GENRE: Young Adult, Teen, Contemporary, LGBT
The much anticipated second book in The Paper & Hearts Society series by Booktuber Lucy Powrie. Will you be the next recruit for The Paper & Hearts Society book club? For fans of Holly Smale and Super Awkward.
Olivia Santos is excited for her last year at secondary school. But when a parent complains about LGBTQ+ content in one of the books, the library implements a new policy for withdrawing books. Olivia is distraught – she’s demisexual and knows how important it is for all readers to see themselves represented.
Luckily, she’s the mastermind behind The Paper & Hearts Society book club, and she knows exactly what to do: start a new club, find ways of evading the system, and change the policy for good!
With two book clubs to run, exams to prepare for, and a girlfriend, just how long will it be before Olivia burns out? After all, creating a book club and trying to get the #ReadWithPride hashtag to get noticed is going to take a lot of energy.
Sometimes, when you’re in too deep, it’s up to your friends to look out for you…
One of my favourite debuts of all time was Lucy Powrie’s The Paper & Hearts Society, so naturally I was VERY excited to read Read With Pride on that basis. I’d connected so much to the characters in book one and really had “found my people”. That possibly was the one hesitation I had going into Read With Pride; I wasn’t sure how much I’d connect to how the characters were feeling; I’m not from the LGBT community. I definitely need not have worried however; this book was so inclusive and covered such a variety of characters and the issues raised were ones that I wholeheartedly agreed with the indignation that Olivia felt!
The key theme that the book starts with is the completely absurd rules brought in at her school that requires parental permission to read books that have LGBT themes – that kind of control and oppression is wrong! I’m fortunate that I’ve never had my reading limited by themes or age appropriateness – I’ve always been free to make my own choices about what I read and to assess their suitability for myself. I can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel to be told you can’t read something because it contains things that someone else has deemed inappropriate without good reason. I fully understood where Olivia was coming from.
I also really connected to Olivia in how she takes on too much! It was really important how Lucy highlighted that sometimes you don’t have to do everything yourself and that you can rely on others to help! Despite not featuring as much in the story, The Paper & Hearts Society really rallied round Olivia at her time of need and they showed how strong their friendship is – they really are a good bunch!
Overall, I really did enjoy Read With Pride! I did miss Tabby a lot as she’s really my favourite member of the society, but it was really interesting to see things from Olivia’s perspective and to see how actually I did have a fair bit in common with her! Yet again, Lucy’s writing was brilliant and made you want to keep reading, and was approachable to readers from the teen market upwards which is something I really love to find!