From the author of the bestselling novel Running With Lions, a story about overcoming the labels that try to define our lives
A Note From the Publisher
"You’ve been warned: Remy Cameron is coming for your heart. I adored this tender, heartfelt love song of a book." —BECKY ALBERTALLI, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
"I don’t often swoon, but I swooned HARD for this incandescent book. Julian Winters has crafted a deeply moving story of love, family, and identity that will stay with me forever."—ADIB KHORRAM, Award-Winning Author of Darius the Great Is Not Okay
"Reading Remy is like gaining a best friend. Told with empathy, humor, and sincerity, this is an astounding follow-up for Julian Winters. The world needs Remy Cameron, and I, for one, am ready for everyone else to discover just how heartwarming this book is." —MARK OSHIRO, author of Anger is a Gift
"I loved this book so much. What a gift to the world, and to all the people—myself included—who are still trying to figure out an answer to the question, 'Who am I?' Julian Winters’ answer should include, 'A fabulous author everyone should read.'" —BILL KONIGSBERG, Award-Winning Author of The Music of What Happens
"In How to Be Remy Cameron, Julian Winters has gifted us with a bighearted, compassionate, and hilarious book about discovering who we are underneath the person everyone else expects us to be. We are more than labels, and this is more than a book. It’s a hug for for everyone struggling to find their own identity, and a way to let them know they are not alone. — SHAUN DAVID HUTCHINSON, author of We Are the Ants, and the memoir Brave Face
* National publicity campaign with a focus on both online and traditional media
* Select author appearances at bookstores, conventions, podcasts, and festivals
* Distribution through IPG
* Publisher promotion at conventions and book festivals
* Cross-promotion with author website
* Social networking campaign, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms
* Traditional and online advertising
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 75 members
I didn't know it was possible, but somehow this book managed to amaze and dazzle 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. Remy is a hysterical, relatable main character who deftly navigates through his junior year of high school while exploring his identity outside of the hot button labels YA usually focuses on (such as race and sexuality). I cannot say enough about how absolutely perfect this novel was. If Julian Winters continues to produce works like this, I may just have to start holding YA fiction as a whole to higher standards.
In Julian Winters’ sophomore novel, Remy Cameron deals with an identity crisis, where he confronts the labels attached to his name. Gay, black, adopted, president of the GSA club, beagle owner. Who is the real Remy Cameron? Remy’s well-known at his school for coming out as gay when he was 14 during a presidential speech and becoming the leader of the GSA club. He’s accumulated a unique, motley group of friends who are all inexplicably different but mesh well together. After receiving a new assignment to write an essay, getting mysterious friend requests on Facebook, and meeting a cute boy during a walk with his dog, he begins to question his identity and whether he knows himself well enough. It was so refreshing to have such an honest, brave main character in a YA novel. Most LGBT+ contemporaries follow the coming out story, but Remy is already out and has been out for a while. Sure, Winters still discusses the trials and tribulations of coming out during high school, but this book isn’t about a gay person in pain. Remy doesn’t only challenge the conventions of LGBT+ literature, but the YA genre in general. He’s not a virgin, he’s experienced and has had boyfriends int he past. We aren’t following a clueless character that’s too nervous to discuss things like masturbation – especially in a hilarious way – and his sex life. Sometimes Remy even came across as an NA character because he’s so open about his life in explicit ways I’m sure most of us aren’t used to. The cast of characters accompanying Remy are incredibly inclusive and reflect the diversity of the real world. Especially in a high school situation. My main issue with the writing was the excessive popular culture references. I’m aware it’s now the norm with YA contemporaries, but it’s not necessarily something I like reading about. If you include more than two references to Harry Potter in a book – especially if you dedicate time to telling the audience you’ve never read the books and only saw the movies – then it’s too much. However, I do understand this is a personal preference and plenty of people love the relatability in writing with popular culture references, but it ruins the reading experience for me. There were some instances where I found them hilarious, though, especially the Britney Spears monologue between Remy and his mother. The fundamental theme of How to be Remy Cameron is to overlook the labels we place on each other. Remy doesn’t only learn this lesson about himself, but his friends and peers to. We’re all more than our race, sexuality, relationship status etc. I feel like there’s too much pressure on high school students – particularly those under the age of 18 – who feel like they have to know who they are or what they want to be. Let them be teenagers! Remy spends a significant amount of time stressing about his admission to Emory even though he’s a junior, and that’s concerning. Why are we placing so much anxiety on teenagers shoulders? Why are we asking them to know themselves and their identity before they even enter college? Winters also explores the misconceptions about certain people’s labels and how we perceive those individuals after. For example, someone who’s a devout Christian doesn’t inherently hate anyone who doesn’t identify as straight. That’s one of the overlying messages of the novel: we shouldn’t be basing our perceptions of people on their labels, which we shouldn’t even be placing on them in the first place. I liked how the romance between Remy and Ian wasn’t central to the plot and didn’t play a large part in Remy’s identity crisis. It was subtle but still adorable. Remy respects Ian and his desire to figure out how to come out to those he loves, instead of forcing him so they can be together in public. I feel that’s a problematic trope that a lot of gay books (probably written by straight people) have followed. You should never pressure another person to come out for your own benefit.
Everything I wanted it to be and so much more. I seriously just adored everything about it and I can't wait to share it with my students.
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