Cover Image: Every Variable of Us

Every Variable of Us

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Member Reviews

Every Variable of Us in three words: friendship, LGBTQ+, belonging.

I found the first few chapters hard going - the way racism, bigotry and homophobia were just slung into the text made me very uncomfortable. I think the blunt realism of what I was reading was so unusual that it hit hard.

I am SO glad I didn't give up! Our protagonist, Lex, grows up a lot through the book and we see her and those around her start to re-examine and address their prejudices. It's a tough read - told through the voice a child who has been let down by all those around her time and time again. Aamani's character shines through from the beginning and at points I felt I would have liked to have heard more from her, though not at the expense of losing Lex' voice!

It's dark, it's grim, it's violent and it's hard to read in places. Equally, it's laugh-out-loud funny, silly, hopeful and uplifting in others.

Very sweary, which doesn't bother me in the slightest, but would only recommend for my KS4+ students - maybe the odd Y9.

Thanks to Flux Book's for the eARC on NetGalley.

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In a moment of transparency, I approached this book with a bit of skepticism, as it’s easy to sell novels about overcoming Black struggles and transparency. However, this book does a wonderful job of outlining the complexity of growing up, making tough choices, and coming into your own identity. Of course, I can appreciate the intersectionality that makes up Lex and even Aamani.

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Honestly, this book surprised me in so many ways! I started it off thinking it was going to take me a lot to finish it, but give it a couple of chapters and this will sweep you off your feet! I was a bit lost with some of the slang and probably if someone never watched basketball, it might be quite difficult to understand some sentences, but nothing a search can't help with.
I loved the characters, anything sapphic is totally on my must-read right now and love the diversity of the cast of characters. Amani was totally my favourite! Love the whole STEM part and the knowledge in the book,!

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At first, the story was meh at best. I didn`t find Lex that interesting and all that slang and what not, threw me off. I didn`t enjoy it. But suddenly...i dont know how many pages in...i started to like Lex. When Aamani entered the scene, Lex slowly became a better person, she grew and i liked her even more. Aamani i can connect with because she likes avengers, gaming, comic books and is a geek without wanting to hide it from the world, without feeling shame. I enjoy that. Because that is me. i`m not ashamed of my geekyness. I loathed Lex`s familiy, and gnittered my teeth when we had to read about them. Aamani`s familiy, well some of them were okay but i hated the fact that they named being lesbian and loving a girl a sickness. Just ugh. I wanted to rip my hair out on that one. The STEM group aka Brian, Lindsay, Matthew , Aamani and lex was hilarous, awkward but so funny! They were so interesting, funny, akward and wierd. Just like i like them. What pulled down was the first part, and how the chapters were written sometimes, sometimes they stopped randomly. For me at least.

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I really loved this book. The subject that are talk about are sad, but you can see the hope in this book. Even through all the story, she is determined to have a future, even in the darkest time

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I got an ARC of this book earlier this year but for various reasons, I couldn't read until very recently so I didn't remember as much as I wanted about the synopsis when I started this reading. But I can say that this surprised me so much.
The author made sure that all the characters, even the ones with smaller participation in the story, weren't superficial and had so many layers that made everything suddenly make sense about their first impressions. And Lex's growth, oh my God!!!! I think the 1st person narrative was such a good choice because the readers can see exactly what she's thinking and even though you can see her perpetuating some stereotypes, specially about Aamani, in the beginning, and sometimes in other parts of the story, little by little you can also see the change of her mind and how she works hard to don't do that again and make the people around her as aware as she's becoming.
As a lesbian, seeing such positive representation as Aamani in media really warmed my heart and I have to thank the author for this. (I also felt extremely single every time Aamani and Alexis would start flirting without even realizing and how in love they were with each other was something so beautiful to read.)
Also, I just love the little STEM family, it made me so happy to finally see Lex having a support system and how all of them were there for each other. I could read a whole book only about the five of them bickering because they're just too fun!!
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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3.5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, both for its exploration of complex social issues and its lovable characters. The story delves into the racism that affects every aspect of the main character, Alexis’, life, as well as exploring how the casual queerphobia around her growing up has shaped the person she has become, and it doesn’t shy away from showing the harsh reality of life in some American communities (disproportionately affecting people of color).

I found Alexis’ journey of self-discovery very interesting to follow — I liked seeing her grow as a person and change her perspective on life and the many issues she encountered. I also liked her romance with Aamani, though at times I felt the drama in their relationship was a bit unnecessary, maybe exaggerated or forced.

The side characters —mainly Alexis’ friends from STEM— were likable, and felt like real, layered people, though it took a few chapters for it to feel that way. Even the “antagonists” were multidimensional.

A big flaw that I found in this book, however, is the constant use of teen slang and pop culture references. I understand that, in a way, this writing style makes the narrator feel more like a real teenager, but every time the Marvel Cinematic Universe or “The Lord of the Rings” were mentioned I was taken out of the story. (This also applies to the scenes where Alexis was playing or watching basketball, as I felt those were described in extreme technical detail.)

Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel, and I would recommend it to those looking for a multilayered YA story, especially one with LGBT and non-White (mainly Black) representation.

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I tend to avoid books that involve black trauma/struggle but I am so glad I got the chance to read this!
It was funny, and geeky, and charming and so well written that I didn't want to put it down.
I love that from the get go there was character development for Lex (the main character) and it just kept growing because with characters like Lex, I feel like it could either go right or go very wrong (there is no in between) but Lex's character development is what I loved the most (right after all the geeky pop culture references).
Aside from that, I felt like it was very well researched, both for the love interest Aamani and the overall facts found within the book.
But it was also written in a way that just makes you want to keep reading (it just took me a while because I had to read on my phone and I hate that) but whenever I had to stop reading I was in a noticeably worse mood.
The sexual exploration and discovery was very much relatable, because even with all the resources we have today, it's still difficult for a lot of people to discover themselves, but the way Lex goes through her discovery felt genuine and realistic.
Overall it was a hell of a lot of fun to read and I cannot wait for the authors next book!

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The variable of us is an absolute delight! It captured my heart from the start with well fleshed out and relatable characters, fantastic navigation of important issues like race, sexuality, religion and their intersections, and brilliantly engaging prose to top it off. Charles A. Bush’s stories are one to keep an eye on!

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I loved everything about this book. Lex is a gripping character trapped in a world of circumstance. From beginning to end I was immersed in a world unfamiliar to my own; and I feel I have gained a better perspective and understanding of it, through the lives of these characters.

These are the stories that need to be told in today's world. Charles A. Bush just became one of my favorite authors.

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There was much here to enjoy and share with young readers. I love the author’s exploration of identity and relevant topics, all while writing in an engaging style. Definitely goes in my classroom list.

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Thank you netgalley for providing me with an eARC! Every Variable of Us is a beautiful story, I loved almost every aspect of it. I liked reading about the romance and the heartbreaking social commentary really had me gripped. The sapphic rep was outstanding and I loved it.

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Every Variable of Us was a fun and surprisingly moving young adult contemporary novel, following protagonist Alexis Duncan after she is wounded in a shooting and unable to pursue her basketball dreams. Instead she joins the STEM team under the guidance of new student Aamani, and they find themselves growing close than they could have ever imagined.
The characters were very well written, I really felt for Alexis and her situation as she struggled between loyalty to her friends and her desire to get out of her circumstances. Her internal conflicts were handled well, she didn’t just magically become a perfect person, she struggled on the STEM team and she found it hard to stop clinging to relationships that were bad for her such as her tumultuous relationship with her mother. I thought she had a lot of depth that really added to the narrative. Aamani was sweet and funny and the perfect counterpart to Alexis but not without flaws of her own. She was never painted as perfect either, she had struggles of her own that were touched on with the right frequency to remind the reader that she was having a hard time of things as well.
I think the relationship between Alexis and Aamani was very well developed, and though the realisation of feelings came quite late, the groundwork had been laid well so it didn’t feel like it came out of nowhere at the last minute. The attitude Alexis has about LGBT people at the beginning of the book did make me a little uncomfortable, but she grows throughout the book and learns to accept herself.
My biggest problem with this book was the tone. As other reviewers have mentioned, I think this book suffered with heavy handed ‘teen-speak’ writing, especially with the excessive amount of Marvel references. As someone who was myself part of the nerdy crowd at school, I can assure you that is not at all how we spoke to each other, and as an eighteen-year-old I felt like they didn’t speak like real teenagers. I did find Aamani’s rambling about space rather endearing I think that demonstrated her nerdiness perfectly. I think talking about her love of comics could have been equally as sweet if it wasn’t mentioned in every other scene, had the references been sprinkled more sparingly I would have enjoyed them significantly more.
On the whole the book was fast paced and made me want to keep reading, but especially nearer the beginning there were some scenes that dragged a little. The set up took far too long before we got to the events mentioned in the synopsis. However the pace definitely picks up by the second half, and by the end it’s absolutely one page-turner of a book!
As a white reviewer, I cannot comment on the accuracy of the representation of colour, but to me they felt like nuanced and well developed portrayals. Though Alexis does stereotype Aamani heavily at the beginning of the book, this is again something that she comes to realise is wrong over the course of the book as she realises how different Aamani is to that strereotypical image she had of her near the start of the book.
Overall, I think this book is a thought-provoking and fun read, if slightly let down by the unrealistic dialogue and ‘teen-speak’.

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A Black queer YA, raw and painful, funny at times. Alexis ‘Lex’ is an average student, but great at basketball and therefore hoping for a scholarship. Until she gets shot in a gang shooting.

I loved the beginning of the story, and the first chapter immediately pulled me in. I barely had time to breathe when Lex was chased by a cop. She had a constant stream of thoughts filled with strong opinions, and this story seemed incredibly fast paced. Furthermore, the author used teen slang including a lot of curse words. Don’t tell my kids, but I secretly love cursing in YA 😂.

We all know books about Black girls who lead a harsh life, and are surrounded by people who live in a vicious circle of poverty, violence, and drugs. This story adds an extra layer because Lex slowly realizes she’s queer. I loved Charles’s author’s note:

‘Not every block in the hood is filled with violence and drugs. In fact, many are filled with love and Black beauty.’
‘I was told I had to be one thing to get a taste of wealth—an athlete. And I was told I couldn’t be queer to get it.’

I loved de characters, the writing and the rep. Sadly, I couldn’t connect to the story as much as I wanted to because I didn’t enjoy all those cuts within a chapter. They slowed the pacing and took me out of the story. Therefore, I didn’t feel the emotions I wanted to feel. I didn’t cry, didn’t feel angry, wasn’t sad. Sometimes, I even lost interest, and I had to push myself to read on. The only time I had goosebumps was when Lex googled Black queer people. But after two pages or so there was that cut again. Bam! Gone were my goosebumps.

I believe this an important debut and many people will love it. My feelings about those cuts are probably an it’s me, not you thing. And even though I couldn’t fully connect to the story, I’ll definitely check out Charles’s next book.

My review has been posted on Goodreads on November 4, 2021.

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I really enjoyed this read. It was definitely a must read and gave all the positive LGBTQIA+ vibes and representation. The characters in the story are so memorable and lovely. They are the friends we all wish we had and hope to find. I love the representation of the different lifestyles and challenges that each character faced.

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Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Every Variable of Us in exchange for an honest review.

Hehehehehe I loved this book so much. It's occasionally a tad in your face with its teen speak but I genuinely did not care because imperfect sapphic leads being imperfect sapphic leads. Every Variable of Us switches from queer rom-com to heart breaking social commentary and back again every few chapters and the contrast between the two make the sweetest and saddest moments feel even more impactful. I'm OBSESSED.

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First off I should say this is not t my usual read, I'm trying out new genres and this looked interesting. It's basically a story about finding yourself and traversing the obstacles of sexuality, highschool and racism along the way.

The writing style took a while to warm up. Personally I found the dialect a bit ott, but then I'm not American so maybe it will seem less forced to American teens. The characters were ok. I found then a little 2 dimensional at times and some of the big issues were kind of brushed over. For example when lex is beaten by her mums boyfriend. The attack is quite violent but the after events are as if nothing has happened. He stuck a needle in her wound! There was no hospital and no anxiety about infection. And the crack house she lives in almost sounds friendly. I'm supposed to believe a junkie shares a bed with her and people only steal her bra. I guess it's like the author wants me to take seriously the issues raised such as drugs and racism and yet they brush over the issues in a naive way.

There are some interesting topics here but for me the writing is a little slow and the overall serious feeling lost. Worth a read though

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I just loved this book!!!!!
And being an Indian I loved Aamani... She is just so relatable💖
The book successfully broke so many stereotypes about African American community. Lex has the best transformation.
This is one of my most diverse reads of the year! A main character who is differently abled, bisexual, black and who joins the STEM team is like a dream come true.
And the Marvel madness is just WOW because infinity war is the greatest movie!
PS: I want a "prem ratan dhan payo" type of prom 🥺🥺💖

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Life is a journey and you never know where it will end up. Lexi grows up in the Philadelphia slum of Hargrave. She has dreams of a basketball scholarship but fate intervenes. Lexi and Amani are are own together when Armani starts going to Lexi's school. The main characters are very different but at the same time the same. Lexi's culture is black and she ta.ks a tough game. Amani is Hindu born in America and is part of a STEM group which plays into the story.
The premis of getting out of the slums and having a different life plays an important part of the story. Another part is realizing what sexuality plays in a person's life. There is a search for identity throughout the story as Lexi is abandoned by her mother and forced out of the house. I liked-the interaction between the main characters as the look for identity and love in a Philadelphia slum. My only disappointment is that I wanted to keep reading at the end of the book
I would recommend the book for culture lovers and love readers.
I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review

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I really enjoyed this book for two reasons.

Firstly, I enjoyed the journey Alexis was on, where she was discovering who she was, especially in terms of her new found bisexuality. It would be a great read for teens to find out more about sexuality, especially if they themselves are new to realising who they are or just knowing more.

Secondly, I liked the social issues presented in the book. Racism, police brutality, the opioid crisis, prejudice and bigotry. With this of course comes trigger warnings, such as racism, homophobia, violence, but the author wrote it in a very sensitive way.

Overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend!

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