Cover Image: How to Be Remy Cameron

How to Be Remy Cameron

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Member Reviews

I didn't know it was possible, but somehow this book managed to amaze me even more than Julian Winters' first novel, Running With Lions. I went into How to Be Remy Cameron with sky-high expectations and came out awed.

What I especially appreciated about this book, is how incredibly thoughtful it is. There are discussions of what it actually means to be queer, how the world views queerness. There are explorations about what it's like to have been out and sure of yourself for a while, like Remy himself is, or to be new to coming out. And there's a lot of thought about how you can never really control who others think you are, only what you show the world.

Another important theme in this book is Remy being adopted. He thinks a lot about how this impacts his identity, and what it means to him personally.

Though for some the constant references might get a bit too much, for me they hit the nail every single time. I enjoyed them so much, especially the Yuri on Ice ones and the mentions of Benjamin Alire Saénz. 

A wonderful, quick yet brilliantly written read.
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I love this book! It's such a sweet look at identity and the labels that people force on others. It's a wonderful coming of age story. I loved following Remy's story as he figured out who he is and who he wants to be.
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As a disclaimer, I only read the first chapter of this book, so it's possible that the rest is much better. That said, within the first chapter, there was excessive use of ableist language (repetitive casual use of "lame"), and the tone of the text did not convince me. It was an unfortunate mix of detailed description and a type of crassness that I expect was meant to evoke a teenaged tone, but to me came across as stereotypical of both youth and the gay community. This is not a book that I would recommend.
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3.25 Stars

This book is an introspective journey that Remy, the main character, embarks on. He's trying to figure out who he really is and what the labels, that have been assigned to him throughout all his life, truly mean. I think it's an important read if the question "who am I" has ever crossed your mind, this book definitely puts things into perspective and makes you think, that's for sure. 
I would have liked to see more things happening also outside of Remy's journey of self-discovery, but this is only my personal preference.
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3.5 🌟————————————-
let’s just be frank 
this was super gay 
and I loved it

So, what’s this book about?
Remy Cameron is struggling with his identity. Adopted, Black and Gay are some labels that define parts of him but he is struggling to truly understand who he is. 

My Thoughts 
This book was enjoyable. It was a fast paced easy contemporary to read The writing style was very accessible and simple. 

It was fun and I had a great time 
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This book follows Remy, an out and proud gay teen, in his quest to find out who he is. I feel like the question “who am I really?” is something that everybody has asked themselves before, and this can be especially hard to answer when you are a marginalized person and you need to understand how your marginalizations intersect.

Personally I felt like the writing improved from the author’s debut and the book’s themes were also stronger. It was still a little awkward at times but I could overlook that in favor of the characters and the themes.

Overall I feel like this is an important book for all teens and I would highly recommend it if “who am I?” has ever crossed your mind.

TWs (taken from the end of the book): 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 is exactly the type of book that all teens need to read. It deals with complex issues, such as sexuality, race, and identity, with such a deft and nuanced hand. The romance was soft and sweet and very realistic. I particularly loved the way it highlighted the different experiences that queer people have with coming to terms with their own sexuality. Some people are out and proud, while others are still trying to figure things out and that's okay!

This is such an important and necessary book and I am so glad that it exists.
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This was really good. I haven't read Running with Lions but I heard good things about it, so I had my hopes up for this one. It did not disappoint. 

Remy was an amazing MC, with a really distinct voice. Sometimes YA gets repetitive with teen drama angst and the same problems in countless books. Not here, and I think it is because the book is so diverse (hint hint we need more diverse YA hint hint).
While the romance between Remy and Ian is not the central point of the story, it was adorable and I wish we got more of it. I wasn't sure about the adoption topic (it hits close to home) but it was handled very well.
On the flip side, there were too many characters, making almost imposible to remember who was who.

Overall, it was a really good story and I wish all YA books were as good as this one.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley
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An amateurish dip into the oversaturated YA romance market. 
I stopped reading this about around 20 minutes ago and I literally can't remember any of the characters names and especially the love interests name and entire personality.
A forgettable read, unfortunately. 
Once again diversity wasn't enough.
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No one is more disappointed by this turn of events than me. I really liked Running with Lions, so was eagerly anticipating this book. It just turned out not to be for me.

How to be Remy Cameron is a coming of age story, about the eponymous Remy Cameron, an adopted gay black kid. When Remy is asked to write an essay about himself as part of a class, he starts to question everything he has heretofore been labelled as. (Side note: you Americans actually get assignments like this in a literature class? I feel so sorry for you.)

I think the easiest way to write this review is to show you the notes I made (which mostly detail why the book didn’t work for me). So.

* Your MC popping a stiffy every time he sees a dude is not a substitute for showing his sexuality, thanks. That just felt awkward and also passes on the message being gay equates to sex.

* References to popping a boner when seeing some dude complete a perfectly normal activity (e.g. pushing his glasses up): innumerable. Maybe you need to see someone about that, Remy.

* Enough with the pop culture references (associated cringes: 1 (thankfully), Harry Potter references: 9). To be fair to this book though, it wasn’t nearly so bad as What if It’s Us. I mean, for one, there were no full body cringes (for which I am eternally grateful).

* Remy: Ian’s art is familiar where might I have seen that before. Hmm no clue.
  (cut to me, banging my head on a table)

* Remy: It can’t be Ian, he’s Brook’s friend.
  (banging intensifies)

* I mean, to be fair though, I was wrong here. But at the time it sounded stupid.

* Remy stop talking to Ian before I die of secondhand embarrassment from how much you cannot control what you say around him (cringes: 4).

* Can you not posit being demisexual as being “not straight” because you can be both? They are fundamentally different things, they are not mutually exclusive. Being straight or gay is mutually exclusive, i.e. you cannot be both, but demisexuality and heterosexuality are two distinct concepts.

On top of all this, I have to admit I found the book dragged a lot. There were whole passages that I just skimmed else I would have fallen asleep. I think that this was mostly because not a lot happened in the plot. It’s a very introspective book (no bad thing if you like that), and I’m just not the person for those.

But anyway. Don’t take my word for it, because each to their own and everything. You might love this in a way I couldn’t.
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The publisher, Interlude Press, kindly offered me an advanced reader copy (ARC) of How to Be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters via NetGalley. Yet, this is an honest review of the book expressing my humble opinion.

How to Be Remy Cameron is a modern classic that should be at every school library. In fact, it should be included in the curriculum. Just thinking how many teens this book will heal and soothe makes me cry. 

The author manages to weave nuances regarding race, sexuality, and identity effortlessly and while maintaining a lighthearted mood throughout the book. All these questions about who Remy was touched my very soul. The book is about soul-searching and identity-discovery. It's really hard to handle all the labels we're assigned. Not just teens like Remy, but even adults. How to Be Remy Cameron demonstrates that in a such authentic, spiritual, and realistic way that leaves me breathless every time I think about it. 

There's no doubt that this is a perfect story told by the perfect person. I absolutely adore this book. All the characters were magnificent. The story-telling was great. This book is like a gift from the heavens, one we don't deserve but desperately need. 

This book is special and magical. And one everyone must read. 

I'm honored to having read the ARC of this book and more than willing to shout it from the rooftops. HOW TO BE REMY CAMERON is one of the best contemporaries I've ever read, and Julian Winters is definitely an auto-buy for me. He writes a book, I need to read it. We all need to read it.

5 stars are not enough. I'd give this book and its author all the stars in the galaxy. – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Author: Julian Winters
Publisher: Interlude Press/Duet Books
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I liked this a lot. It’s nuanced but not too heavy, and the cover art is just fantastic. Kinda want to smooch all of Remy’s friends,
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This book gave me intense feelings. It deals with being labelled against one's own wishes. And I’m not talking about misgendering or anything, but like, being forced to acknowledge you're different from people. Like, when someone told five year old Remy he was "different" because he is "adopted" that hit hard because it made me think of my own ways of how I was labelled as "girly" and "prudish" because of my hijab and my interests.

Remy's conflict over how it all affects him without him even choosing it hit me hard because I went through the same ordeal of being thought of as "something" when I didn't know who I was. I resented people who made up their minds about me without getting to know me. Telling me I wasn't Persian enough because I didn't speak the language. Telling me I couldn't be nonbinary because well, look at me, I wear hijab and I am so overwhelmingly feminine. 

When I chose none of this.

I didn't choose to have my body, or the labels. I sometimes wish I could remove the labels I adopted two years ago. I wish I could remove them from my brain even but today, as I read How To Be Remy Cameron, I was struck with how my labels are mine. They're mine to define even if they existed before and they'd go on to exist after I’m gone.

There is a powerful message in this book that touched deep in my heart.

One point there: at one point, a character's sister tells Remy that the character is demisexual when Remy didn't know. She outed her brother in a way. I didn't know how to feel especially because the character never had a single word spoken in the book. It took something from him especially since the book focuses a lot, Remy focuses a lot, on not outing Ian who comes to term with how comfortable he is with being out.
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So many good concepts went into this book. It’s a patchwork of beautiful ideas, a warm & cozy blanket. It’s also made of wool, though, so I can’t touch it for too long.

Things I absolutely loved include: supportive parents who joke around with their kids and talk them through difficult situations; a gay character whose arc didn’t revolve around coming out; a whole pleiad of gay characters, actually, more or less secondary, but never stereotypical; that trope I adore and want to see more of where a person doesn’t forgive their parent just because of the (imagined) blood-tie, and more.

Like I said, all the ideas that this book is build of, are amazing. It’s full of positive energy, of love for the world & for people in it, of joy. It wants to share that joy with you, as you read on. 

It’s just that while I can appreciate all that, I’m not the right kind of person to appreciate the writing itself, I’m afraid. I found it dry and a little bit boring at times, and cringy when it comes to dialogues. And let’s not even mention all those Harry Potter references… (I counted nine and I’m not sure if I didn’t miss a few.)

There were also those two instances of talking about homosexuality as if it’s all about a person’s sex life and the romantic attraction doesn’t play any role in it. I mean, come on! You’re gay even if you don’t have a sex life at all. Let’s not bring the split attraction model into books for teens (or any books, period).

In the end, How to Be Remy Cameron is a pretty cool book tackling a bunch of important issues in a respectful way. I just wish I could like the style of its prose more.
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Did you ever question yourself about your existence in this vast universe?

If yes, then you are not alone because experiencing this existential crisis seems ubiquitous to every human being. But the statement does not stop there. With every one of us having unique personality and characteristics, each of us have different way of throwing all the whys of ourselves to whoever we believe into. Why am I telling you this?

Because that is what How to be Remy Cameron is all about. A story of identity and finding confidence. Rembrandt Joshua Cameron is not your average teen. First of all he is black, he is adopted, and he is the first openly-gay student of Maplewood High. With these labels come a lot of responsibilities and expectations from everyone. And that is what drowned our main character, Remy Cameron.

The very first thing I love about this book is its feel-good vibe. The story tackles the very basic foundation of life, our own story, our family background, and story of friendships. Remy Cameron may be the super-popular black, gay teen of Maplewood but deep inside, he holds a lot of hole that needs to be patched with answers.

I also like how raw the scenes in this story are, not too-overwhelming but just in the right meter to tug my heart. I also love how real the passages delivered in this book are. I highlighted a lot of important sentences that the author cleverly crafted.

Moving on, I want to commend Julian Winters for bringing this diversity gem to the bookish community. We need more books like this, which needs to be read by wide audience.

If I would be leaving my space with something that stayed with me after reading this book, it would be that curiosity is never bad. Sometimes, we really need to look for answers for our unending questions, not just to satisfy ourself, but to make the incomplete puzzle whole. That's it for now. Ciao.

Rating: 4stars
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Julian Winters took everything I loved about Running With Lions and amplified it by a thousand. Remy was such a  genuine narrator and I adored him immediately. Every serious topic was handled amazingly.  I think that everyone needs to read this book.
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Powerful, moving, and just so special! I loved this book so hard and think everyone on the planet should give it a read!
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Just like "Running with Lions," Julian Winters has done it again with "How to Be Remy Cameron."  Not only is this book incredibly important in terms of its thematic elements but I think it will open a lot of doors for teens looking for answers to the question, "Who am I?" and understanding that no matter who you are (or how old you are), sometimes there isn't an answer to that question, and that's okay.  Additionally, the way that it handles labels - how we label ourselves, how others label us, and how we label others is handled so thoughtfully, that it begs for opportunities for discussion making this an excellent choice for teen book clubs.  Honestly, I cannot recommend this book enough and I think its a book that every teen will want in their life as well as every adult who may not have had a book like this when they needed it most.
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Remy Cameron, I won't soon forget you.

What a refreshing read. I absolutely adored the easy pacing of this book. The secondary characters fell flat at times, but overall I found myself really enjoying the way it all tied together It felt a lot like high school. 

This book is so quotable, and I cannot wait to order the final copy to highlight and annotate. Such a fun read, and perfect for every fan of Love, Simon.

Full review to be published on my blog on publication day!
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How to Be Remy Cameron is a terrific book that is all about figuring out who you are. Julian Winters has written an infinitely relatable main character, Remy. So many teens struggle with figuring out who they are and what defines them. This book helps readers realize that whoever we are, we are good enough!
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