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When You Get the Chance

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Follow cousins on a road trip to Pride as they dive into family secrets and friendships in this contemporary YA novel -- perfect for fans of David Levithan and Becky Albertalli. As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts -- Follow cousins on a road trip to Pride as they dive into family secrets and friendships in this contemporary YA novel -- perfect for fans of David Levithan and Becky Albertalli. As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts -- Mark in Halifax and Talia in Victoria -- they haven't seen each other in years. When their grandfather dies unexpectedly, Mark and Talia find themselves reunited at the cottage once again, cleaning it out while the family decides what to do with it. Mark and Talia are both queer, but they soon realize that's about all they have in common, other than the fact that they'd both prefer to be in Toronto. Talia is desperate to see her high school sweetheart Erin, who's barely been in touch since leaving to spend the summer working at a coffee shop in the Gay Village. Mark, on the other hand, is just looking for some fun, and Toronto Pride seems like the perfect place to find it. When a series of complications throws everything up in the air, Mark and Talia -- with Mark's little sister Paige in tow -- decide to hit the road for Toronto. With a bit of luck, and some help from a series of unexpected new friends, they might just make it to the big city and find what they're looking for. That is, if they can figure out how to start seeing things through each other's eyes.


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Follow cousins on a road trip to Pride as they dive into family secrets and friendships in this contemporary YA novel -- perfect for fans of David Levithan and Becky Albertalli. As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts -- Follow cousins on a road trip to Pride as they dive into family secrets and friendships in this contemporary YA novel -- perfect for fans of David Levithan and Becky Albertalli. As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts -- Mark in Halifax and Talia in Victoria -- they haven't seen each other in years. When their grandfather dies unexpectedly, Mark and Talia find themselves reunited at the cottage once again, cleaning it out while the family decides what to do with it. Mark and Talia are both queer, but they soon realize that's about all they have in common, other than the fact that they'd both prefer to be in Toronto. Talia is desperate to see her high school sweetheart Erin, who's barely been in touch since leaving to spend the summer working at a coffee shop in the Gay Village. Mark, on the other hand, is just looking for some fun, and Toronto Pride seems like the perfect place to find it. When a series of complications throws everything up in the air, Mark and Talia -- with Mark's little sister Paige in tow -- decide to hit the road for Toronto. With a bit of luck, and some help from a series of unexpected new friends, they might just make it to the big city and find what they're looking for. That is, if they can figure out how to start seeing things through each other's eyes.

30 review for When You Get the Chance

  1. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥

    *A huge thank you to NetGalley and “Perseus Books, Running Press” for providing a free ARC* This book has been on my radar for quite a while and the moment I saw the cover I really wanted to read this. I just love how queer this is and the skyline of Toronto in the background as well as the blurb only added to my already high expectations. If you ask me the world needs more covers like that and I’d be happy to buy them all. This said, the most important question is: Did “When You Get the Chance” *A huge thank you to NetGalley and “Perseus Books, Running Press” for providing a free ARC* This book has been on my radar for quite a while and the moment I saw the cover I really wanted to read this. I just love how queer this is and the skyline of Toronto in the background as well as the blurb only added to my already high expectations. If you ask me the world needs more covers like that and I’d be happy to buy them all. This said, the most important question is: Did “When You Get the Chance” live up to my expectations or not? Truth be told, this isn’t as easy to answer as some might think. The beginning of this book was pretty slow and about half of the book deals with their stay at the family cottage. It’s only about the 50% mark that things actually start to get interesting when they finally hit the road. From there on out I really enjoyed their journey though and I think Tom Ryan did a great job at capturing the spirit of Pride. The feeling of being a part of all those people, of the respect, acceptance, support and safety they offer. It felt like I was there along with them and made new friends while we walked the streets of Toronto. Another thing I truly appreciated was the diversity we got to see in this book. Mark is gay, Talia is a lesbian or pan (she’s questioning her sexual orientation because she dated Erin who is non-binary) and of course there are a lot of other queer characters as well. ;-) Speaking of the characters themselves I can’t say that I connected with any of them. Well, none except of Paige! Mark’s ten years old little sister is such a ray of sunshine and I swear she was the best character in the entire book! I loved how she saw the world and tried to understand it and I absolutely adored her stance on being queer. For her it was so normal to have a brother who’s gay and gosh how I want more people like that in the world. Ten year old Paige gave me hope in humanity and I can’t thank Tom Ryan enough for that!! For me she represented a generation that grew up with LGBTQ+ rights and accepts everyone who’s under the rainbow and I really hope that one day we’ll actually get there. =) Still, there was a moment when one of the MCs got outed by Paige and I was very glad this issue was broached and challenged. No one should out you except of yourself! As for Mark and Talia?! Mark might have been outgoing but he was also self-centred and more than just a little egoistic! I couldn’t with him and even though some of his actions later on in the book obviously tried to redeem him, I really can’t say that I liked his embodiment of the entitled white male. Then again I’ve to admit that it was good to have a character like Mark in this book, because quite honestly not everyone can be a sweet fluffy cinnamon roll and the world is made of more complex characters than that. ;-) Talia on the other hand, was the complete opposite of Mark and more on the calm and distant side of things. Whilst Mark didn’t seem to care about deep feelings and only wanted fun, Talia was a very deep and emotional character who had difficulties to accept that her partner had changed without her at their side. I could probably go on and on about this book but I think I’ll leave it at that. The only thing that truly bothered me was that the characters apparently had no decency regarding their situation. I mean their grandfather just died and their grandma ended up in hospital; you’d think they would have thought about other things than the fastest way to pride. I suppose some of their behaviour could be explained by them being teens and having no tangible idea of the concept of mortality, but even then I would have felt bad for my actions if I’d have been in their shoes. (I felt really sorry for Talia’s dad and Mark’s mom.) Regardless of everything I just mentioned this was still a fast and enjoyable read. Sure, there were some important topics that were only brought up but never truly addressed, since this book had only 272 pages I had no problem to overlook those little weaknesses though. There’s only so much you can put into a 250+ pages book and considering this Tom Ryan actually did a good job! All told this leaves me with 3,5 stars rounded up to 4 and the hope that my next Tom Ryan book will be another pleasant read. ________________________ OMG!! A queer family road trip to one of my favourite cities!? HELL YES!!! Where was this book all my life!? Also the cover is so LGBTQ+ that I want to buy this just to look at it! 😍

  2. 4 out of 5

    daph pink ♡

    Things I liked about this book 1. The cover 2. It's short 3. Paige 💙 4. The whole road trip to pride situation Things I didn't liked about this book MARK AND TALIA AND ALL THE SUB-PLOTS ABOUT THEM. the main reason I didn't liked this book is because of these two and since the entire book revolves around them I didn't liked the plot in general. These two are one of the most irritating ruled by hormones teens I have ever read about. Nevertheless I will give it 2 stars because there were many parts especi Things I liked about this book 1. The cover 2. It's short 3. Paige 💙 4. The whole road trip to pride situation Things I didn't liked about this book MARK AND TALIA AND ALL THE SUB-PLOTS ABOUT THEM. the main reason I didn't liked this book is because of these two and since the entire book revolves around them I didn't liked the plot in general. These two are one of the most irritating ruled by hormones teens I have ever read about. Nevertheless I will give it 2 stars because there were many parts especially when Shirley and Babs were introduced I can't stop smiling. Overall a decent read if you ignore those two.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    doesn't it fill you with eternal happiness seeing how fiercely and unapologetically GAY queer covers look these days? doesn't it fill you with eternal happiness seeing how fiercely and unapologetically GAY queer covers look these days?

  4. 5 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    This was thoroughly wholesome and lovely. I am here for more quiet queer family-centric books in 2020 🙌🏻 thank you so much. This is about estranged family who come together to tidy up and maybe sell their grandmother's cottage. It's set in Canada too! I thought there was only piles of moose and pine trees in Canada so I learned a lot! (I mean, there were no meese in here at all. The stereotypes lie.) And just reading about cousins becoming friends, and exploring the complex (and often strained) This was thoroughly wholesome and lovely. I am here for more quiet queer family-centric books in 2020 🙌🏻 thank you so much. This is about estranged family who come together to tidy up and maybe sell their grandmother's cottage. It's set in Canada too! I thought there was only piles of moose and pine trees in Canada so I learned a lot! (I mean, there were no meese in here at all. The stereotypes lie.) And just reading about cousins becoming friends, and exploring the complex (and often strained) love of family...plus the terrifying dark vortex of not knowing who you are or what you want in live...it was all really well done. [characters] It's dual narrated by Talia and Mark. (And Mark's little 10yo sister Paige is amazing and my favourite side character!) Talia was absolutely amazing. She's very quiet and reserved, she's going through a maybe-breakup with her partner, doesn't know what she wants with her life, and is the kind of person who has deep friendships not tons of friends. (RELATABLE.) Mark is very outgoing and just wants to have a good time. But he's super self-centred, so like? I didn't love him, but he did grow at least. I think he should've apologised more though...he was very unaware of his cis/white/male privilege, even when called out. [queers books by queer authors] I loved the discussions and it really really discussed queerness. From Talia not being sure how she identified (her partner was nonbinary) (I even wonder if Talia was demisexual too?) and talking about not outing people as well as proudly normalising queerness and just...so much identity discussion and it was written so naturally and well. [read it? yes yes] It also feels like a good younger-YA story too! I mean, I stayed pretty pissed at Mark the whole way, but I really loved Talia and the dynamics and the family and Canada (!!) and it was easy to read and warm and encouraging.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Boston

    DNF at 54%

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    *I received an advance copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* 3.75/5 This book lives up to what I was promised. It was both super queer and super Canadian, and was quite frankly a blast! I really liked the family dynamics in this, between the cousins, the parents, the grandchildren and grandparents. It was all great. The summer cottage they visited was such a fun place and I loved seeing it, as well as the life brought to the town around it. Another aspect I enjoyed wa *I received an advance copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* 3.75/5 This book lives up to what I was promised. It was both super queer and super Canadian, and was quite frankly a blast! I really liked the family dynamics in this, between the cousins, the parents, the grandchildren and grandparents. It was all great. The summer cottage they visited was such a fun place and I loved seeing it, as well as the life brought to the town around it. Another aspect I enjoyed was the writing style. It was simple, but made the book a lot more fun and enjoyable I think. Paige, Mark’s younger sister, was a definite highlight of this novel. Her bluntness made me crack up a few times throughout the book. I loved seeing Toronto Pride brought to life here. I’ve never been myself, but reading this felt like I was there, experiencing it all. All this being said, I didn’t like Mark’s character very much. He was a bit of a jerk and he does mention that he was acting like a jerk near the end, but it isn’t really brought up or focused on again. Another thing I think could’ve done better was the development of side characters. I loved seeing SUCH a diverse cast of characters, but they never really had any backbone to them. Overall, this is simply the perfect summer read, and I couldn’t be more happy that I got this chance to read it early!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Caleb Roehrig

    I can already tell this is a book I’ll be bringing up for a long time, because I feel like I’ve got too much to say to put my thoughts together coherently. It’s about all the ways in which queerness is a unique and personal experience, but also about how it unites and creates community out of diverse identities. It celebrates queer history, and it celebrates queer modernity, and it captures the beauty of what it means to be born under the rainbow.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Iris

    I exchanged an eARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my opinions in any way. we're going to pretend like I actually remember more than three things about this book, because I read it literally a year ago and then forgot to review it because the release date got delayed Honestly, even after having . . . a lot of time . . . to process this one, I still don't really know how to feel about it? So this review might be a little short, but let's try to s I exchanged an eARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my opinions in any way. we're going to pretend like I actually remember more than three things about this book, because I read it literally a year ago and then forgot to review it because the release date got delayed Honestly, even after having . . . a lot of time . . . to process this one, I still don't really know how to feel about it? So this review might be a little short, but let's try to sum up my feelings: First of all, Mark. He's one of the two POV characters in this book, and I couldn't stand him. His character was very clearly written to be insufferable, and he did grow and change over the course of the book, but that didn't make reading his chapters any less miserable. I generally speaking love reading about unlikeable characters, at least when it's clearly an intentional thing, but Mark . . . ugh. He's so self-absorbed, selfish, privileged and completely unaware of it, and just generally speaking needs to get his priorities in order. I just . . . hated every second of his chapters whoops. Secondly, we have our other POV character, Talia. I absolutely loved Talia's character—she was messy, unquestionably, but she felt messy in an authentic way that was really refreshing to read. Yes, I occasionally wanted to scream at her to get her shit together, but I also saw lots of little bits of myself in her. Additionally, I really liked the ways she challenged Mark (and others) on takes that were less than good. I feel like her POV brought a lot of important things to light, and I appreciated that. I think generally speaking, what I appreciated about this book was how real it felt (even if that's what brought us Mark ://). It was a bit messy, but while there were a few little things I wish could have been handled differently, generally speaking it showed very authentic family dynamics, and a view of the queer community that felt very grounded in reality. This book was also so unapologetically queer, and I really loved that about it. There was so much queer joy and love and it was big and messy and beautiful. All in all? I'm not sure how I feel about this entirely. It had a lot of good elements, and I think they mostly outweighed the bad, but that doesn't change the fact that I only really enjoyed about half the book—hopefully y'all will like it more than I did.

  9. 4 out of 5

    lu ☾

    2.5 stars I'm gonna start off by saying that this actually lived up to my expectations. It was a quick, mostly enjoyable read, but otherwise not very memorable at all. When You Get the Chance follows cousins Mark and Talia, who haven't seen each other in years because their parents aren't on speaking terms. The death of their grandfather, though, makes the family reunite in Toronto for the funeral, and Talia and Mark (and Mark's younger sister, who we'll talk about later because she was wonderful 2.5 stars I'm gonna start off by saying that this actually lived up to my expectations. It was a quick, mostly enjoyable read, but otherwise not very memorable at all. When You Get the Chance follows cousins Mark and Talia, who haven't seen each other in years because their parents aren't on speaking terms. The death of their grandfather, though, makes the family reunite in Toronto for the funeral, and Talia and Mark (and Mark's younger sister, who we'll talk about later because she was wonderful) somehow end up alone in the family cottage where they used to spend their summers when they were kids. The thing is: it's Pride Weekend, and they're both queer, and they'd very much like to be in Toronto at the moment, for one reason or another. Let's talk about my biggest problem with this book: the characters. I had read in reviews that they weren't the most lovable people ever but, oh my god. I could deal with Talia for the most part; she was really intense sometimes, yes, I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her a bit sometimes, yes, but she wasn't that bad most of the time. Mark, though. He spent most of the book thinking only about himself and simply being an asshole. He was just... unbearable, honestly, and I even thought of DNFing the book because of him. I'm glad I didn't, though. He gets a little bit better towards the end, although I don't think his arc was very good at all. He realizes that he's spent the whole book being a self-centered dickhead at some point and owns up to some of his mistakes, but it felt like it happened out of nowhere. There was no build up to it, and no reason for him to change so suddenly, which I wasn't a fan of. PAIGE, THOUGH. Mark's ten year old sister. She was the best character in the book, period. Everything was a hundred percent more fun every time she was there. She was probably more mature than both Talia and Mark put together, and I loved her a lot. (Also shotout to Shirley and Babs, they were amazing too). Because I didn't really like the main characters, I didn't really care about most of the sub-plots either. I was excited about the whole road-trip-to-Pride situation, but that didn't take as much of the book as I was expecting. The book mostly focuses on Talia's complicated relationship with her (ex?) partner, and Mark's... I don't even know. Mark's whatever. There's also the whole family mystery, aka them (or, well, mostly Paige) trying to figure out why they parents don't speak anymore. I wish the book had been more focused on the family dynamics. They were there, sure, but it didn't feel like enough; I was hoping that it would be a little bit more about Mark and Talia re-building their relationship, but they just had random interactions now and then, and somehow I had to believe that they were suddenly very good friends, even though they didn't like each other all that much at first. I would have loved that to be a little bit more fleshed out. My favorite part of the book was definitely the time they spend at Pride. I think it captured the spirit of the whole thing pretty well. It made me feel weirdly nostalgic (probably because, you know, 2020. We celebrate Pride in November here. Will it even be a thing this year? Who knows!). I love Pride. It's such a joy. I totally could relate to Mark and Talia feeling so safe and accepted and supported there. That part was so short, though! Even the road trip was over in a blink. I understand that it was a pretty short book, so it couldn't fit everything I wish it had, but the blurb promised an exciting family road trip to Pride, right? So, where was that? As for the writing, it was ok. It wasn't my favorite (but I'm a fan of very pretentious writing styles, so there's that), but it worked for the book. It was fast paced and easy to get through. So, final thoughts: it wasn't the worst thing ever. It was enjoyable, it kept me hooked, and especially the second part of the book was fun, but I wish some of the issues, relationships and themes that it depicted were a little more fleshed out. It makes a perfect summer read, or something to fly through if you're in the middle of a slump, but I didn't think it was all that memorable. I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    james ☆

    2⭐ hmmm...i'm feeling very conflicted upon finishing "when you get the chance". this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and unfortunately it was a disappointment. it was enjoyable enough, even though the advertised ~road trip~ element was really more of a ten page car ride. there were a lot of really fun side characters, and plenty of potential to have been something amazing, but there was one element that fell so flat for me that it tainted the entire experience. the representation. n 2⭐ hmmm...i'm feeling very conflicted upon finishing "when you get the chance". this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and unfortunately it was a disappointment. it was enjoyable enough, even though the advertised ~road trip~ element was really more of a ten page car ride. there were a lot of really fun side characters, and plenty of potential to have been something amazing, but there was one element that fell so flat for me that it tainted the entire experience. the representation. now, i think i could probably rant for hours about the issues i have with it, but i'll try to keep it short. there are two main characters, neither particularly likeable. mark is a privileged white gay boy who takes all of those things for granted. talia is a queer questioning girl who calls mark on his ignorance. but then proceeds to fill her interactions with her poly/pan/nonbinary partner with the same "i've never considered an experience outside my own" bullshit. talia used to identify as a lesbian, but upon her partner coming out as nonbinary, she changed her label to queer. where there could have been a fantastic conversation about how nonbinary people have a place in all sexualities unless you're transphobic, and about how gender-nonconforming lesbians are a very real thing - because, you know, gender and sexuality are a very complex, personal, ever shifting thing - instead there was a brief pity party which perpetuated the black-and-white stereotypes that sapphics and gender-nonconforming people already have to face every day. and don't even get me started about talia's reaction to her partner's polyamorous identity. BEING CLOSETED IS NOT LYING. ever. in any case. period. this review is so jumbled, but despite it's enjoyable aspects, this book made me uncomfy. it felt more ignorant than any book with a giant pride flag on the cover should. but babs, shirley, and paige rights, though.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gerardine Betancourt

    This book has made me feel a little nostalgic about my life when I was little and I went out with my family on vacation every summer. Mark and Talia are cousins ​​who haven't seen each other in years after their parents had a big fight over something. When her grandfather dies, the family travels to Toronto for a few days to take care of a few things. I'm going to start by saying that Talia and Mark are the most self-centered characters I've read in a long time. While their parents are going thro This book has made me feel a little nostalgic about my life when I was little and I went out with my family on vacation every summer. Mark and Talia are cousins ​​who haven't seen each other in years after their parents had a big fight over something. When her grandfather dies, the family travels to Toronto for a few days to take care of a few things. I'm going to start by saying that Talia and Mark are the most self-centered characters I've read in a long time. While their parents are going through the death of their father and the relapse of their mother, the only thing these characters are thinking about is super banal things. Talia is just waiting for her ex-girlfriend to answer her txt messages and try to fix things with her who has clearly told her many times that she wants to have an open relationship and she still does not understand the hint and Mark on the other hand only thinks to spend time at Pride and above all to find a way for her cousin or random people he just met to take care of her 10 year old little sister. Mark little sister Paige was a character that I especially liked because, being the youngest in the group, she acted more mature than the other two. Another thing I liked about the book is that, while reading it, I thought about those moments in my childhood when I still had my grandfather and we spent those summers on the beach with the family and it was nice to remember that. For reminding me of the good times I give this 3 solid stars. Thanks to netgalley and Perseus books, Running press for this Arc in exchange for an honest review

  12. 5 out of 5

    Enci

    DISCUSSIONS AND MENTIONS OF HOMOPHOBIA IN THE REVIEW So, here's the thing. I really really REALLY wanted to just LOVELOVELOVE this book. I tried, I really did. But this mostly felt flat for me and I thought a lot about why. Because don't get me wrong, this wasn't bad. This was just kind of meh for me. And I realized that it was a mix of my expectations, the promises in the synopsis and the characters themselves. Let's start with the plot. After reading the synopsis, I expected a half road trip sto DISCUSSIONS AND MENTIONS OF HOMOPHOBIA IN THE REVIEW So, here's the thing. I really really REALLY wanted to just LOVELOVELOVE this book. I tried, I really did. But this mostly felt flat for me and I thought a lot about why. Because don't get me wrong, this wasn't bad. This was just kind of meh for me. And I realized that it was a mix of my expectations, the promises in the synopsis and the characters themselves. Let's start with the plot. After reading the synopsis, I expected a half road trip story, half pride story. Instead until the very middle of the book we didn't see anything of the road trip, and then when it started, it lasted for about 20 pages, followed by 30 pages of Pride, only to then Pride to end and we go back to... whatever was happening in the first half of the book. It wasn't good, I was just promised a completely different story, so I kept waiting for something to happen and the road trip to start and being bored by everything else that was happening that wasn't focusing on the plot. Not to mention that in the first half of the book we got a somewhat "romance" plot,and I put it between " " because of how that storyline ended, it was anything but a romance storyline, but it was also pointless. We didn't need the pointless homophobia, we didn't need the random plot twist (that could be seen from a mile away), only for then to have another romance plotline for Mark (who this "romance" plotline happened to) to happen and go down in the 30 pages that was the Pride time and have a happy ending. Like, why couldn't have we just scratched the homophobia storyline completely along with all the rest of the shit that character did, in fact, just scratch the entire character and have the real romance of the book be a little different and the guy be there from the start so we could have a nice, slow burn romance? It would have been so much better. Also, really, the focuses here were horrible. I wanted a trip and Pride stuff, not drama with the parents and searching for the reason for drama between the parents with really meh resolution. And about the characters - Mark was an asshole. And I get that that was the point of his character and arc, and yes, he changed by the end of it, but for one, that change didn't really feel earned, and by that point I really just couldn't care about his character development because I couldn't like him enough to care. Everything he did when the kids were at the cabin just annoyed the shit out of me and I wanted to just reach into the book and shake him. So yeah, I didn't enjoy him at all. And now to transition into the good, I really liked Talia. I was frustrated with her at times, I felt like she was too much sometimes, but I really liked her character in general and enjoyed her storyline, even if it was predictable. Mainly, though, I enjoyed the conversation and the topics that her character brought up and the discussion of relationship and gender and the different experiences in the lgbtq+ community that different characters had. I really enjoyed that. And Paige was a joy. A JOY. More of Paige, please. All in all, not going to lie, I struggled a little bit to get through this book, but it definitely had good points and I am not disappointed in reading it. Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this arc.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Juan

    Okay first of all, a three-hour car ride that takes up like 10% of the novel total does not make it a road trip novel. (Do Canadians really think three hours in a car is an impressive amount of time?) Second of all, both of the main characters in this book are insufferable. Obviously this is somewhat subjective, but personally I was never really on their side at any point in this book, and it was a huge letdown when neither of them really changed much over the course of the book. My main problem Okay first of all, a three-hour car ride that takes up like 10% of the novel total does not make it a road trip novel. (Do Canadians really think three hours in a car is an impressive amount of time?) Second of all, both of the main characters in this book are insufferable. Obviously this is somewhat subjective, but personally I was never really on their side at any point in this book, and it was a huge letdown when neither of them really changed much over the course of the book. My main problem with this book, though, was the spotty queer rep. There were some things that I felt this book got totally right, such as Mark occupying the nebulous space of white gay men who still experience hatred and oppression but are also privileged in ways they don’t always see themselves, or Talia’s confusion over her potentially shifting understanding of her identity, especially in relation to her ex’s. But her ex’s identity is where my problems with this book really started. Erin’s identity in this book is a fucking mess, mostly because we see it through Talia’s point of view only and we never hear much about what Erin thinks themself. The implication that they stopped being a lesbian when they came out as nonbinary, for example, is something that deserves more discussion because for many people (me lol) those things aren’t mutually exclusive and that’s already poorly understood as it is. Their polyamorous identity and their pansexual identity are also heavily linked to Talia feeling as if she’s being deceived and lied to and while this is pointed out, it’s never really challenged throughout Talia’s character arc. Obviously Talia’s just a teenager and she doesn’t have to have everything figured out for herself, even throughout the course of this book, but it would be nice if the book at least landed in a place where her incorrect and/or harmful ideas were explored more thoroughly instead of just…left hanging. Honestly, there are a lot of really compelling discussions about nuanced identities and contemporary vs. historical queer communities and things like that that are presented in the novel, but never really explored beyond Talia’s annoying “gotcha” moments, which to me makes them seem like petty SJW internet issues instead of real conversations we should be having.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anna (RattleTheShelves)

    ***Thank you Netgalley for providing a free eARC*** This book was exactly what I expected: a fast, fun, queer read. What I didn't expect was that it's also Canadian (I imagine there is a hint on the cover... and in the description) which made it all the better because Canadian books are always more relatable than American. (That's why we insist that Canada is a honorary European country) It's told from two POVs: Mark, a gay high school senior from Halifax (and honestly a bit of a self-absorbed jer ***Thank you Netgalley for providing a free eARC*** This book was exactly what I expected: a fast, fun, queer read. What I didn't expect was that it's also Canadian (I imagine there is a hint on the cover... and in the description) which made it all the better because Canadian books are always more relatable than American. (That's why we insist that Canada is a honorary European country) It's told from two POVs: Mark, a gay high school senior from Halifax (and honestly a bit of a self-absorbed jerk) and his cousin Talia, a queer girl from Victoria (and a bit of a social justice warrior which I absolutely loved). I love that with more and more queer books the characters also get less perfect, more human and more relatable. The two of them meet for the first time in years on their grandpa's funeral and are sent to clean out a cottage that belonged to their grandparents - even though both of them would rather be in Toronto, Mark for the Pride weekend and Talia to meet up with her partner. The unexpected and amazing surprise came in form of Paige - Mark's 10 year old sister. I don't remember ever reading a queer book where the queer character had a much younger sibling and definitely not one like Paige - she was unapologetic and had an amazing ability so see people simply as people, despite their gender or sexuality. She had some of the best lines, one of them when she was reminded for an nth time not to out people to others and she said that she doesn't want to waste her time on people who think less of others because they are queer. Paige's character was used to discuss a lot of important things such as queerphobia, the problem of putting things (and especially gender) in binary terms in a fun way and I really liked it. I loved how this book reflected the current times: how the queer rights have progressed but not without backlashes. The uncertainty of the far right political movements and climate change and how it affects people. Discussions of privilege. It was subtle but on point and well done. What I also appreciate is how truly queer this book is - not only gay or bi but engaging with different queer identities and issues. Talia is unsure of her sexuality and chooses to identify simply as "queer" and her partner is non-binary. There are discussions of poli relationships and the bi/pan debate. It discusses outing people and assuming sexuality (straight or queer). Also, especially Talia is very aware of how much their experience comes down to the fact that they are white and able-bodied (and, in Mark's case, also male) and the questions of privilege and gate-keeping came out quite a lot. There is a whole cast of amazing queer characters with different experiences, identities and approaches and it truly felt like a Pride. Despite it all, it still managed to be a fun, light read, with a focus mostly on family, identity, old grudges and knowing when to move on. Plus a whole lot of Canadian summer vibes: lake, mosquitos, canoeing, ice cream and barbequeues. My only problems are that the beginning of the book dragged a little and Mark's POV got a little of getting used to (because of him being such a self-absorbed jerk) but things definitely picked up as I read on so it's a strong 4 stars instead of 3. The verdict is that I'm moving to Canada becuase I've been convinced that almost everyone there is queer and that it's generally the most amazing place ever.

  15. 4 out of 5

    sirius proserpine

    wow mark is kind of an asshole, huh

  16. 5 out of 5

    kory.

    @ the people hating talia for correcting people when they say ignorant/queerphobic things and calling her a "social justice warrior" as an insult: the ignorant, privileged main character in this book also calls her a "sjw" as an insult because he hates being confronted with his own ignorance and doesn't care about politics....idk might be something to reflect on. content/trigger warnings; death of loved one, misgendering, ableism, nonbinary-phobia, outing, homophobia, panphobia, polyamory-phobia, @ the people hating talia for correcting people when they say ignorant/queerphobic things and calling her a "social justice warrior" as an insult: the ignorant, privileged main character in this book also calls her a "sjw" as an insult because he hates being confronted with his own ignorance and doesn't care about politics....idk might be something to reflect on. content/trigger warnings; death of loved one, misgendering, ableism, nonbinary-phobia, outing, homophobia, panphobia, polyamory-phobia, misogyny, alcohol consumption, rep; mark (mc) is gay. talia (mc) is queer/questioning (identifies as queer, but is questioning more specific labels). erin (sc) is nonbinary, pansexual, and polyamorous. this book reminds me of you know me well by nina lacour and david levithan; a gay guy and queer girl bond through pride and have side romantic entanglements. only i don't like this one nearly as much. before i get into everything i hate about this book, let me start with the things i like. i love talia. she's messy, but she's trying. she's the only character in this book who is trying to be the best she can be, and the only character who actually has development. i love that she regularly calls out queerphobia and misogyny, and i appreciate that she's able to see when she's wrong and apologize for it. mainly i love her because she always calls mark out, whether it's in her head or out loud. she had me going "yes! thank you!" multiple times. i also like that mentions previously identifying as pansexual, because that's not something i see in media a lot. it's obviously not the same as pansexual rep, but it's nice to see pansexual included in characters' queer journeys to self discovery. but mainly what i like the most about this book is the discussions of queerness. there are so many conversations in this book about things like not asking people about their sexuality, being nonbinary in a world obsessed with a gender binary, questioning your sexuality and label, acknowledging that one person's experience of being nonbinary isn't true for every nonbinary person, not assuming people default to straight, trying to teach a kid that outing is bad even though they're correct in thinking there's nothing wrong with being queer, stonewall and dyke march and dykes on bikes, pride and community and safety, and the pressure and judgement surrounding labels. two quotes i particularly like: "if the old words and ideas don't work, why shouldn't you invent new ones?" "but look at all those people down there on church street: some of them must've been the only queer kid in their school, or maybe they grew up in a small town where no one was out, or in a super-religious family, or even in another country where it wasn't even legal to be gay… and they've all made their way here. they've all come here from somewhere. there's a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes and a feeling i can't describe swelling in my chest. i'm a part of this. these are my people, this is my community. i may not know exactly how i identify or whatever, but i'm pretty sure that whatever i am, there's a place for me under this great big queer rainbow." now the things i don't like. let's start with mark. he's the worst. right from the beginning his selfishness is apparent. his grandfather just died and all he cares about is sneaking away to go to pride, and he gets annoyed that his family expects him to spend time with them and help clean out the family cottage. and this is consistent throughout the book. he doesn't help talia with chores, instead he takes naps while she cleans, eats the lunches she makes, and suggests they take breaks from the cleaning he never once participates in or always finds something better to do that he promises he'll help after doing. he goes to parties, gets drunk, and only wants to go to pride because, in his words, it's an "endlessly sprawling party". remember, he's only at this cottage with his family because his grandfather died (and then like a day into being there his grandmother ends up in the hospital). he makes the entire trip there about his personal quest for a good time and doesn't spare a single thought to how his mother is grieving her father and worrying about dying mother, and then has to worry about her son getting trashed at parties and cleaning his puke and wondering where the fuck he took off to in the middle of the night with strangers with his ten year old sister. he repeatedly leaves talia to take care of his sister, who he is responsible for while his mother isn't with them. he goes as far as sneaking away to go to pride without telling anyone, just leaving his sister with a cousin she barely knows. at one point she interrupts him while he's trying to flirt with a guy he just met (when he should've been watching her), and he literally "grits his teeth" and "tries not to curse". when talia is a good mood he notes that he plans on "taking advantage" of it to get her to watch his sister while he spends time with a guy he just met. when his sister brings up an activity he promised to do with her, he only agrees to do it because the guy he likes is busy. like, he literally admits to that out loud. he is absolutely terrible to the guy back home that he's dating. he doesn't want to be with him anymore, but instead of telling him that, he just ignores the guy's texts and hopes he'll take the hint. he spends the entire book ghosting him and making himself the victim because the guy ~just doesn't get it. he ends up texting the guy at one point, not because he wants to talk to him or is going to end things, but because he's hungover and wants sympathy. he, of course, doesn't tell the guy he's hungover, just that he's "sick". and then he promptly starts ignoring him again. near the end of the book he ends things with the guy. but not because he realized what he's doing is fucked up. he only does it because he met a guy and wants to kiss him without feeling guilty over the guy he has on the hook back home. (when he does it, the guy has the best line in the book "it gets exhausting spending so much time with someone who's so deeply in love with himself") and then his new guy actually praises him for ending things with the other guy, telling him he should be proud of himself for doing it. bye. his reactions to talia correcting him when he says ignorant shit is peak privileged cis white guy. he makes a derisive comment about they/them pronouns and when she calls him out on it, he says it was a joke and reminds her that he experiences hate too because "i'm gay remember?". he's taken aback when she tells him not to speak to her like his word is law, after he tells her point blank that she is going to a party she already told him she doesn't want to go to. and when she leaves the party upset, he thinks he should go after her to check on her, but doesn't because of her "lecture on the way here". he refers to her correcting him (or anyone) as a "lecture" and "political debates that he doesn't have the energy for". (it's amazing that he's desperate to go to pride but he "isn't political".) and when the (first) guy he likes turns out to be a homophobe, he tells talia that she'd be happy to find that out because "you don't seem happy unless you have some social justice warrior shit to keep you busy", which he never apologizes for or even realizes how fucked up it is to say a queer person would be pleased by queerphobia simply because you're mad that they called out your own queerphobia. another thing i hate is the scene when talia muses about not knowing how to identify: "i don’t even know how i identify now. i mean, i told mark i'm queer because i don't know what other identity i can claim. i thought i was a lesbian, but can i still identify that way if the person i'm in love with doesn't identify as a girl? i talked about this with erin, who said maybe i was pansexual, and i went with that for a while. but it doesn't feel true. how can you say you're pansexual if you've really ever only been attracted to one person? and i'm not attracted to guys, so i can't really be pan, right? like, i'm definitely not attracted to all genders. so maybe i'm bi, because i was attracted to erin when they identified as a girl, and when they identified as nonbinary. but they were still the same person, so i don't know if that even makes sense." i love the questioning of identity labels and exploration of what labels work and what labels don't work, and asking, can i be this label if i feel this? can i be that label if i feel that? what does it all mean? BUT. when there aren't answers presented somewhere in the book, then those questions, to me, are worthless. if you have a character ask if she can be a lesbian while dating a nonbinary person, but don't provide an answer, who is that helping? (she can still identify as a lesbian while dating a nonbinary person, because lesbian attraction can include some nonbinary people, but she doesn't have to if she doesn't want to or it doesn't feel right. she can also identify as mspec, because girls and nonbinary people are different genders. or she could use both labels.) if you have a character ask how you can say you're pansexual if you've only ever been attracted to one person, but don't provide an answer, who is that helping? (personal experiences don't dictate your sexuality. you don't have to have been attracted to specific people in your life of every gender to identify as pan. having the capacity for it or openness to it is enough. knowing someone's gender wouldn't prevent you from being attracted to them is enough.) (she says here she isn't attracted to guys, but later says if erin were to realize they're a trans guy, it wouldn't change her feelings. so there is that capacity in her to be attracted to guys, so again, she could identify as pan if she wanted to.) if you have a character wonder if it makes sense to identify as bi when the girl and nonbinary person she was attracted to is the same person, but don't provide an answer, who is that helping? (it would absolutely make sense for her to identify as bi, because she was attracted to a person as a girl and a person as nonbinary. them being the same person doesn't lessen their genders when they identified that way, and she was still attracted to them knowing and accepting them for the genders they were at the time.) if you have a character identify as queer because she doesn't know what other identity she can claim, but don't clarify that queer is an identity in and of itself, who is that helping? (queer is a specific identity as much as it is an umbrella term. if you don't know the specifics of your attraction or what specific label is right for you, queer is an option in more than a vague placeholder kind of way. she can just identify as queer, without any further specifications.) other things that i don't like: mark's sister constantly outing people, even after being told not to, and then weirdly getting praised at the end by mark and talia for outing mark to their grandmother. talia's reaction to erin liking a guy was panphobic; she was more put off by them liking a guy than the fact that they liked someone else in general. it was odd to me how the first thing talia thought of when erin asked if it would change things for her if erin were a trans guy was "people would think we're a het couple" because what does that have to do with anything. there's some assumptions of sexuality, positioning straight as the opposite of queer, and some shitty attitudes/comments about polyamory. the ending is underwhelming. the reasoning behind their parents being estranged is so underwhelming; the way it's revealed and resolved is very rushed. there's an upsetting lack of aspec inclusion in the book, which is a glaring oversight considering how often various kinds of queerness is talked about and mentioned in passing. oh, and it kind of bothers me that when talia tells the old women who drive them to pride that she's queer, one of them flinches or winces (can't remember which) at the word. it leaves the impression that queer is a word young folks use while older folks don't due to trauma, which isn't true. who do you think took queer back from bigots in the '80s-'90s and shaped it into a whole identity and political movement? it sure as shit wasn't people who are currently young or new adults lmao. some criticism i want to comment on: criticism about how the "bi/pan debate" is mishandled and they're presented as being the same thing. that topic is literally never touched on, and while Definitions aren't given, pan is indicated to mean all genders, and bi is indicated to mean more than one gender. simply acknowledging these labels exist for people to use is not participating in a "debate". i'm tired of people acting like any time pansexuality is brought up it's "discourse". also the criticism of the use of the word dyke. it was only used in the context of the dyke marches and dykes on bikes; as a reclaimed identity used in the name of pride events/groups. no one has to be comfortable with the word, but it's not a slur here and there isn't an issue with how it's used in the book. people saying talia is a "sjw bully" who attacks everyone. people get mad when ignorance isn't called out or addressed, but every time a character does do that, they're hated for it. and it's always because the ignorant characters aren't coddled and don't have their feelings prioritized over the hurt they're causing/contributing to. never mind that talia never attacks anyone. if she's short with people, she has every right to be. tone policing how queer people react to queerphobia isn't cute. and that's what she was doing; she wasn't judging people for "not doing or saying what she thinks they should", she was correcting literal queerphobia. stop strawmanning to make it easier or justifiable to hate her. just say you hate "pc callout culture" or whatever, and go. overall: i was looking forward to this book for a year, and generally speaking, it's fine. it's a super queer, super quick read. i just think it would have been a lot more enjoyable for me if it mark hadn't existed lmao

  17. 5 out of 5

    charlotte,

    On my blog. Rep: gay mc, sapphic mc, pan nonbinary li, wlw and mlm side characters Galley provided by publisher YA contemporary lit is always hit or miss for me. Sometimes I’ll really like it, other times it reminds me how much older I am than the characters. This fell somewhere in between those two extremes. In When You Get the Chance, we are introduced to Mark and Talia, two cousins who have not seen each other in a good few years after their parents fell out in some mysterious argument. After On my blog. Rep: gay mc, sapphic mc, pan nonbinary li, wlw and mlm side characters Galley provided by publisher YA contemporary lit is always hit or miss for me. Sometimes I’ll really like it, other times it reminds me how much older I am than the characters. This fell somewhere in between those two extremes. In When You Get the Chance, we are introduced to Mark and Talia, two cousins who have not seen each other in a good few years after their parents fell out in some mysterious argument. After their grandfather dies, their grandmother requests that they all spend the summer at her cottage, sorting it out. But Mark wants to go to Toronto Pride, and Talia wants to see her ex (who may or may not be an ex after all), so together with Mark’s sister Paige in tow, they start on a roadtrip to Toronto. Firstly, what I liked about the book. It’s very easily readable and the writing is good. Readable as in it took me maybe two hours to read the entire thing. It wasn’t one of those books where I was bored out of my damn mind reading it because of the writing. I also liked the whole mystery aspect surrounding why their parents fell out. And I loved Paige a lot. Unfortunately, the rest of the book left me somewhere between “meh” and vaguely irritated. Both characters aren’t exactly ones I might love without reservation. Mark, for his part, is a bit shallow and self-centered. Meanwhile, Talia seems to have assumed the role of preachy, slightly holier-than-thou, older sibling. And while I could deal with Mark’s personality, it was a whole lot harder to deal with Talia. Part of that just seems to be because this book does have scenes which feel like those you can point to as if it’s a “learning objective”. You know the ones, they’re trying to teach you something. Only, for me, those don’t work. They just make me cringe because they sound sort of false. If you want to normalise something, I think what works better is treating it as a non-issue. Like, not having a character say they “don’t understand” being nonbinary just so you can have another character pull them up on it. For me, that only leads to me disliking them both. And all of those moments went Talia, so of course I ended up not liking her for it (sorry, Talia). That, honestly, is the major reason I couldn’t like this book any more than I did. Literally just because it did something I personally don’t like books to do. So feel perfectly free to just ignore this review and pick the book up anyway. In fact, do it whatever. Ignore me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sofie |

    Despite the craziness of it all, despite knowing how mad my dad is going to be, despite what happened with Erin, I feel kind of okay. The marchers - with their waves, their signs, their chants, their smiles - are lifting me up. Even standing here, watching, I am a part of it all. As someone who grew up in Toronto myself, I have to say, it is so refreshing to to read such a distinctly Canadian story. I could see Bracebridge in my head (I went to camp there pretty much my entire childhood, afte Despite the craziness of it all, despite knowing how mad my dad is going to be, despite what happened with Erin, I feel kind of okay. The marchers - with their waves, their signs, their chants, their smiles - are lifting me up. Even standing here, watching, I am a part of it all. As someone who grew up in Toronto myself, I have to say, it is so refreshing to to read such a distinctly Canadian story. I could see Bracebridge in my head (I went to camp there pretty much my entire childhood, after all), and I know those sweaty Toronto streets, those crowded subways, those bright blue skies. And yet... this story just didn't do it for me. The incredibly important themes and messages got lost with the immensely unlikeable characters. And for all the talk of acceptance, forgiveness, pride, identity, their arcs felt disappointingly weak. Specifically Mark - we get the tiniest glimpse of some long-overdue self-awareness at the very end, but nothing that made me want to root for him. Maybe this was the point, but he read like a very stereotypical cis white gay guy who wields his marginalized identity like a sword and has no mind for any intersectionality. Which is fine. But he was crafted in such a way that it made Talia - the character who ACTUALLY cared about intersectionality and social issues - seem like a buzzkill. She probably only came across as unlikeable here because she was a foil to Mark's character. I was frustrated that everything magically would work out for him. There were never any consequences. Maybe this is because I didn't feel there were any stakes, either. Paige was the highlight of the book, and I wish we'd seen more of her. I wish our MCs hadn't dropped her off before going out. This is probably a really great story for some people. Just not for me. It didn't keep me engaged. I would have enjoyed it more if it had focused more on the family dynamics, the queer identity, Canada's history with LGBTQ+ rights, how Mark and Talia's experiences were different growing up on opposite sides of the country. WHY Toronto Pride was such a big deal for them. Truthfully, I'm not even sure what the book is trying to say. 2.5 stars rounded up.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alex (Pucksandpaperbacks)

    I received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. It may just be a theme that any book I read "set at Pride" I've rated low. The first half of this book was great! I loved the aspect of going back to the family cottage and the mystery that was involved. However, the mystery was quickly solved, and by the end of the book, the reason Mark and Talia's parents were feuding was so disappointing. This book is pitched as a story s I received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. It may just be a theme that any book I read "set at Pride" I've rated low. The first half of this book was great! I loved the aspect of going back to the family cottage and the mystery that was involved. However, the mystery was quickly solved, and by the end of the book, the reason Mark and Talia's parents were feuding was so disappointing. This book is pitched as a story set a Toronto Pride, however, Pride is only a few chapters toward the end of the book. I would've much rather have read a book set in 24 hours at Pride than this. As a queer book written in 2020, this book got SO MUCH WRONG. The major red flag I had was that Talia's ex-partner, Erin was misgendered and NOT by a character which confused me because the first half of the book emphasizes through Talia's dialogue how important pronouns and identity are. Both characters, Mark and Talia are so unlikeable. Mark ghosts a guy throughout the WHOLE BOOK and then he tries to make up for it at the end? Not cool. Talia is very abrasive and constantly attacks other characters when they accidentally out people or say anything that isn't ethically right instead of teaching a lesson because it's the younger character, Mark's sister who is about 11 years old? But, she's also a gatekeeper. She gets angry at Erin and asks them when they mention they met a trans guy and were able to relate to him being on the trans spectrum and what does Talia say? Well, first, she's uncomfortable then asks Erin if they would ever transition into a man? NO THANKS. Finally, Talia insults the whole polyamorous community because of her jealousy and is selfish about Erin expressing their desire to be in a polyamorous relationship. As for more queer related things I didn't appreciate, using the "d-word", a lesbian slur a lot - personally, this word makes me uncomfortable and I know it's sort of been reclaimed by the lesbian community but I skipped over the pages with that word used in every sentence. There's also some homophobia in the beginning. But, overall, this book was disappointing and I still can't shake the fact that the non-binary character was misgendered in the text.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review When I first started looking up 2020 book releases, this book was one of the first ones I saw, and I immediately gravitated toward it. A YA contemporary in which two queer teens set off on an epic summer road trip bound toward Pride? This sounded exactly like the kind of queer novel I’ve always wanted to exist, plus an indie movie that I would instantly watch. So I was immensely thrilled when I got the oppor I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review When I first started looking up 2020 book releases, this book was one of the first ones I saw, and I immediately gravitated toward it. A YA contemporary in which two queer teens set off on an epic summer road trip bound toward Pride? This sounded exactly like the kind of queer novel I’ve always wanted to exist, plus an indie movie that I would instantly watch. So I was immensely thrilled when I got the opportunity to read an early copy of what then became one of my most anticipated reads for 2020. Unfortunately, in the end—and it actually pains me to say this—I felt very let down by this novel. First off: Positive Things! I loved that this book was essentially a love letter to LGBTQ+ history and why we have Pride today. I absolutely loved Shirley and Babs as characters and what they represented. The older generation who were a part of history when queer folks were not as accepted and needed riots and underground bars in order to carve out a space in the world and make their voices heard. This is a part of history that they feel should never be erased, that the new generation of queer folk should know about. At the same time, they also recognize that the community is constantly changing, and with that so is the language. Shirley and Babs very much represent bridging the gap between the old and young generations of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as reminder that no matter how you identify, the LGBTQ+ community should always feel like family, like a place where you can feel safe and accepted. My Critiques I guess my biggest critique in regard to this novel is that I felt I was sold a very different story from the one I actually got. From the synopsis, we’re led to believe this novel centers around a summer road trip to Pride—you need look no further than the cover to see that even it invokes this kind of story. In actuality though, most of the novel takes place at the summer cabin belonging to Mark and Talia’s grandmother, with the first chunk of the story basically consisting of Mark and Talia puttering around the cabin, and Talia constantly getting after Mark for being irresponsible and blowing off his chores. They spend a lot of time at the lake before the roadtrip even enters the story, and when it does it feels like it’s over in a matter of pages. I feel like the roadtrip element of the story was so oversold for this book, and for what we were actually given I couldn’t help but think, Wait, was that… was that the road trip?? Seriously misleading synopsis, seeeerious letdown. Another issue that kept me from enjoying this book was the fact that...there wasn’t really any one character who I genuinely liked. Neither protagonists, Mark and Talia, are super likable, and I couldn’t quite bring myself to care about either of them as the story went on. Mark, for one, is a pretty selfish, irresponsible character through the entire novel. He cares so much about going to Pride for his own reasons, completely neglecting everyone else and their needs in the process—including his kid sister. I’m not even kidding when I tell you the amount of danger he puts his little sister in, all because he cares more about going to Pride. After their car breaks down, they hitch a ride from a complete stranger, drive into a big city they don’t know, where they proceed to hang out at another stranger’s house filled with people. Then when Mark’s mom pulls up in her car to pick them up, Mark literally tells his sister he owes her one, then runs away in the opposite direction and leaves her standing by herself on the doorstep. Needless to say, Mark is pretty immature. And not the best big brother, either... Talia, on the other hand, particularly rubbed me the wrong way. She’s a typical social justice bully. And by that, I mean she carries herself as the “perfect” social justice advocate who feels the need to educate everyone at any chance she gets, not necessarily out of good intentions but just so that she can feel superior to them, because they’re just not on her level. She almost seeks out any opportunity to call anyone out for even the tiniest things, regardless of whether she’s on their side or not: “Paige,” says Talia, “remember what I said about outing people?” “Yes,” Paige says, “and I’ve thought about it. I don’t like that rule. It’s totally fine that Mark is gay, and if it bugs anyone, that’s their problem.” “Yes,” says Talia, “but that’s not really the point. I think—” I cut her off. I don’t have the energy for one of her political debates. “It’s fine, Talia. I don’t care if she outs me.” “You’re pretty privileged to feel that way,” she says. This moment especially irritated me. So for one, you’re overstepping boundaries and telling other peoples’ children how to behave (and toward their own sibling) when that’s not your role or your place to do that. And two, the fact that in one instance you’re allegedly standing up for Mark and fighting his battle for him—which I feel like is almost just as bad as outing a queer person..?—and then the second that he calls you out and says, “No, it’s okay, I’m totally cool with it,” you instantly whirl around and start a separate argument with him. So let me get this straight, you don’t want anyone to out Mark because that’s problematic. But then, Mark isn’t allowed to have any say in being okay with it anyway, because he’s… too privileged? Sounds more like Talia herself needs to learn boundaries, to step down, and to not shout over other queer people to satisfy her own self-righteous, social justice complex. And the hilarious thing about this is: Talia isn’t perfect, either. There are countless times in the novel where she herself even admits that she still has a lot to learn, she still makes a lot of assumptions and oversteps. There’s even a point in the novel where she expresses her frustration over having to live in a society that creates a gender binary system where everyone’s put into boxes and no one understands what it’s like to live as nonbinary (like her partner) and have everyone assume your gender for you. Yet… she does this exact thing. When she first meets up with Erin and their friends, she instantly refers to several of them as “she” and “her” and “girl” without even thinking whether they identify that way. Essentially, Talia expects and demands perfection from everyone else, yet she herself doesn't even match up to her own expectations. She’s willing to give herself the benefit of the doubt for not always knowing everything, yet she doesn’t give anyone else permission to have these learning experiences themselves. What I see in Talia’s character is also what I see in a lot of internet discourse and what truly irks me about “callout” culture and aggressive social justice policing in online spaces. People who use their own knowledge as a weapon rather than as a tool to initiate communication, empathy, and understanding. Final Thoughts: I went in fully wanting to love this book for what it is: a celebration of queer youth, of Pride, of embracing who you are. And in many ways, this was that. At the same time though, there was a lot that I wanted this book to be but found it lacking, and by the end I was just very underwhelmed. Again, I really wish that the story had centered more around a road trip and to have it be more than...like, five pages. Even the “family drama” that was also part of the plot was pretty underwhelming, and for how much it was built up over the course of the novel, by the time we reach the big reveal—the looming question of why Mark and Talia’s parents haven’t spoken in years—I just thought, Wait, that’s… that’s it? That’s the whole thing?” Ultimately, I just wanted so much more from this book than I was given.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kat (Bookish Blades)

    longer review on my blog Kat from Minas Morgul the good: - Talia, I love her - she doesn't take shit and gives you her opinion especially when you're being a dick - the queerness of it all - so queer - the atmosphere, I could FEEL it, nice warm Canadian summer - Toronto Pride - Paige omg, I swear she is the wisest of them all despite being 10 years old - and she reads Magnus Chase - the focus on family - I LOVE family - cool old lesbians the bad: - Mark?? for msot of the book - such a douchebag longer review on my blog Kat from Minas Morgul the good: - Talia, I love her - she doesn't take shit and gives you her opinion especially when you're being a dick - the queerness of it all - so queer - the atmosphere, I could FEEL it, nice warm Canadian summer - Toronto Pride - Paige omg, I swear she is the wisest of them all despite being 10 years old - and she reads Magnus Chase - the focus on family - I LOVE family - cool old lesbians the bad: - Mark?? for msot of the book - such a douchebag

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    A downside to reviewing for me is that I often feel like I'm only allowed to dislike a book if I have a good reason for it. But the reality is, reviewing is subjective, and sometimes you just won't click with a book. I'll do my best to explain my thoughts, but overall this book just didn't work for me, for no particular reason other than the book and I just didn't click. In theory, I would have loved this book. I love books about family, and here, the family is forced to come together after the d A downside to reviewing for me is that I often feel like I'm only allowed to dislike a book if I have a good reason for it. But the reality is, reviewing is subjective, and sometimes you just won't click with a book. I'll do my best to explain my thoughts, but overall this book just didn't work for me, for no particular reason other than the book and I just didn't click. In theory, I would have loved this book. I love books about family, and here, the family is forced to come together after the death of Mark and Talia's grandfather, to clean out their grandparents' summer home. I usually love books with these types of settings, so it was a shame to me that I didn't enjoy this one. My best guess as to why I didn't like it is that there was a lot of negativity: none of the people actually want to be in the summer home, and that made me not really want to be there either. Another reason is that I really disliked Mark as a main character. I did really like Talia but Mark was so self-absorbed and he never did anything for anyone else. I always try to not be too harsh on teenage main characters - they're human, they're young, they're allowed to have flaws. But the problem for me was that there was nothing that made me root for Mark to become better, there was wasn't really anything that redeemed him for me. The reason that I'm still giving this book 3 stars rather than 2, like I've contemplated, is that I really really liked the Pride aspect of the book. It was amazing to see so many different LGBTQ+ people, and it was lovely seeing how queer history and queer culture were woven into the book here.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Monte Price

    Seeing as publication of this book has been pushed back a year, I'm just gonna keep my review saved in Google Docs until we get a little closer to publication again. Seeing as publication of this book has been pushed back a year, I'm just gonna keep my review saved in Google Docs until we get a little closer to publication again.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    The death of their grandfather forces a rather uncomfortable family reunion between Mark and Talia's families, but results in renewed and new found friendships, as well as some exploration and discoveries about themselves. Mark and Talia were like night and day, so different from each other, but they both were part of the LGBTQ community, and both desperately wanted to attend Pride in Toronto. Mark wanted to go, meet boys, and have a good time. While Talia needed to find out where she stood with The death of their grandfather forces a rather uncomfortable family reunion between Mark and Talia's families, but results in renewed and new found friendships, as well as some exploration and discoveries about themselves. Mark and Talia were like night and day, so different from each other, but they both were part of the LGBTQ community, and both desperately wanted to attend Pride in Toronto. Mark wanted to go, meet boys, and have a good time. While Talia needed to find out where she stood with her partner. Though their objectives were quite different, this trip was an instrumental part of them learning more about themselves and who they were. Identity is discussed throughout the book, and I thought many of the discussions about sexual and gender identity were integrated well into the story. I especially appreciated how the authors presented the various points of view. Some of the best dialogues were prompted by the break-out star of this book, Paige. Paige was Mark's 10-year old sister, and her youthful, untainted, and precious this-is-how-I-see-it takes on identity were so wonderful. There were also points of view from people outside the community, as well as, older members of the community, which added even more depth to the discussions. Overall: I had a wonderful time meeting Paige, Mark, and Talia, and enjoyed being part of their personal journeys. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  25. 5 out of 5

    Megan ♡

    3.5 stars This was a really cute book about family and finding yourself. I didn't like Mark at all - he acting like such a dickhead for most of it, and yeah, he redeemed himself at the end, but it was painful to make myself read. I loved how gay it was. I loved Paige and Talia. I also really loved the settings - I#ve never been to Canada but I've always wanted to go. When You Get the Chance was a really fast and sweet read that I would recommend to people who want good representation of queer thi 3.5 stars This was a really cute book about family and finding yourself. I didn't like Mark at all - he acting like such a dickhead for most of it, and yeah, he redeemed himself at the end, but it was painful to make myself read. I loved how gay it was. I loved Paige and Talia. I also really loved the settings - I#ve never been to Canada but I've always wanted to go. When You Get the Chance was a really fast and sweet read that I would recommend to people who want good representation of queer things and a fun time. I received an e-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

  26. 5 out of 5

    The Bookish Life of Laura

    DNF at page 30 Immediately had a very strong dislike for both the main characters and couldn’t get passed s few chapters. So sad, I was really looking forward to this one 😭

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    3.5 Stars A fun romp around Ontario dealing the death in the family, pride, and queer friends. I talk about this book in this BookTube video. 3.5 Stars A fun romp around Ontario dealing the death in the family, pride, and queer friends. I talk about this book in this BookTube video.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    DNF @ page 84 The reason why I am DNFing this book is because I thought the two main character where somewhat annoying in a way, I was not fully committed with this book, like I was not fully enjoying it at all.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mia

    2 stars for Mark little sister Paige, Talia and Mark were annoying.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Greyson | Use Your Words

    This is a great starting point for young readers looking to either learn about the queer experience through books or are queer themselves and looking to see themselves in the books they read. It's filled with pride and love and it's light and funny. My only issue was that I really did not like Mark for most of the book but that might have been more of a personal issue than anything else. He just pushed too many of my buttons and he's quiet self-centred and lazy. It was infuriating to read about This is a great starting point for young readers looking to either learn about the queer experience through books or are queer themselves and looking to see themselves in the books they read. It's filled with pride and love and it's light and funny. My only issue was that I really did not like Mark for most of the book but that might have been more of a personal issue than anything else. He just pushed too many of my buttons and he's quiet self-centred and lazy. It was infuriating to read about him doing whatever he wanted while Talia did everything while actually struggling through a meaningful break-up. I really loved Talia though and the mystery surrounding why their parents don't talk anymore was enough to keep me reading. — Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review. ___ │Blog│Instagram│Twitter│Tumblr│

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