I always love reading books set in Philly, since I live in the only other major city in PA, and this was one of my favorites. I say this a lot but I have a deep love for messy, angry, flawed queer characters, and this book gave. I loved reading about Lex, and while she was a selfish, mean, person, she worked to grow and improve. Reading about how she struggled as a Black person and the stereotypes and expectations placed on her, the ones she fulfilled and the ones she didn't. This was a beautiful book and I'm so grateful that I was able to read it.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of the book through NetGalley!
Every Variable of us is a stunning and gripping novel that follows Lex, A black teenager that comes from an abusive home as she tries to find herself after getting shot and losing her chances of getting a basketball scholarship both academically and sexually.
I absolutely loved this book, and it's shocking to see that it's Bush's debut. The book while being a perfect YA Sapphic romance also tackles several other issues including stereotypes, Islamophobia, homophobia, etc.
It's pretty rare to see queer Indian representation, so it was great to see people like me represented in a book for the first time. I actually liked the way the love interest was portrayed and her parent's reaction to her coming out is similar to those of several parents in the Indian community. I didn't see any overplayed stereotype in the rep and I absolutely loved it.
All that being said, I did feel like the book could've been like 100 pages shorter because some parts of it just felt extensively dragged. I also didn't like the excessive Hollywood/Star Wars/ pop-culture references but that's more of a 'me' thing.
This book feels somewhat like hearing a story from a friend about the craziest year of their life and I was 100% here for it.
This is a voice-driven YA novel with intense characters and really self-aware writing: “And can I just point some messed up shit out? Two high school girls stealing a frozen pizza and hair extensions, and this guy feels it’s necessary to draw his weapon. And they wonder why there’s a new hashtag against the police every week.” (Copaganda rating? Zero. Excellent job.) One of the things I hate most about YA novels is their frequent refusal to name specifics or make pop culture references, and this book absolutely does not have that problem. However — and I realize this book was probably drafted before 2020 — there are a lot of Harry Potter references and it is now generally considered bad form to include Harry Potter references in queer novels, so I do wish that that had been edited before this book hit ARC metaphorical shelves. Love the casaul queers-in-STEM rep. Four stars.
The squeak of her sneakers as she ran across the court filled her ears as melodic music would fill a musician’s soul. The ball felt like home in her hands and she bounced it on the floor, feeling one with its mass. She gathered it, jumped up, shot, and heard that glorious swish as it hit nothing but net. She couldn’t help the grin that exploded across her face as she set up to run the drill again. But then a sweat broke across her brow and her heart began to race inside her chest… she sat up in a panic, greeted by nothing but darkness and a searing pain in her leg… it was all over. Her dream was shattered.
Every Variable of Us had all the ingredients of a beautiful YA novel. I can’t believe this was Charles’ first book! A debut story that deserves every ounce of praise as you journey along with Alexis in her strive to get out of the broken neighborhood she is caught up in. With the help of the most unlikely people and circumstances that change her life’s path completely, you will get a story that will settle in your heart and make a home within your soul. Heart-breaking, raw, real to the core, Every Variable of Us is a MUST READ.
If you’re a YA fan, love comeback stories, enjoy Marvel references, and love to read stories about characters finding themselves and discovering their identity… then you can’t miss out on this gem.
I can not recommend this book enough.
Alexis Duncan has a plan to get out of her neighborhood: she’s going to stay eligible to play basketball and get a scholarship. That plan crumbles when she’s shot and her leg suffers permanent damage. Aamani, the new girl in school, invites her to the STEM team so that Lex doesn’t have to completely give up on her hope to go to college. Alexis can’t completely give up on her old life, though, and she continues to find herself in harm’s way.
There were a lot of parts I really enjoyed in this book! I loved Alexis’s stream of consciousness, it really helped me get into the story and into her head. I liked how realistic it was—Alexis didn’t just completely shed every single aspect of her old life and made some decisions that shocked me. Also, girls in STEM! Love to see it.
I recommend this for YA contemporary readers.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
First of all i have to say I did really enjoy the book. The writing style was very easy to read and there was some great conversations about stuff like Racism, Ableism and Homophobia. There was also lots of representation which is I really enjoyed. The story line was okay, I really liked the involvment of STEM and the characters of that group.
Although I did like the main character, I wasnt the biggest fan of her relationship with Aamani. I felt like their ending was a very far reach since their relationship wasnt doing great for most of the book. I also really hated the heavily implied sex scene with a non-consenting third party in the same room. I also had trouble with the pop culture references. Besided there being a few bad takes (cant believe they called Revenge of the Sith a horrible movie tsss), I really did not agree with that there are Harry Potter references in this book. The Black Trans people who died for the lgbt+ community were mentioned multiple times and I do not agree with this being mentioned while also referencing work of a very influencal author who is trying to undo all their hard work.
It’s a great book with pretty awesome representation as far as I’m concerned. The main thing is the homophobia and Islam phobia that happen especially from Lex’s supposed group of friends. It really made me uncomfortable at times but other than that it was enjoyable and I loved seeing different characters (autistic character, Indian American lesbian etc) I did like how Lex came to terms with herself and how she eventually overcame most if not all of the obvious issues that she had at the beginning of the book.
overall it’s a good story with a few downfalls.
*thank you Net Galley for this ARC
Thank you, Net Galley and North Star Editions for giving me an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I'm going to say that I absolutely loved the concept. Two POC characters plus LGBT+ representation, I was all here for it. Alexis is a bold protagonist, I feel like she always kept her stance and view. Even if her friends or mother didn't agree with her. Her constant strive to go and do better, even when she was broken down and nearly gave up was beautiful to see. Her growth was massive and I really liked that.
Though, Aamani was my favourite throughout the book. As an Indian person myself it was great to see some queer representation! My favourite part would be when Aamani explain what a 'churidar' is to Alexis and why she has to wear it. The cross between cultures was delightful. The love story was also well developed and heartwarming to read.
However, I will say that there is an excessive amount of pop culture references. You do eventually see past it but it is noticeable in some chapters.
P.S It's not mentioned in the book but there are many Hindu's who don't eat beef since they see cows as sacred and holy. But there are a lot of people who are like Aamani and eat most meats!
Every Variable of Us is a book that probably suffers from my strict usage of the Goodreads rating system. It was okay, thus it gets 2 stars. It isn’t a bad book. But it’s a book I only ever felt was alright, and nothing more.
I think part of this was the “I’m not like other girls” vibe the mc had going on. I mean, firstly, the book itself opens with an entire paragraph about how she isn’t like other girls. If it had then gone onto interrogate her thought processes on that, it’d have been fine, but it doesn’t. Granted, I’m pretty sure that the whole idea doesn’t come back in the book, but it still was not a great start.
Another part was all the pop culture references. This is a personal one, I will cop to that. I cannot deal with this many of them. One or two is fine, but when multiple conversations revolve around pop culture? That’s where I draw a line. (Especially when it’s Marvel films related because, c’mon, can we not do better?)
One of the bigger problems for me here was the way the autistic character was presented. I get that the author has said he aimed to present with sensitivity and not try to co-opt a story that’s not his to tell, but. I did feel like Matthew was somewhat of a stereotype. Robotic speech? Poor social skills? For all that he was, how to put this?, presented sensitively, he felt too much of a stereotype to consider the overall portrayal sensitive.
The other issue was that this book is almost relentlessly shitting on its mc. It felt like Alexis went through so much without a huge amount of hope in between. Yes, the STEM team moments are meant as some respite, but—and I don’t know if this is just a me problem—they never really felt like that. You, and Alexis, couldn’t really forget everything else for the time, it was always hovering in the background (which is accurate, I suppose, even though it makes for a slog of a read).
Let me end on a couple of positive notes, though. I enjoyed Alexis’ journey across the course of the book, even if I felt she could have used a bit more positivity in there. For example, I’d have liked her to maybe meet another Black LGBT person in real life, perhaps. Instead of just looking them up on the internet. I think that would have had a bit more impact. But. I did like the journey she went on, and I liked that there was a positive ending.
On the whole, then, this is a book that didn’t work for me, but may easily work for anyone else. Basically, what I’m saying is, as ever, don’t let this rating put you off the book.
Every Variable of Us is a fantastic debut novel that will make you laugh, cry, and tear your heart pieces before putting back together.
I especially admire how the author wrote the main character Alexis (Lex), she feels so real. She goes through some really horrible, dark things but she still feels like a teenager. There's still that youth and joy to her that many ignore when writing about teenagers that go through trauma. She had real human flaws made mistakes that a teenager would make.
The representation was also very well executed. The way that queerness, race and class all intersect and had an affect of Lex's life was done superbly.
I'd also like to take a moment to tell every person on goodreads who are docking off stars for "cringy slang and popculture references" to suck it. Newsflash: teenagers use slang and popculture references. It's a contemporary YA novel so i don't know what y'all expected.
I got so attached to the characters in this book and it made me very emotional reading it. I really enjoyed Every Variable of Us and i definitely recommend.
The best way I can describe this book is academic decathlon meets The Hate U Give with a queer twist. And I absolutely loved it. From the commentary on the micro-aggressions across races to the nerdy Avengers of the STEM team, it really covered all of the bases for me. We oscillate between hard-hitting and tender, touching on homelessness and homophobia, ending with a story that leaves you misty-eyed. My favorite part of it all was the found family aspect of the STEM team - from the icy Lindsay to the sweet Matthew, they all form a support network for Lex that felt real. I can't comment on the authenticity of the portrayal of autism in the text, but the foreword from the author on it seemed well-meaning. Give this one a shot if you're in the mood for some feels!
*Thank you to Flux Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review*
Pros: The writing style was great and easy to read, I was able to read this whole book in a day.
Great conversations on racism, ableism, and classism and how they intersect.
Cons: I really couldnt with the relationship with this book, the relationship started with the MC calling her slurs and ended with the MC aiming a gun at her and getting her involved with murder. And yet at the end they had a big romantic gesture ending in saying I love you.
I really hated the implied sex scene which happened while they were sharing a bed with an un-consenting third party present and asleep. I do not find that cute or romantic at all and wish it wasnt included.
There is an overwhelming amount of pop culture references that took me out of the story. I get the author was trying to convey a nerdy friend group but the way they talked and made everything a reference was unrealistic and annoying
Rep: Black, Hindu, Sapphic, disability
CW: racism, slurs, homophobia, ableism, hate crime, death, drug abuse, physical abuse, implied sexual content, gun violence
I cried so much during this book; my ego won't actually let me admit just how many times. It was so touching yet devastating, so heartbreaking yet heartwarming. I went through an absolute roller coaster of emotions reading this story and it was an experience for which I am extremely grateful.
I think the characters were very realistic and that made it very easy for me to relate to them, even if I didn't have the same life experiences as they did. Those core feelings of not being loved, not being worth the effort, feeling the need to hide a part of yourself, having to fit into some expectation or stereotype for who you are or who people think you are: I think many readers will be able to see a part of themselves in Alexis and Aamani.
I'm usually not all that affected by first person narration, especially if the character narrating is a teenager. Yet, the writing in this novel was so moving, I probably bookmarked half the book. There were so many passages that were deeply raw, beautiful, emotional, I'm not quite sure I'll ever be able to get them out of my head.
I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone, especially if you are looking for a story that will crush you until you are but a shell of a person, and then lift you back up bit by bit until you feel like you know what it means to love and to hope again.
I am completely blown away by this. I actually rarely ever give a book five stars but this was just amazing.
The representation here was handled in such a good, accurate way: racism within Black and Brown and communities towards other non-white people was portrayed so well, along with the racism we have to face ourselves and the reality we live in that makes it so hard for Black, Brown and Indigenous people to be queer. I loved the way he included representation of autistic people and physically disabled people and had a sensitivity reader go over it to make sure the autism community was represented correctly; although I think it would have been nice not to make the only autistic person male and white. Still, there was nothing problematic or wrong about how the character was described.
This book is so raw and intense and real, it felt like a breath of fresh air to me. There are so many topics that are talked about but there is still place for this tender, healing, growing romance and also for showing us what it means to really have a family; that family is not necessarily determined by blood.
Another thing I really loved was that the protagonist never stopped caring for her old friends. Too often, non-white protagonists, especially black protagonists who, if they don't come from a predominantly white area, hate where they come from, make new, white friends and leave their old, "bad" lives completely behind, but that wasn't the case here. This was so refreshing. It made me so happy because I think it is wrong to believe that you have to let go of your "old life" completely to have a fresh start and that everything non-white is to be demonized.
I saw this book for the first time on Gregslibrary’s story and, if I remember well, he really enjoyed it. Also the blurb sounded really interesting. So when I saw it was available on Netgalley, I went for it. I did not think I was going to love this book so much, but Charles A. Bush knows how to write an intense and addictive story.
In this book, we follow Alexis (or Lex) who, because she got shot, sees her dream of getting a basketball scholarship fly away. Lex is a very interesting and inspiring character. The story takes place in a poverty-stricken area so we can imagine that her classmates and other inhabitants have to get through a lot too, but the thing with Lex is that, she is determined. She perseveres and work hard to survive and live. I also loved Aamani, a new student who is going to get close to and help Lex. She was so funny and so caring. Also, she loves comic books and that’s definitely a good way to win over my heart.
So overall, I really enjoy this book. I am glad my year started with such a good story. I was completely taken by the story and very invested in the future of our characters. I will for sure by a copy and future books by this author. A bonus for this book is that the title is actually mentioned and explained in the story, and I just love when this happens.
I recommend this book if you’re looking for inspiring characters and a touching romance. Though, be aware, there are some violent scenes.
I did get the chance to not finish this book due to changing capacity. The plot sounds promising and themes sound important.
Every Variable Of Us by Charles A Bush is a ya novel showing the struggles of people from the non-white community.
Alexis, the main character is a basketball player and not bright in academics,but her an unfortunate incident renders her disabled and she loses her chance of scholarship through basketball. Inspired by her friend Aamani who later becomes something more she joins STEM to earm her scholarship.
There is no doubt I loved Aamani who is an Indian and obviously I related to her the most but I also loved Alexis and felt so deeply about her struggles. I loved the chemistry of these two characters. I loved the growth Alexis had throughout the book.
I usually didn't enjoy ya novels but I am glad this was different and had talk about so many issues that needed light. So I feel those who like YA genre will definitely enjoy. Only I would appreciate lesser use of slangs in the novel.
was this somewhat cringe? yes. but was it really good? also yes.
i loved this book (if you ignore the too many pop culture references). it was so beautiful and i loved the sapphic ship. aamani and alexis are so );!/7.$-9-&?.’ yeah. alexis was actually funny as well and made me laugh a lot and her journey of self discovery was amazing to read about. aamani and the rest of the stem team were also loveable even though i did not like lindsay at first. i loved this book but however it was fast paced and so brushed over some things that should have been talked about more. in conclusion i really did love this book, especially its characters, the friendship between alexis and the stem team, alexis and aamani and of course alexis’ journey of self growth.
please check the trigger warnings if you are planning to read this book!
thank you to netgalley for providing me with an arc in return of an honest review
Every Variable of Us
"...the world I want to be accepted in won't have me because they think I should fit the female stereotype of chasing boys and posting selfie's"
Alexis 'Lex' Duncan is a light skinned Black girl from the 'Grove and has everything set on her basketball scholarship/career getting her the hell outta there. Lex has everything riding on this until she finds herself shot and completely unable to move like she did before.
In walks Aamani. A new student at the school. An Indian, self-proclaimed nerd and part of the STEM group. With Lex' basketball career now shattered, could Aamani help Lex realise she is more than just a Black girl from the hood who's only chance at a better life is through 'ball?
I absolutely loved how we watch Lex progress through this book. Her learning journey into academics, breaking stereotypes and being called out for her own misconceptions. Her journey of unlikely friendships that grow and the ones that fade, and her sexuality and figuring out what her mind and body want and feel. Lex has determination and grit, in addition to being a normal teenage girl who sometimes makes the absolute worst choices for herself. Lex was such an intriguing and relatable character to read..
This book has everything - positive influences and heart-breaking truths and everything in between, all in the most balanced way. It a modern story, that will hit all the right spots for our younger generation. Hashtags on point!!
Some themes in the book are: Queer, LGBTQIA+, communities, street life (drugs, violence, death), homelessness, foster life, blood and family loyalty, racism, academics/STEM and basketball.
A must read.
This book perfectly balanced the struggles of racism and homophobia with the comfort of found family. What I loved most about this book was the character growth. In the beginning, Lex is blunt and ignorant and the slurs threw me off a bit. But as the book progresses it does such a great exploration of the intersectional nature of identity, and self-discovery as Lex learns to become a better person. Also, this book was genuinely hilarious. I personally thought the 'teen-speak' was really well done, and I didn't feel like the pop-culture references were forced or cringey. Most of all I loved Aamani and her unabashed love for STEM (and of course Lex ;)). Honestly, at the end of the day this book is a very touching story of two bad-ass women, and I loved it.