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Without Chance by Christopher Bailey
Ryan had lost everything. His mother recently died of cancer, and his father had completely shut down after her death. His father even dragged him away from the city he'd grown up in, forcing him to leave all of his friends to move to a tiny, backwater town called Turnbridge, hundreds of miles from anything remotely interesting. Even the school's social scene seemed to revolve around activities and sermons at the local church.

Then he met Chance. Chance was quiet and friendly, and was an extreme social outcast due to his sexual orientation. He was also obsessed with an unsolved murder that had taken place two years previously. Everyone was convinced it was a suicide. Everyone except Chance, who believed the victim had been targeted due to his homosexuality.

Ryan didn't believe him until the accidents started, all seeming to focus around Chance. With the local culture so hostile toward the gay population, there were too many suspects and not nearly enough time as they tried to stop a killer who hunted in the name of God.

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Aug. 16th, 2017 06:38 am
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Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Maria Mola

It's 32 pages, but it's so full of important moments.

Like Casey loving his sister Jessie's shimmery skirt, and wanting one of his own. And their mother bringing her son a shimmery skirt that his sister had outgrown.

"If Casey wants to wear a skirt, Casey can wear a skirt," she said. "I don't have a problem with that."

Casey and Jessie's father is equally awesome about Casey wanting to wear glittery nail polish, painting it on his son's nails himself.

And then their grandmother is equally - maybe especially - awesome about Casey wanting one of her sparkly bracelets, just like his sister.

There's the growing plot element of Jessie not liking his little brother Casey's doing all these things that boys "shouldn't do," but in the climactic moment, when some other boys lecture Casey about that very thing - that boys shouldn't sparkle, Jessie has her big moment - and as a big sister, she rises to the occasion!

I love this book.

And I want everyone to read it.

Including you.

Thank you, Lesléa, and thank you Maria.

For Sparkle Boy.

It's the love surrounding Casey that really sparkles.

And the example of how a family can nurture difference and see the beauty in it - in all its shimmery, glittery, sparkly splendor - is beautiful.

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