman. I’ve read other reviews of this book that bring up how various things are problematic, and I will defer to the greater wisdom of those reviewers who are part of a world that I am not. That said, I think this book is mis-categorized in my library system. It has a Romance sticker on it, and it’s definitely not a romance. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sam’s new friend Tom Swift is actually a trans b I am going to preface this review with letting you know I am a cisgendered bisexual woman. I’ve read other reviews of this book that bring up how various things are problematic, and I will defer to the greater wisdom of those reviewers who are part of a world that I am not. That said, I think this book is mis-categorized in my library system. It has a Romance sticker on it, and it’s definitely not a romance. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sam’s new friend Tom Swift is actually a trans boy. It’s disheartening to know that there are still so many peoples out in the world, like Tom’s parents, who refuse to admit that their son is trapped in a body that doesn’t match who he truly is, and it makes my heart hurt for all of the gay and trans kids that don’t have the love and support of their own families. While I loved the character of Sam, and how he’s navigating his world as a gay boy who also enjoys drag, as well as his family of magic-wielding and multi-generational grandmothers, I was disappointed in some of the other characters. I would like to have heard from Tom about why he likes Anna-Lynn so much, since the boys discussed many other deep topics. But simply the fact that she’s a girl doesn’t seem enough to build a relationship on, even if it’s just a summer fling. I also would have liked to have more scenes with Sam’s drag sisters as well, as they initiate him into that world. There’s a lot of deep subject matter in this book, and I could see how it would be important for young people to read a book about a gay boy and his trans friend. The author also stresses that this book isn’t meant as a one-size-fits-all trans experience, that every trans person has their own unique experience.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This took me so long to read, holy cow. I was really intrigued by the description of the book when I found it in the library so I decided to give it a shot. The story is about Sam and how he's dealing with a curse that has haunted his family for generations. There was never really any closure about the curse which was a bummer, and we get no closure on Tom Swift. I really wanted to know more about Tom Swift, why he fell in love with Anna-Lynn, what made him who he was. The story really dragged f This took me so long to read, holy cow. I was really intrigued by the description of the book when I found it in the library so I decided to give it a shot. The story is about Sam and how he's dealing with a curse that has haunted his family for generations. There was never really any closure about the curse which was a bummer, and we get no closure on Tom Swift. I really wanted to know more about Tom Swift, why he fell in love with Anna-Lynn, what made him who he was. The story really dragged for me at the beginning and I think I went a week without actually reading the book until I went camping this past weekend and got back into it. The execution of the story was lacking, and there wasn't enough magic. Oh well. On to the next book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lea Setegn

    Magical realism, beautifully done. There were a couple of slow spots but it’s worth pushing through them. And I love the Maggie Stiefvater namecheck!

  21. 5 out of 5

    CJ Connor

    This book! Features an unrequited crush! Between a gay cis man and a straight trans man! Can you tell how excited I am for this?? Even though it's not quite romance, it's still important representation. I'm still waiting for the day the YA romance between a cis and trans guy will come out like my teenage self always wanted but baby steps. Love & Other Curses also discusses drag culture and the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation. This is something I mentioned earlier, but I This book! Features an unrequited crush! Between a gay cis man and a straight trans man! Can you tell how excited I am for this?? Even though it's not quite romance, it's still important representation. I'm still waiting for the day the YA romance between a cis and trans guy will come out like my teenage self always wanted but baby steps. Love & Other Curses also discusses drag culture and the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation. This is something I mentioned earlier, but I appreciated the trans representation in this book! AFAB guys especially don't get much attention in gay romance books. I can think of a lot of YA fiction I've read where the trans guy expresses unrequited love but never one where he (or any other trans character, for that matter) is on the receiving end of it. It might not seem like much and maybe I'm just over-analyzing things, but this felt like a big step towards normalizing attraction between cis and trans characters. And while Sam experiments with crossdressing and dives deep into the drag scene, he does so while remaining respectful of trans characters and noting a difference between the two– all simple but important things that really drive the novel's nuance in portraying queer culture. The writing style also felt natural and conversational, like reading someone's journal entry recollecting a summer that they're still reeling from. Plus, the heavy musical themes almost give this book a built-in soundtrack, which was both fun and gave it a strong sense of presence. Out of all the new YA books releasing next year, should you read Love & Other Curses? Well, let me ask you the following questions: –Do you like your queer romance novels with unexpected twists and unrequited love and/or sudden death? –Are you excited about the aesthetic of family curses, drag nights at local LGBTQ bars, and mischievous magic? –Do you regularly say the phrase, "I wish YA authors were writing trans characters with more complexity"? If the answer to any or all of the above is a resounding "yes," this might just be one of your most anticipated YA books for 2019! Note: I was provided an ARC in exchange for a fair review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Thamy

    Different and daring, but only to a point. I've rounded it down to 3, but it's more like a 3+. Sam has been helping at the local gay club while he still hasn't found his drag self. When summer comes, it also brings Tom Swift, a trans boy who still couldn't fully transition, since his family doesn't support him. Even though Tom is straight, that doesn't stop Sam from developing a crush, and things only get messier because of a decades-old curse afflicting his superstitious family. According to it, Different and daring, but only to a point. I've rounded it down to 3, but it's more like a 3+. Sam has been helping at the local gay club while he still hasn't found his drag self. When summer comes, it also brings Tom Swift, a trans boy who still couldn't fully transition, since his family doesn't support him. Even though Tom is straight, that doesn't stop Sam from developing a crush, and things only get messier because of a decades-old curse afflicting his superstitious family. According to it, a Weyward who survives their 17th birthday will lose the one they love. As you can see, the book mixes various things but for most of it it was very interesting. The style is refreshing and the situation is definitely different for me, without being too much. And we have to give it to the Weywards, they're such a fun family to read about I'd love to have more stories with them. Above all, reading about transsexuals, drag queens, and not simply about coming out is a novelty when it comes YA, especially since this is no indies publisher. But the story loses itself at some point. It drags a little too, but I think the problem is how it feels like the plot went all over the place.It's not that I wanted more about Tom Swift, he was probably the most normal part of the story, though the two boys' relationship was also the best part. But the talks over the phone were random from the beginning and yet they ended up the focus by the end. Despite the gradual decline, this was a great experience. I'm a little iffy about reccing it to people outside the usual target reader but it was a pleasure to read the story nonetheless. If you're curious about YA LGBT reads, it's not everyday you'll find one not revolving around coming out. Honest review based on an ARC provided by Edelweiss. Many thanks to the publisher for this opportunity.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    This was a really interesting read - the representation was incredible, but I will say it was a bit transphobic, with Sam using incorrect pronouns numerous times which I could understand if he learned his lesson the first time, but it’s something he continued to do, which was disappointing. I hope this maybe gets fixed before the book comes out next year. The magical aspect I loved, I loved Sam most of the time, but he could be fairly vicious and there was a particular exchange with Tom that left This was a really interesting read - the representation was incredible, but I will say it was a bit transphobic, with Sam using incorrect pronouns numerous times which I could understand if he learned his lesson the first time, but it’s something he continued to do, which was disappointing. I hope this maybe gets fixed before the book comes out next year. The magical aspect I loved, I loved Sam most of the time, but he could be fairly vicious and there was a particular exchange with Tom that left me reeling - they both were vicious. I loved Sam’s dad, the Grands, Millard Fillmore, so there was a lot to like about this book but the transphobia lets it down so much.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I have inadvertently continued a theme with my reading for Pride Month, as this is yet another fantastic LGBT YA title. Though certain parts of it made me a tad bit uncomfortable (mostly the sexual stuff, which I hate reading while in public), I really enjoyed the premise, characters, and overall subject matter of the novel. Like Starworld, this book tackles many issues at once, but I believe they're important issues that teens need to see represented honestly in fiction. Love and Other Curses fo I have inadvertently continued a theme with my reading for Pride Month, as this is yet another fantastic LGBT YA title. Though certain parts of it made me a tad bit uncomfortable (mostly the sexual stuff, which I hate reading while in public), I really enjoyed the premise, characters, and overall subject matter of the novel. Like Starworld, this book tackles many issues at once, but I believe they're important issues that teens need to see represented honestly in fiction. Love and Other Curses follows the story of sixteen year old Sam Weyward, whose family has lived with a terrible secret ever since his great great grandmother was cursed by her former best friend. The Weyward Curse doesn't affect the Weyward family directly, but rather the people they love, killing Sam's great great grandfather, great grandfather, and grandfather, as well as sending his mother away when he was too young to remember her. However, if Sam can make it to his seventeeth birthday without falling in love, the family will be free from the curse forever. Sam, who spends his days working at his father's restaurant and his nights spending time with the drag queens at Shangri La (a local gay bar), hasn't quite figured out who he wants to be yet, but he knows he wants to escape his family curse. With just one week left, Sam meets a new boy named Tom Swift with his own set of problems, and the two strike up a friendship that might just inspire Sam to find an end to the curse once and for all. I absolutely loved the sheer amount of representation in this book, from the drag queens who were all at different stages in their lives, to Sam's questioning, to Tom's transition from female to male. From the Author's Note at the end of the novel, it seems that Michael Thomas Ford himself is part of the LGBT community, and he references many of the things he and his trans friends have experienced to further authenticate the events of the story. As he explains, however, Tom and Sam's journey is only one journey, and isn't meant to be representative of every gay and transgender person in the world. I appreciated this little disclaimer, as it reminds those of us who are heterosexual and cisgender that there are many ways to experience being part of the LGBT community, and no one story can perfectly capture everyone's individual story. One thing about this book that made it a little uncomfortable for me, however, was the sexual content. While I fully support the frank and open discussion of sex in YA literature, it felt a little weird for me to be reading about two fictional teens exploring their sexuality while sitting at work or across the table from one of my parents. One such scene is the scene in which Sam surprises Tom with an artificial penis, wanting him to experience what it's like to both have one and use it for sexual stimulation. While it's likely meant to be a little awkward for the reader (the scene, after all, does not end well for Sam), I felt that this scene in particular was definitely meant for a teen reader instead of an adult, as I felt very creepy after reading it. I whole-heartedly applaud its inclusion in the book, however, as it's extremely important for teens (especially those in the LGBT community) to see sex represented in a healthy, positive, realistic way. If we take the taboo away from sex and instead focus on teaching teens about their bodies and natural urges, it will help prevent the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the relationship Sam had with both his family and the other drag queens at the Shangri La. This book features two very different families: one that is supportive and loving, and one that is toxic and unwelcoming. Sam's family is extremely open-minded, giving him the space to explore his sexuality and be himself. Tom's family, on the other hand, refuses to accept that he is transgender, referring to him as "she" and sticking him in a mental ward for what they believe to be a mental disorder. Tied into this is Sam's second family at the Shangri La, with the three drag queens (Paloma, Lola, and Farrah) reminding him that family doesn't always have to be blood-related. In fact, sometimes the closest families are the ones we choose, not the ones we were born into. This is an important message for LGBT youth to have, as not all of them have supportive families, and need to be reassured that there are people they can turn to if their blood relatives are less than accommodating to their identities. Along with being a really great work of realistic fiction, this novel also works in a great deal of magical realism, a genre that I absolutely love. Along with the curse, Sam spends his nights chatting with a mysterious girl over the phone named Linda, who he later finds out has been dead since the 1980s. In a weird twist of fate, he ends up meeting her mother and learning that her real name was Persephone, inspiring his drag name while helping the girl he's been talking to move on to the next plane. This was a really clever, really fun little twist, and I loved how it tied into the tiny bit of magic that Sam and the Grands performed near the beginning of the novel. Sam mentions having a dream about a mysterious woman who later turns out to be Persephone's mother, and this inadvertently helps him make peace with his family curse. Unlike most works of magical realism, however, this one is very down to earth and easy to read, which I think most teenagers will appreciate. Overall, my favorite thing about this book is that it has an extremely heartfelt and touching message. Though the book tackles a lot of issues (loss, transitioning, being LGBT in a small town, etc.), it's main message seems to be embracing who we are in a world that is sometimes messy, scary, and unforgiving. On page 310, Sam recalls Lola's wise words: "There are all kinds of drag. Sometimes it looks like wigs and makeup. Sometimes it's just a face someone shows you when they're afraid to show you their real one." This theme of hiding behind a mask or facade is present throughout the book, from Sam's father hiding his sadness to Tom having to hide who he is from his family. It even comes up again when Sam and his father are going to a Kiss concert, as Sam remarks that, for one night, everyone in the room can enjoy a shared experience without anyone knowing who's who. In the end, Sam is able to feel more comfortable in his own skin, and helps others do the same in return. There are many heart-warming moments in the book, from Lola's wise words and kind final deeds, to the fate that brings Sam and Persephone's mom together to heal them both. The complex, loving relationships between many of these characters is heartfelt, and Ford's excellent writing made me care for them all individually. Though sometimes Tom can act selfish and reckless, he's still incredibly sympathetic, and readers can easily empathize with the struggle he's going through. Also, it's simply realistic for a frustrated teenager to be a little selfish at times, and to say hurtful things without thinking first or meaning it, something that both Sam and Tom do at times throughout the novel. This adds a very human level to the characters, as they all have both flaws and redeeming qualities. I found myself wanting to know more about where their lives ended up when I turned the final page, which is always the mark of a great book. I honestly can't decide whether I liked this book or Starworld more, as both were exceptional works of YA fiction, due especially to their fabulous depiction of issues facing LGBT youth. Love and Other Curses, like Starworld, tackles many issues in a humorous, down to earth way, and is full of heart-melting and hopeful moments to keep the reader invested. Due to the sexual content, I would definitely recommend this to older teens, but it contains a wealth of healthy representation of consensual sex, masturbation, and frank discussions and questions about sex in relation to LGBT youth. It's a fairly easy and fast read, and full of enough humor to keep even picky or reluctant readers invested in the action. After reading this book, I'm definitely adding Michael Thomas Ford to my author radar, as I love his style and would love to read more of his work in the future.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    I’m not sure how to rate this book tbh. For me, what I Wanted was something lighter than what I got, and if all books could come with an ‘unrequited’ tag next to the romance that would be great, bc I pretty much never want to read an honest look at terrible teens navigating Feelings without that endgame payout. That being said, it had a great soundtrack, which counts for a lot for me (but I’d prefer not to depress myself for the playlist).

  26. 4 out of 5

    Wren Hawke

    3.5/ 5- I had this book on my radar for a few months and was SO excited to see it on the shelf! While the main plot line involving the Wayward curse and Sam was very well executed, I'm sad to say that Tom Swift's character was disappointing. It's fabulous to see a trans character as the main romance (woo representation!) but when you throw every kind of stereotype about trans folk into one character, it just feels bad and disingenuous. Its 2019, angsty and sad tropes about LGBTQ people need to st 3.5/ 5- I had this book on my radar for a few months and was SO excited to see it on the shelf! While the main plot line involving the Wayward curse and Sam was very well executed, I'm sad to say that Tom Swift's character was disappointing. It's fabulous to see a trans character as the main romance (woo representation!) but when you throw every kind of stereotype about trans folk into one character, it just feels bad and disingenuous. Its 2019, angsty and sad tropes about LGBTQ people need to stop. While discussing this book with a fellow coworker, they mentioned there's a test similar to the Bechdel test called the Russo test: Does the media have a LGBTQ character? Are they defined by their gender/sexuality and nothing more? Is the character connected to the plot so much so that to remove them would have a significant effect on the story? When considering this, the book gets 2/3 on the test. Tom Swifts character is extremely focused on his gender, genitalia, and transitioning to the point were we know almost nothing else about him, other than he likes nerdy stuff due to his clothing choices. He is not the only queer character, Sam the MC is gay and his character is not defined by his sexuality, so Ford gets one point there. But I feel (and I hate to say it) that Tom Swifts character could have easily been replaced with another straight boy and the story wouldn't suffer because of it. I really wanted Tom Swift to have more substance to him, he's the main love interest! But all I know is that he's trans, likes doctor who, (tw for spoilers) (view spoiler)[ has a very transphobic family who doesn't support him, and self harms as a way to deal. (hide spoiler)] This last bit is so unnecessary, its almost a throwaway plot line and is SO not needed or at least could have been dealt with much better. If you want to have a small plot line about mental health, dedicate more than one page to it, otherwise it looks like you're using mental illness for dramatic effect, which feels really gross. Not to mention Tom's summer fling, a girl named Anna-Lynn, is nothing more than a plot point. We don't get any info about her other than how Tom feels while kissing her. With that out of the way, I genuinely, truly loved the main story arc around Sam and his family's curse. Its fascinating, his family dynamic is so fun and wholesome, and how he grows into himself and finds his drag persona? FABULOUS! I wish the rest of the book had the same feel to it as the main plot line, it would have made it a 5/5 for me rather than 3.5/5. Sam's been living under the threat of this curse his entire life, and trying to figure who he is as a person. He has a fabulous group of drag queens to support him in his sexuality and gender who really lift him up and are there for him through everything. He's out to his dad, though he doesn't know about Sam doing drag, and his grandmothers are all supportive of him. Speaking of grandmothers, THEY ARE SO QUIRKY AND FUN! Modern witches who believe in magic and curses and can predict things like how bingo is going to go by how many ants are in the sugar bowl in the morning. The supernatural of his family bleed into Sams own life in interesting ways, through midsummer dreams and through the interactions with strangers on the phone. The phone call subplot is honestly one of my favourite things about this book, how the caller helps Sam talk through his drama with Tom Swift and how they help him to sort out his feelings around his mother and sense of self. The sense of belonging Sam finds with the other drag queens at the local gay bar is uplifting and encouraging, I love seeing a gay character have a wholesome support network like this while also celebrating queer love and culture. All in all, this book was an interesting read. I went in skeptical due to a review on here and while I will say I'm disappointed about how Ford handled Tom Swifts character, the positives of Sam and the main story still made this an enjoyable book for me. Will I recommend it to everyone? No, but I do now that there is a good group of YA readers who will really love this book. The same reviewer I mentioned before said it perfectly I think: this is a book about a gay and trans person, written for cis-people. The parts that are enjoyable are really, really enjoyable, but parts are yikes are really YIKES, so go in with some caution. Trigger/content warnings: transphobia, misgendering, outing of a character, self harm, drug/ alcohol use, discussions of death and loss, discussions of overdosing (very brief), and an instance of homophobic slurs.

  27. 5 out of 5

    OneMamaReads

    4.5 Stars **** Sam Weyward lives in a small "summer" town with his three Grands (grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother) and his father. They all live with a curse, placed on the family by a broken hearted best friend, which entails each generation to have to make it to their seventeenth birthday without falling in love (or risk the person they do fall in love with dying a horrible death). Sam is turning seventeen at the end of the summer, he's almost made it past the curse, b 4.5 Stars **** Sam Weyward lives in a small "summer" town with his three Grands (grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother) and his father. They all live with a curse, placed on the family by a broken hearted best friend, which entails each generation to have to make it to their seventeenth birthday without falling in love (or risk the person they do fall in love with dying a horrible death). Sam is turning seventeen at the end of the summer, he's almost made it past the curse, but then Tom Swift walks into his life and his summer goes from idyllic to problematic in a matter of minutes. This book was deep and taught me a lot about a world I am unfamiliar with, but slowly trying to educate myself about. This was a no holds barred look at what it means to be gay, transgender and labelled "other." There are moments of comfort, of love, of understanding and acceptance, but there are also moments of shock, of pain, of heartbreak and lack of understanding. Sam asks all the questions we have all faced about identity. He knows who he is, but is constantly surprised by how little he knows about other members of the LGBTQ community. As he educates himself, the reader also learns about gender, sex and who we are as individuals versus who society wants us to be or the mold that many want us to conform ourselves to. There were quite a few moments where I cringed; but then I realized that this was how teenagers learn, how they develop, how they become better than the generations before them. I can only hope I opened my own mind enough. This book was full of funny moments, sad moments and endearing moments. There were poems, lyrics, and notes throughout the book. I loved that Sam connected to his mother through their shared love of music, her albums being the background to the story. Switching from one meaningful moment to another, with handwriting on liners, or on notes shoved into the album, by Sam's missing mother Ilona. Through these notes we get a sense of how Sam sees himself or how he hopes to remember his mother through her deep thoughts about what certain songs mean or what artists meant by their albums, music, lyrics. As well, music comes into play with his father, as their tether to each other. His father also conveys his emotions through the music he is listening to. Sam and Linda, a random phone prank call he makes one night who he finds himself becoming deeply connected to, also talk about the songs she is writing. Sam is a great character because he can be both sympathetic and unsympathetic. Half the time I found myself angry with him, but completely understanding his position, his rage, his hurt, his confusion. This is a book about growing up, accepting yourself and accepting others, even if it means putting your own feelings and pain aside to make way for their emotions. The Grands were fantastic, sprinkling the story with their good magic. They were Sam's heart, projecting their fears, their love, their caring onto him. I also like that each of the Weyward's show a different form of connection to magic, whether it be card reading, reading signs, or casting magic. Sam's ability is a doozy and I especially loved this part of the narrative, and any part that dealt in both the everyday magic of life and the supernatural magic that surrounds this family. Sam also lives a separate life from his family, at the gay bar the Shangri-La, with three drag queens. There is Lola, the owner, and Farrah and Paloma, the other drag performers. These three Queens have taken Sam in and have become a second family to him. They are his escape from the curse, they help to bring out another side. A side of Sam that is more carefree, happier, free to be himself. I loved all three of these Queens and their stories. I also like that they are not afraid to correct Sam with his gender pronouns and tell him when he is being a little s**t. These moments were genuine, funny and really brought out the good in Sam. The Weyward curse is more about the power a curse can hold over a person, or a family, and less about the curse itself. Maybe there is no curse and it is simply coincidence. Or maybe the family has given what was simply a spout of angry words the power to destroy those they love. Maybe it was all just guilt eating away at a friend, which turned what were some harsh words into a lifetime of sorrow. What is a curse anyway? Just something we cling to and blame when bad things happen that make no sense. I was sent a copy of this ARC by HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lainy122

    I'm in two minds about this one - I keep going back and forth about whether I enjoyed it or not. I was keen on the premise, but not sure I agreed with how everything fell out. Things I liked: - The Dad. Despite Sam saying that it took his Dad a while to come around to him being gay, it was obvious how hard he was trying to support his son. The scene where he was trying to get the right terminology correct was ADORABLE, and the Kiss concert really highlighted the bond they share. - The Music. The s I'm in two minds about this one - I keep going back and forth about whether I enjoyed it or not. I was keen on the premise, but not sure I agreed with how everything fell out. Things I liked: - The Dad. Despite Sam saying that it took his Dad a while to come around to him being gay, it was obvious how hard he was trying to support his son. The scene where he was trying to get the right terminology correct was ADORABLE, and the Kiss concert really highlighted the bond they share. - The Music. The soundtrack to this book is a complete character by itself and one you immediately fall in love with. If someone made the complete playlist, it would be DOPE. - The Casual Magic. I really liked the every day hints of magic that surrounded Sam's life, and the practices of his family. It was interesting, fun and a lovely brush to paint the scenery with. - Use of Pronouns. Although Sam is terrible at getting pronouns right, the book always makes sure that the reader knows when he gets it wrong and more importantly WHY. I wasn't convinced mixing drag queen pronoun switches in with a trans story was a particularly good idea - especially at the start where Sam didn't seem to understand the difference - but I felt by the end it had been laid out quite well. - Found Family. Farrah has a great speech about found family that went completely over Sam's head, but that I really enjoyed. For as clueless as the main character was, he was still aware how lucky he was to have two great families - blood and chosen. Things I didn't like: - Sam. The main character skirted 'Nice Guy' territory for more than half the book before diving headfirst into douchebag territory. Being terrible to someone who you profess to being friends with just because they don't want to have sex with you is a very good indication that you are a selfish asshole. (view spoiler)[Sam was just awful to Tom, completely self-centered in the absolutely worst way. He even knew he was being terrible (he hesitated to drop Tom's things off the bridge), but then he did it anyway. And outting him like that was completely unforgivable. (hide spoiler)] - The Writing Style Choice. I felt the style of writing was a bit over simplistic and much more suited to a middle grade book than a young adult. It felt incongruous with the content of sex, drugs and rock and roll contained in the story. - The Ending. (view spoiler)[I was so unsatisfied? There was no curse after all, but that was fine because Sam was too selfish to love anyone more than himself anyway? Earlier in the book when Linda laments for poor Tom because she thought he might die from the curse, and Sam is all, what about poor me?? At that point I was like, oh the ending will be Sam learning the true meaning of love after all! But that...didn't happen. Instead he gets a college fund, and a cute gay boy shows up at school. Whereas poor Tom is sentenced to a year in skirts and conversion therapy sessions. Lord. Also the physical ramifications of starting testosterone supplements and then going off them can't have been good, especially since he is still in puberty. Urgh. Sam was such a jerk! (hide spoiler)] - Sam's Mastery of Everything. This is a minor quibble, but apparently the main character can do everything well. We read about him applying the perfect makeup (both on himself and on others, which is a totally different skillset), fixing cars, being a good driver since before he was 15, practising magic, writing music and playing guitar? It just felt really unrealistic - should have stuck to just one or two I think. So, yeah. I really liked some parts, but had some problems with others. Not a great road map for some of these themes. Worth a read but not one I will be shoving into other people's hands, I think. YA Gems Summer Reading Bingo 2020: LGBTQ+

  29. 5 out of 5

    Saydie Hillis

    This was a first for me, as it's one of the only books I've read that made me wish I could give it a 4.5 rather than a four or a five. But, it's a strange book. And wanting to not give it a five isn't because I did not love it. Trust me, I did. I had a hard time getting into it. It was one of those books that take a week to get through those first few chapter, then you finish those last two-thirds in just a couple of hours. It's not so much about magical happenings as it might lead you to believ This was a first for me, as it's one of the only books I've read that made me wish I could give it a 4.5 rather than a four or a five. But, it's a strange book. And wanting to not give it a five isn't because I did not love it. Trust me, I did. I had a hard time getting into it. It was one of those books that take a week to get through those first few chapter, then you finish those last two-thirds in just a couple of hours. It's not so much about magical happenings as it might lead you to believe. Yes, there's tarot cards, milkweed-haired poppet dolls, and, of course, the omnipresent curse dangling over the lead, Sam's, head. But, it's not actually a fantasy book at all. It's not a book about magic, or grands who might be witches in a very southern type of way. In fact, the author leaves that entire side of things open. Perhaps, if you choose to believe, the family in this book has been curses. Or perhaps not. Either way, that wasn't the moral of the story. Instead, this is a book about a kid named Sam. He's about seventeen, and I never was quite sure where exactly he lives. My brain wanted to say somewhere around the bible belt, but I am a little biased toward wanting all books I love to be centered there. For a long time, I was not even sure when the book was set. It feels like a story set in the the eighties or nineties, but it's not. In the end it is undeniably set in modern times. Of course, there are plenty more points of topic more important than where he lived, so I will move on. First, I will address Tom Swift. He was a bit of an asshole. Then again, so was Sam. And it worked out for them, which was great. Ish. This is a not a story written by a trans man, but in his closing statements Ford says that he took inspiration for the character from people he has made the acquaintance of in his life. I remember that I was nervous to start this book because there were quite a few reviews that said it broached the trans topic badly. But, honestly? This is not a book about BEING a trans man. Yeah, the trans love interest doesn't get the best lot in life. But not everyone does. And the main character says quite a few horrible things to him, but Tom says them right back. They're teens, both going through their own slice of crisis. Being barely eighteen myself, I can say that it's genuine. It's not perfect. It is apparent when reading that the author was not sixteen when he wrote it, so the age was not fresh on his mind. But he did a good job, and if you're looking for a nice slice of teen angst and queer sorta-love, you'll get it here. You'll also get a little bit of talk about masturbation, drag, and a fish named Mr. Stiffy. Love & Other Curses is also a book about loss, lots of loss. The loss of people you've never met but have heard about, such a set of great grandfathers. The loss of mother with an ambiguous past who you can only claim to know through what she has left behind. The loss of a dear friend, a parent figure. The loss of someone who you should have never met, but did. The imminent, but not quite now, loss of your family. To make long short, Ford has written a book about a lot of things. Growing up, being gay, gender identity, loss. In some ways, it's about fun things too. Preforming in drag, finding yourself, music. This was a unique read; a unique story. It's wasn't really beautiful or heart-touching, but it was something substantial. It was well paced with both real-life and comedy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte (Escapades of a Bookworm)

    Love and Other Curses was a bit of a surprise read. It wasn’t a book that I had initially requested, so when it turned up I had some reservations. The idea of picking up a book that I wasn’t aware of was slightly unappealing, so when I did start reading it was amazing how quickly I got hooked. From the very first page it was so easy to immerse myself with Sam’s world. To follow him around on a daily basis. I liked how Sam and Tom met. It left like a meeting just at the beginning of summer with end Love and Other Curses was a bit of a surprise read. It wasn’t a book that I had initially requested, so when it turned up I had some reservations. The idea of picking up a book that I wasn’t aware of was slightly unappealing, so when I did start reading it was amazing how quickly I got hooked. From the very first page it was so easy to immerse myself with Sam’s world. To follow him around on a daily basis. I liked how Sam and Tom met. It left like a meeting just at the beginning of summer with endless possibilities. Tom is a boy that Sam has a crush at first sight on. But because of the curse he is wary of his feelings. But this is less a love-story and more about finding yourself. Sam is good at keeping secrets. He keeps the secret of the curse from everyone. A curse that means that anyone he falls in love with before he turns seventeen will die. Its happened to every generation of his family. Then he hides the fact that he attends the only gay bar in town and experiments with his drag persona from his family. And then there are the records from his mum. I liked how supportive Sam’s family was in contrast to Tom’s. But I do wish that he had opened up a bit more about the above. Maybe some of the scenes would have played out differently The style of Love & Other Curses means that it is so easy to pick up and read. And the idea of the curse and magic gave it a twist on the tale. And presented a more realist story (despite the magic) and allowed for a satisfactory ending. This was a different read, and despite not being in my normal comfort zone, was surprisingly easy to read. There was a lot of lessons to learn throughout Love & Other Curses, yet was one of the most approachable books I have read for a long time. If you are after a book that dares to be different then this is perfection. Reviews can also be found on my blog Escapades of a Bookworm

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