Cover Image: How to Be Remy Cameron

How to Be Remy Cameron

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Remy is such a wonderful relatable character. He is truly authentic and keeps you engrossed in the story.
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This book caught my attention because of its cover. A boy with a lovely queer shirt and a beagle. I was very lucky when I got to receive a Netgalley E-arc copy and the truth is that it was good to go without expectations because I liked this one a lot.

Rembrandt Cameron (aka Remy) is a 17-year-old man <b>that is popular at his school: he came out at 14 and is very proud. He is the president of the hetero-homosexual alliance club and he is also very friendly and admired by everyone. </b>But Remy himself doesn't think he's as cool as they say: he's an adopted, black gay kid in a white family. Although the Camerons are wonderful (and Clover the beagle is amazing, as everyone says), Remy has his entire future ahead of him and an essay assignment from his literature class will lead him to discover things he didn't know about himself.

I liked How to be Remy Cameron because I was genuinely surprised with certain themes it included and how engaged I was with the story. When we believe that we know everything about ourselves, <b>things happen that make us reevaluate our relationships with others, with our family and friends, and most of all, we learn to understand and love ourselves more.</b>

The story is told from Remy's pov and we also have a well-rounded cast of characters. His family and friends (even Clover, the super adorable dog) have dialogues and scenes that make them stand out a lot and I truly appreciated. Even teachers have representation in this book and I'm glad because when stories are set in school-related enviroments, teachers tend to be invisible. The story has a lot of diversity as well and although some characters are more defined than others, I really enjoyed all of them.

Although sometimes dialogues were a bit weird (as if all the characters were too great to give sarcastic or intelligent answers all the time) and a certain plot point and its resolution was very rushed and dissapointing, <b>I think that the book manages to build a great story with a really nice voice like Remy's to tell us about self-esteem and growth and how the labels that others put us do not define who we are. Only we know the truth.</b>

Overall, I really enjoyed Julian Winters' books and I will keep an eye on his upcoming novels. This book would make a great YA movie. Hope it happens.
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"But who are we without our labels? Do our labels define us, or do we give definition to our labels? I think it's the latter. I'm still learning."

How to be Remy Cameron is the story of a teen struggling to find himself amidst the myriad labels placed on him by society - black, gay, adopted, older brother, friend. He seems confident, outgoing and self-assured but when asked to write an essay about who he is, he struggles. Thus begins a journey of self-discovery that has him learning about his past and reflecting upon his future.

I enjoyed this book but I didn't love it. The beginning, where we learn about Remy, his friends and his family, took too long for me. Nothing happened - sure, we got to know Remy but it took so long that I began to wonder if this book was just going to be all about a gay guy hanging with his crew, which was going to get old fast. Then Remy gets assigned the "Essay of Doom" and bam, the book takes off. Confident, out-since-he-was-fourteen Remy doesn't know what to write and so he begins a process of self-discovery. Despite the fact that this process is a bit angsty and occasionally cliched for my tastes, it was nice that the book was finally going somewhere and exploring important topics such as identity, consent, adoption and more. I really enjoyed the relationship that Remy developed with his birth sister, heretofore unknown to him. It would have been easy to take this discovery down a saccharine path, with sappy "oh I'm so glad we found each other" scenes but Winters doesn't do that. He builds the relationship slowly and cautiously, allowing Remy and his sister to feel out who they are to one another and also allowing Remy to figure out how to fit the idea of his birth mother in to his life and identity. Similarly, Winters also gives Remy a realistic love interest, again slowly building the relationship between the two characters, with all of the awkwardness of teen romances. Finally, Remy's family is the perfect background to this process of self-discovery - a safe, supportive place to land with a cute little sister, a goofy dad and a mom with a shoulder to lean on. 

In the end, this book is not an action-driven novel but a character-driven one. If that's your jam, then you will love this book; Winters does a great job of developing the characters slowly and conscientiously. If you need a bit more action, then you will likely find How to be Remy Cameron too slow as the action scenes are few and far between. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Duet Publishing for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
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Thank you to Interlude Press/Duet Books and NetGalley for the advance copy!

Remy, like most teenagers, is trying to figure out who he is. He knows he is more than the various labels ascribed to him: gay, black, adopted, fashionable, president of the GSA. But WHO is he?? Remy is tasked with writing an essay for his AP Lit class that tells who he is, but is finding it impossible to figure that out.

Remy's life is populated with an entertaining cast of supporting characters who all highlight different aspects of his personality. Willow, Remy's younger sister, might be my favorite. Remy often looks to her and admires her willingness to be herself without caring what anyone else thinks, while at the same time wishing he could do it too.

I think this book handles the many issues teenagers can deal with in a very real way. Nothing is really black or white in real life, and the same is true for Remy's world. Sure, there are other gay kids at his school, but not all of them want to join the GSA. And that's okay. There isn't one way to be gay, just like there isn't one way to be a teenager. I think Winters handles that really well.

I really enjoyed this book, and thought it was a refreshing take on modern teenagers and the issues they deal with. This is the first of Julian Winters' books that I've read, and I will definitely be picking up anything new he writes.
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I wish this book existed when I was in high school.

How To Be Remy Cameron is one of my favorite 2019 contemporaries. I absolutely fell in love with the characters and their relationships. Not only does Remy have a supportive friend group, he has an amazing family as well. It’s so refreshing to read a story where the conflict is mostly internal rather than leaning on “bad” characters who exist solely to drag the protagonist down.

It was an absolute pleasure following Remy on his journey to self discovery. I truly believe everyone has had or will have one of these “aha!” moments. This was an incredibly powerful read, and I can’t help but wonder how my life would have been different if I read it sooner.
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*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Interlude Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*

I LOVED Julian Winters' other YA book <i>Running With Lions</i>, so I had very high expectations for this book. Unfortunately, I much preferred <i>Running With Lions</i> to <i>How to Be Remy Cameron</i>. Don't get me wrong, this is still a great book and if you usually enjoy this kind of book you will totally love this. I think that this 

Things I loved:
-The <i>Yuri!!! on Ice</i> mention! I love a good YOI fandom mention!
-DIVERSITY!
-Although the pace was slow to begin with, it picked up in the second half of the book.

Things I didn't love so much...
-The pacing was slow.
-It felt like nothing was happening for several chapters.
-Subplots were meh.

Overall, this is not for me. I tend to prefer a more hard hitting contemporary, or something similar to Julian Winters' previous YA contemporary. This definitely has it's audience, that audience is just not me.
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A wonderful second now from Julian a Winters. Such strong characters and personalities. Remy is such a well written character I feel like I already know him. Such a fun, sweet read.
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Though I may not teach Remy Cameron, I would certainly recommend it for the YA book club I help run at my school. Remy is black, adopted, and gay, and he feels these labels define him. Do they really give the full picture of who he is? When Remy has to write an essay for AP literature about who he is, he is stumped and stressed. This leads him to question a lot of things around him, including some of his relationships. 

I enjoyed this book because Remy is just so charming. The novel is very well-written, and the message very relatable. Even if we do not find ourselves in Remy's shoes, I think most of us understand wondering what makes us who we are.
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Before being assigned an essay that asked the question: “Who am I?” (aka The Essay of Doom), Rembrandt “Remy” Cameron thought he had himself all figured out. He considered himself a pretty chill guy, with great taste in fashion and indie music, and with a kick-ass family, an awesome dog, two amazing BFFs, and a pretty cool group of friends. He is also, unfortunately, a guy dealing with the pain of a break-up and wise enough to swear off boys and focus on himself. However, all the invisible cracks in Remy’s assurance of self are quickly exposed, not just under the pressure of his assignment being worth 70% of his grade in AP Literature (the class that his college plans are riding on), but the unexpected and unwelcome pressure the nature of the question places on him.

The Essay of Doom forces Remy to confront questions and uncomfortable feelings that have bubbled to the surface throughout his life, and that he’d quashed relentlessly —until now. Questions such as: how or even if he truly fits into the tapestry of the Cameron family after the birth of a biological, “miracle” child; whether he can truly know who he is if he doesn’t know his birth parents; and if there is such a thing as being too gay, or not black enough, or if it even matters who he is if people only judge him based on the beliefs they have about the labels they attach to him. In the course of the story, Remy is taken on a journey that heals the cracks and doubts he has by teaching Remy things about himself and his family and friends, as well as bringing new people into his life who help him learn and grow.

I enjoyed the story and how Winters uses Remy’s perspective and journey to discuss topics such as homophobia, racism, bullying, religion, depression, and alcoholism without it being too heavy-handed or preachy. Unlike his previous book, "Running with Lions", which is written in the 3rd person present tense, "Remy" is written in 1st person from Remy’s POV, so that how and why the essay affects Remy so much and everything that happens to him feels more impactful and personal.

Remy’s transition from cool and confident to suddenly (metaphorically) stumbling over his own two feet, questioning who he is, who he wants to be, and desperately wishing to return to the comfort of the “known,” for me is reminiscent of the beginning of Miles Morales’ journey in "Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse", whose big screen debut reintroduced me to a character I already loved, so full disclosure, by that point in the story I was primed to love Remy. However, I grew to love Remy based on his personal struggles with dealing with the dichotomy of young adulthood: being treated as a child while being expected to act and think as an adult; having adults talk of “we” and being a team when they map out their plans for your future, while they simultaneously ignoring your input and feelings because you’re too young to know what is best for yourself, yet expected to know what you want to be “when you grow up” and plan accordingly. It was also hard not to find his sudden splintering into different, sometimes contradictory and confusing, needs and ideas about belonging, prejudice, identity, love, and relationships compelling and relatable, especially as he searches for validation from those closest to him, while simultaneously isolating himself.

While the majority of the narrative revolves around Remy’s Essay of Doom and the secrets and revelations it unearths, there is a romance intertwined to lighten the teenage identity crisis overload. As cool as Remy is, he freely admits he has absolutely no chill when he’s interested in a boy, and this is VERY apparent when he meets Ian Park. Ian, a new student, has started the coming out process with a few family members, but is by no means ready to come out at school. Their romantic comedy-esque, syrupy as Southern sweet tea courtship is filled with awkwardness of the limbs and words, weird flattery, and enough heat generated from blushing to warm the Arctic. I enjoyed Ian and Remy’s dynamic, and there is enough depth, backstory, and development given to Ian that he’s a fleshed-out HFN partner for this Remy-centric tale, although I feel like the balance between how their relationship progressed is a bit off.

Generally, the pacing is a little uneven to me in places, which is one of the struggles with first person, especially with a story so entrenched in inner turmoil. It’s hard not to be repetitive or make some secondary storylines seem rushed or frankly, left unresolved completely. Unless there’s a book à la "Leah On the Offbeat" in the works for a certain character, I do have to raise my eyebrow at a particular “resolution” flyby Winters gives of some old-fashioned friendship drama Remy has. Another element to the writing style that made it a bit odd for me at the beginning is that several characters are introduced in a way that makes it seem as if I’m coming into a series, I’m guessing in order to avoid info dumping. But not in the “cool, I feel like I know this character” way, but rather the, “wait, do I need to go read another book” kind of way. Sometimes, the inner monologues and dialogue feel this way too—a little abrupt and/or lacking in transition. Sometimes this works, in the scattered/random thoughts kind of way, other times, not so much.

That being said, I enjoyed "How to Be Remy Cameron". I won’t lie; it will make some readers uncomfortable. As light a hand as Winters takes with discussions on being black, stereotyping in general, and growing up with a white family and/or in predominately white neighborhoods (and in one VERY realistic scene of fetishization), being told from the perspective of a black man who has lived these experiences can elicit a range of emotions. However, the most important thing I took from Remy, and what I love most about it, is why Remy struggles so much with the concepts of labels and groups—because of his hope for one day not needing them. That one day there wouldn’t need to be a Gay Straight Alliance club to provide a safe space for queer kids because they would be treated like straight people, i.e. just people. That one day, he would just be a Cameron; it wouldn’t matter that he’s black or adopted because his love for his family and theirs for him is viewed the same regardless. That one day, people will simply judge others by who they are and by their actions, rather than by the preconceived ideas attached to whatever labels others perceive. So, if you enjoy YA fiction, coming-of-age stories, teenage snark and insecurity, boys awkwardly dating but not-dating, and one young man’s journey to discover that you never really answer the “who am I question,” but that it’s the asking that’s important, then you’ll probably enjoy "How to Be Remy Cameron".
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Remy Cameron is a happy-go-lucky 16 year old, with a great family, excellent best friends, and the best dog in the world. He believes he has the best taste in music and is the president of the school’s GSA group, being out and proud since he was 14. From this position of settled, grateful and in control, Remy’s life starts to blur.

The narrative drive develops when Remy’s AP English teacher demands an essay from him, defining who he is. Suddenly everything that seemed so certain is no longer clear-cut. Remy starts to doubt and question everything, and the longer he procrastinates with the essay, the more demanding every part of his life becomes.

While there is much humour and pop cultural references to amuse and appeal to nerdy readers, Winters also manages to throw in come serious talking points, but never comes across as didactic or preachy. Yes, he wants young people to know that it’s never a cool thing to out anybody, or to bully more vulnerable individuals, but he does it in such a way that it emerges from the storyline organically and with style (just like Remy).

It’s all about labels given to us. Remy has many: Black, adopted (into a white family), and gay. But he’s also a brother, a friend and boy who has suffered a broken heart. He starts to notice how people define him by the labels they apply to him, and he realises that he does the same to other people. We are all guilty of lumping people into categories because we are lazy or easily influenced. Winters wants us all to be more nuanced with how we deal with the people around us, and to take the time to dig beneath the surface levels that are shown to the world.

When Remy starts a secret relationship with a closeted boy, another really important topic emerges: that of consent. I loved the way they asked each other questions, ‘can I hold your hand?’, ‘may I kiss you?’. These things may appear simple, but behaving in this way shows respect and care, and we have seen a lot about these issues in the media to know that many people seem ignorance of basic manners and etiquette .

Remy’s self-awareness and growing sense of a true identity are dealt with extremely authentically. Yes, some people could argue that Winters tries too hard with his slang and musical and cultural references. But Remy is such a genuinely good kid, it’s hard to let these little niggles stop us from cheering him all the way to discovering his best self.

Be true to you. It’s a concise and strong message.

Thanks to Dial Books and Netgalley for advanced copy. Recommended for teenagers who love their contemporary full of diversity and inclusiveness. There are lots of laughs to be had, and lots of triumphant moments for more people than just Remy. The secondary characters have their own arcs to pursue. I loved its happy and satisfying resolution. How to be Remy Cameron will be out (in the US) on September 10.
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This was so good. Julian Winters is good at characters and romances. Remy and Ian are so awkward and perfect. It also touched on important topics in an excellent way. I absolutely loved this book, and I'm excited for his next book that was just announced today!
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Remy began suffering from an identity crisis following an AP Lit assignment. The assignment plus the emergence of a piece of his past plus a new love interest had Remy tied up in knots, but with the support of his family and friends, he came out on the other side a bit wiser and with some clarity.

Let's just get this out of the way - I LOVE Remy! Maybe it was his penchant for putting together the perfect outfit, or how much affection had for his little sister. It could have been the devotion he had for his dog, or perhaps, the genuinely loving and healthy relationship he shared with his parents. Whatever it was, I loved him, and because of that, I was delighted to be a part of his journey as he tried to figure his stuff out.

Winters gifted Remy with such an amazing community. I adored his family so much, I wanted them to adopt me. That house was overflowing with love, and they always seemed to be able to make time for each other. Every second spent with them filled me with joy, and they were all so fortunate to have each other. These are the YA families that will always own me, and I am over the moon to be seeing more and more families like this.

Remy also had some outstanding friends. They had a few ups and downs over the course of this story, but these were rock solid friendships. Their devotion to each other was not something I questioned, and each always seemed to have the other's back, when necessary. I adored his two besties, but there were these moments between Brook and Remy, that really warmed my heart. It's not as if men like them don't exist, but I am such a fan of seeing men share their feelings and emotions with each other, and it's fantastic to see more of this in books too.

One of the big things Remy struggled with was all the labels he had been assigned or had assigned himself. I was all over every second of this conversation, because I feel like we over-label these days. Maybe it's because I was a kid in the 70s, when I was taught to look at how we were all the same, but I never liked labeling or subscribing to labels. Winters approached the topic in a thoughtful manner, and did a nice job providing multiple views of it.

This book was near perfection for me. I know you all have heard me lament about this before, but I finished eight books last week, and SIX had allusions to Harry Potter. So, as I gleefully made my way through this book, I was also rolling my eyes at all the HP references. PLEASE authors, I am begging you - find another book!

Overall 

It was an utter delight getting to know Remy Cameron, and it was a privilege to be able to accompany him on his journey of self discovery. This book was brimming with introspection and thoughtful observations about the world we live it, but the best part was how it overflowed with love, and my grinch-heart got quite a workout as I read this book.
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I have such a soft spot for this book, and it's not just because Remy loves POP ETC (SAME, REMY!). It's a sweet book about a teenager figuring out his way.

Remy is black, gay, and adopted. But do those things define who he is? He's not sure, but he needs to write an essay about who he is for a school assignment. There's a lot riding on this assignment - specifically his future college career. But he can't figure out what to write. Is he only his labels?

But when he suddenly makes a tentative connection with a member from his birth family, things become even more complicated. 

Pick up this book! It's a quick read and it's good. Definitely a sweet read that I recommend!
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How to Be Remy Cameron is a lighthearted look into the life of a gay, black, adopted teenager who is just trying to find himself and better understand who he is and where he is headed in life after high school. It obviously deals with heavy topics but remains humorous throughout, while also throwing in some romance and overall relatability. 

I genuinely had a lot of fun while reading this. As far as I can remember, it is a very real look at the stress of junior year of high school in the US. I also really, really enjoyed the romance between Remy and the love interest in this story, I found the way their relationship developed to be SO cute. 

Where this book ultimately fell short for me was the writing. It was unfortunately one of those books where it was clear that the teenage characters were being written by someone much older, and therefore did not come off as realistic in the slightest. A lot of the jokes and pop culture references were just very cringy and felt forced out in order to establish who these characters were, and they didn't end up benefitting the story at all. 

I also felt that there were many important topics introduced through the main and supporting characters (race, religion, sexuality, and many more) and none of them were explored to their fullest, which muddled the narrative of the story for me. 

All in all, I think this would be great for a lot of readers in the target audience who are looking for representation in many forms. The cast in this novel was incredibly diverse and was what I enjoyed most about it. It was a shame the overall execution did not entirely end up working out for me.
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Loved Remy Cameron!!! Some of my favourite aspects: the family dynamic (Remy actually likes his sibling and I loved reading their interactions, his parents are still together and their relationship felt refreshing) honestly really reminded me of the family in Easy A, (which is goals), there’s a puuuuuppppyyyyyyyy, all the pop-culture references (Harry Potter, The Breakfast Club, POP ETC, and so many more), male cheerleader/female quarter back side characters (gender norms? What gender norms?), the romance was sweet and fluffy, and the overarching focus on the use of labels and their significance in society. How to Be Remy Cameron is a self-discovery/growing-up story about an out-and-proud, adopted, POC main character who is assigned a school essay to describe himself and the journey of self-discovery that that inspires.
If you are looking for a quick cute contemporary that explores important discussions like the role that labels have in today’s society and the importance of letting people define themselves, then I’d totally suggest this one!
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Review will be posted on my blog and on Goodreads on September 10th. 

How to be Remy Cameron gave me many many feelings when I was approved for an eARC on NetGalley, and then it gave me many many feelings when I read it.

I was a new blogger, my stats aren't great, and I had no hope at all I would ever be accepted. And then I was. Cue feelings. The ohmygod how is this happening to me is life actually good feelings.

How to be Remy Cameron is a heartwarming and uninhibited look at what it means to be you, at the pressure of labels, at becoming who you want to be in the world.

Told from the eyes of Remy, an adopted, black, gay teen, the book follows him as he is given an AP Literature assignment to write an essay about who he is. Remy finds himself under so much pressure to know who he is outside of his labels of 'adopted' or 'black' or 'gay' and wants to be known as someone other than that token kid. But he doesn't know who he is and can't get past the pressure he feels to be these labels.

How to be Remy Cameron is a wonderful look at family and friends and love. Throughout the book, Remy finds himself wondering about his family, about where he came from, how he fits into his adopted family; he questions his friends who seem so put together compared to him; and he questions his feelings as he begins to fall for Ian, the new kid at school.

The portrayal of both family and friendship in this book is just phenomenal. It really breaks so many stereotypes about what and who makes a family. Remy is such a brilliant older brother, who is so protective and loving with his sister Willow. His parents are supportive and have never made him feel lesser for being adopted (yes! A YA book with an amazing parent relationship where the teen isn't constantly breaking rules and trying to get away from them!)

The romance is just as great - Remy has recently been in a bad break-up, and swears off men. Of course, immediately enter attractive, glasses-wearing Ian who drinks matcha coffee and draws brilliant art. The romance doesn't feel rushed or hurried and plays out beautifully.

I also really enjoyed all the pop culture references. I go back and forth on whether I like this in books, but it didn’t feel overused here, and it often made me snort with laughter, so Winters nailed the pop culture referencing!

There are definitely moments in this book which tug at your heart, but it's not a sad book. It's happy and uplifting and a beautifully diverse YA which showcases the variety of labels and stereotypes and really makes you wonder about who you are.
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*ARC given for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Winter’s first novel, Running With Lions, was a stellar debut and this book is no sophomore slump. His writing and ability to bring heavier themes into his work has improved and so the deeper topics that Remy ruminates about throughout this book are well-woven throughout the larger narrative of the story. 

Remy is adopted, is black and gay, and has a white family so he is dealing with a lot in this book, but it never comes off as whiny or a throwaway to try to add depth to the story. Every major topic introduced is important to the story. I think Remy’s “who you are” essay was a smart way to have Remy deal with identity issues without having the traditional high school angst that some YA/New Adult books like to do. No offense to those books they are just not my thing (my own HS angst was enough for me!). 

Another great thing Winters does is use the secondary characters to help Remy solve internal struggles, but also to move him away from them to see the bigger picture. They really help him live his life outside of his head so it’s more of a story than living in someone’s head for 300 pages. Also one of my great book pet peeves is random characters who serve one point in the story becoming throwaway characters. Winters builds up the secondary characters to be actual people who have their own lives and character. 

I am glad that YA authors don’t avoid heavy topics like race, sexuality, family, etc. because I think it’s important for younger people (and older people too!) to have a book and see a character like them dealing with similar issues. Also, one where LGBTQA+ people get a happy ending and a “regular” life (for lack of a better term). It seems so basic but seriously it’s so important. 

Going to get heavy for a second here so feel free to skip to the next paragraph, but I am old enough to know people who lost EVERY friend they knew to the AIDs crisis. I remember how terrible people were about talking about gay people in the 90s and early 2000s. Going from then to now and seeing books with happy LGBTQA+ kids in it is a DELIGHT.

This was a well-balanced book that dealt with serious topics but also was fun. Winters could have set himself up to fail dealing with these heavy topics, but he did them justice while still letting Remy have a life outside of his identity crises. I really enjoyed reading this book and I think other people will too. 

Warnings (provided by the author):
discussions of racism, homophobia, past minor characters' death, and alcoholism, as well as depictions of homophobic bullying, and a scene involving brief sexual harassment/racial fetishism
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This book follows Remy Cameron, an adopted, openly gay, black teen who is trying to figure out his place in the world and who he wants to be on his own terms. Remy is very well-liked by almost everyone but is facing the issue of not really knowing who he is. When he’s assigned an essay at school, Remy embarks on a journey of foregoing the labels attached to him by others and finding the ones he feels most comfortable with…even if that means fitting none at all.

Let’s be honest for a moment: the synopsis did not blow me away the first time I read it. Young adult novels have come a long way but this was and remains at the core of this genre: young teens trying to figure themselves out – so yeah, it’s not a new concept. We’ve had Charlie figuring out his identity in Perks of Being a Wallflower and have followed Simon Spier finding the courage to be himself out and proud in Simon vs. the Homo-Sapiens Agenda. True, each story brings their own personal twist to this coming-of-age story; whether it’d be a hidden trauma or hiding in the closet, each story helps us grow and feel less alone. How to Be Remy Cameron isn’t any different in this regard; indeed, many will probably love it for its genuinely sweet protagonist and the struggles of finding your place when everyone else already seems to know it before you do.

This read much like Winters‘ debut novel Running With Lions and surprisingly, I found myself faced with the same issues I had reading his first novel. There is nothing really wrong about the story, but it feels uncannily like the early beginnings of young adult literature – too much exposition, awkward teen speak that sounds a bit like The CW writers attempting to sound ‘young and hip’. It seems as though it might be trying a bit too hard to be relatable and perhaps worst of all, characters so set out to be unique that they end up feeling unremarkable in their quirky behaviour and colourful outfits. Another part I wasn’t a fan of was the constant repetition and the over-the-top description. In the beginning of the story, there is a heap of infodumping; whenever a new character enters the story or some object is described we get at least two paragraphs explaining why we are reading about this certain person or object at the moment. The actual story at hand is completely forgotten by the time you get through that exposition. And that’s fine at the outset of the story but it keeps happening throughout the book, even after all the facts have been well established.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed How To Be Remy Cameron just like I enjoyed Running with Lions – but I couldn’t tell you anything that really stuck with me beyond the pages. It was a conventional story, nice but nothing to write home about.

Putting all of this aside, I feel like this was definitely a me issue. Despite the awkward writing style, I think a lot of young teens could benefit from reading this book, especially if you’ve ever asked yourself where you fit in the world, or if you don’t really know what labels are or why you should feel like they say anything definitive about you. I also liked the hints at intersectionality in this story and how labels can be something empowering if you claim then in your own way.

If you’re searching for an introspective journey of how to fit in this world if the labels you choose for yourself aren’t the ones chosen for you, this might be for you!
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This book mainly consists of the phrase “Essay of Doom”, Remy describing his boners, and teenagers giving each other the middle finger throughout their constant banter. Exploring the identity of a black, gay, adopted teen has tons of potential, but those themes were bogged down by the characters’ overcompensatingly “coolness”. For example, Remy would have pointed out that overcompensatingly is an “SAT word”. He points that out often because it’s one of his many quirks that make him ~witty~ and *not like other teens*. Julian Winters is obviously a very charismatic, funny person, and that comes through in his writing— but personally, I found it suffocating while reading. He tried to make Remy so unique and clever, but in the end I was just so annoyed by him. He also felt like a teen boy being written by an older man, which he is. That all said, there’s some good scenes mixed in here, and the themes are interesting when they’re also not affected by the slow pace. It took me what felt like forever to finish these 244 pages, and that’s because I had to keep taking breaks from boredom. The beginning and ending were good, but everything in between felt meh. I wanted to love Remy Cameron, but I’ll have to give Winters another chance some other time. 3.25/5 stars.
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Another really enjoyable and well written book by Julian Winters.

The story of Remy and his quest to understand who he is will resonate with readers young and old. His journey is ups and downs, a few tears but overall lots of love and self discovery. The supporting characters are great especially his parents, Rio, Lucy and Ian. It would be great if we could all have supportive environments to grow up in, like Remy does.

This is a great story.
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