When You Get the Chance

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Pub Date May 04 2021 | Archive Date May 04 2021

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Follow cousins on a road trip to Pride as they dive into family secrets and friendships in this contemporary novel—perfect for fans of David Levithan and Becky Albertalli.
 As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts—Mark in Halifax and Talia in Victoria—they haven't seen each other in years. When their grandfather dies unexpectedly, Mark and Talia find themselves reunited at the cottage once again, cleaning it out while the family decides what to do with it. Mark and Talia are both queer, but they soon realize that's about all they have in common, other than the fact that they'd both prefer to be in Toronto. Talia is desperate to see her high school sweetheart Erin, who's barely been in touch since leaving to spend the summer working at a coffee shop in the Gay Village. Mark, on the other hand, is just looking for some fun, and Toronto Pride seems like the perfect place to find it. When a series of complications throws everything up in the air, Mark and Talia—with Mark's little sister Paige in tow—decide to hit the road for Toronto. With a bit of luck, and some help from a series of unexpected new friends, they might just make it to the big city and find what they're looking for. That is, if they can figure out how to start seeing things through each other's eyes.
Follow cousins on a road trip to Pride as they dive into family secrets and friendships in this contemporary novel—perfect for fans of David Levithan and Becky Albertalli.
As kids, Mark and his...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780762495009
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

Average rating from 96 members

Featured Reviews

This book was exactly what I expected: a fast, fun, queer read. What I didn't expect was that it's also Canadian (I imagine there is a hint on the cover... and in the description) which made it all the better because Canadian books are always more relatable than American. (That's why we insist that Canada is a honorary European country)

It's told from two POVs: Mark, a gay high school senior from Halifax (and honestly a bit of a self-absorbed jerk) and his cousin Talia, a queer girl from Victoria (and a bit of a social justice warrior which I absolutely loved). I love that with more and more queer books the characters also get less perfect, more human and more relatable. The two of them meet for the first time in years on their grandpa's funeral and are sent to clean out a cottage that belonged to their grandparents - even though both of them would rather be in Toronto, Mark for the Pride weekend and Talia to meet up with her partner.

The unexpected and amazing surprise came in form of Paige - Mark's 10 year old sister. I don't remember ever reading a queer book where the queer character had a much younger sibling and definitely not one like Paige - she was unapologetic and had an amazing ability so see people simply as people, despite their gender or sexuality. She had some of the best lines, one of them when she was reminded for an nth time not to out people to others and she said that she doesn't want to waste her time on people who think less of others because they are queer. Paige's character was used to discuss a lot of important things such as queerphobia, the problem of putting things (and especially gender) in binary terms in a fun way and I really liked it.

I loved how this book reflected the current times: how the queer rights have progressed but not without backlashes. The uncertainty of the far right political movements and climate change and how it affects people. Discussions of privilege. It was subtle but on point and well done.

What I also appreciate is how truly queer this book is - not only gay or bi but engaging with different queer identities and issues. Talia is unsure of her sexuality and chooses to identify simply as "queer" and her partner is non-binary. There are discussions of poli relationships and the bi/pan debate. It discusses outing people and assuming sexuality (straight or queer). Also, especially Talia is very aware of how much their experience comes down to the fact that they are white and able-bodied (and, in Mark's case, also male) and the questions of privilege and gate-keeping came out quite a lot. There is a whole cast of amazing queer characters with different experiences, identities and approaches and it truly felt like a Pride.

Despite it all, it still managed to be a fun, light read, with a focus mostly on family, identity, old grudges and knowing when to move on. Plus a whole lot of Canadian summer vibes: lake, mosquitos, canoeing, ice cream and barbequeues.

My only problems are that the beginning of the book dragged a little and Mark's POV got a little of getting used to (because of him being such a self-absorbed jerk) but things definitely picked up as I read on so it's a strong 4 stars instead of 3.

The verdict is that I'm moving to Canada becuase I've been convinced that almost everyone there is queer and that it's generally the most amazing place ever.

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I absolutely LOVED this book! It's such a fun, easy, and heartfelt read with an amazing cast of characters and a great plot.

I really enjoyed the family dynamic of the book and how the POVs of Mark and Talia allows the reader to get a glimpse into their lives separately and together. There was a good balance between their POVs as well and a balance in the plot as well.

My favourite aspect of this book was the character development of particularly Mark and Talia. They both had some negative traits and by the end of the book, they realised and made amends to better themselves.

The numerous characters we met along the way were lovely. Their introductions weren't overwhelming or all at once which I appreciated and their role in impacting Mark and Talia's lives was subtle yet important.

Overall, I just loved this book and would most definitely recommend it to those looking for a feel-good read 🏳️‍🌈

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An incredible novel which should be read by teens inside and outside of the LGBTQ community. The characters are fully formed and alive, their ideas interesting and very current.

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When I saw the queer cover of this book and read that there will be a road trip along the way I just knew I had to give this one a go.

This beautiful coming of age story follows the two gay teenage cousins Mark and Talia who meet again after a long time through sad circumstances. Their grandfather died unexpectedly. The families come together again for his funeral. Their parents aren’t on good speaking terms and the teens have a lot on their minds as well. This book is very much about family, friendship and first love. The teens and Mark’s kid sister Paige end up going on a sneaky road trip to Toronto Pride where lots of things happen and change. I didn’t really like either of the cousin’s personalities in the beginning to be honest but they kind of grow up a bit more along the way. And I feel like that was part of the story. How they grew to be better people and be more considerate about others and how other people may have influenced them as well.

I love how queer this book is and the massive LGBTQ+ content.

If you’re looking for a light, easy queer read about teens trying to find their place in the world and within their families, this will be it.

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This was such a fun, quick read. I really liked the dual perspective. I loved Paige. She was so adorable. I also liked how educational this was. Like when they talked about lgbt history and when they try to explain non-binary to Paige. Overall a really great book. Totally recommend it.

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