Title: How to Be Remy Cameron
Author: Julian Winters
Year Published: 2019
Publisher: Duet (Imprint of Interlude Press)
Genre: Young Adult ~ Contemporary ~ LGBQT+ characters ~ Romance
Rep: Gay main character, adopted main character, Black main character, Korean-American love interest.
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc through Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. The image header and the quote edits used is my own and the link in the book’s details is to the book’s Goodreads’ page. All quotes given in the review are from the e-arc and therefore might not be accurate. The summary is my own (well, I summarised the Goodreads description). All opinions expressed are my own.
Remy Cameron: The adopted brother, the gay student. The president of the GSA. Who is he really? That’s what Remy is trying to figure out in the midst of being tasked to write an essay about who he is – which would be daunting for anyone. But here Remy is. Hoping to figure himself out. While also maybe finding love?
Trigger/Content Warnings: They are at the the end of the book (!! Love to see this!), but I’ll add them in here. – as in this is lifted from the end of the book and not me noting which tw/cw I pick’ed up. Discussions of racism, homophobia, past minor characters’ death and alcoholism. Depictions of homophobic bullying, and a scene involving brief sexual harassment/racial fetishism.
I love this book so so much! Julian is such an incredible writer. Everything that Julian writes I immediately love and snap up and as soon as I finish reading the book, I instantly want to read it again. Seriously, if you haven’t read one of his books before, you need to! Either this or his debut, Running With Lions. Please and thank you.
A thing I’ve always loved about Julian’s writing (one of the SUPER SUPER many, ok) is that he writes SUCH relatable characters – like I can easily imagine seeing these characters on the street, and what’s more, easily being able to chat with them. Also!! The secondhand embarrassment I get from these characters? Is a super big YES from me because it allows me to further connect with the characters and bond with them. And I just love secondhand embarrassment – mostly because I still get to FEEL that awful embarrassing feeling, but it’s not happening TO me.
The plot’s basically about Remy trying to figure out what to put into the essay, how he’s meant to define himself if he’s still trying to find and define himself; and I thought that was great because a lot of contemporary novels are set like that – characters trying to figure themselves out, playing different roles until they find the one that works for them.
There’s other sub-factors; Remy tries to find out more about his biological family – which I thought was nicely written (I’m not adopted, so I can’t speak on that rep). There’s also graffiti that pops up and now and then and lemme tell you, I had my suspicions about the artist, but I was wrong and pleasantly surprised at that.
You get some books where you can sort of tell the author wrote the book, you know? Sure, their writing voice can either be strong or weak, but there’s another voice, a more personal voice than the writing voice. With Julian’s books, there’s just so much of his personal touch that shines through and that’s something else I love really a lot.
Are you a fan of secondhand embarrassment like I am? Does writing essays about yourself send shivers down your spine like me? Chat to me down below in the comments!