by Brooke Skipstone
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Pub Date 19 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 13 Jan 2023
Skipstone Publishing, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles
Trapped between a homicidal brother and a homophobic podcaster eager to reveal her lesbian romance novels, a seventy-year-old grandmother seeks help in Clear, Alaska.
Suffocating in a loveless marriage and lonely existence, Taylor MacKenzie lives only through her writing, using the pen name Brooke Skipstone, her best friend in college and lover before her death in 1974.
Afraid of being murdered before anyone in her family or community knows her life story, Taylor writes an autobiography about her time with Brooke and shares it with those closest to her, hoping for understanding and acceptance.
Accused of promoting the queering and debasement of America by a local podcaster, Taylor embroils the conservative community in controversy but fights back with the help of a new, surprising friend.
Can she endure the attacks from haters and gaslighters? Can she champion the queering she represents?
And will she survive?
A Note From the Publisher
“Deeply evocative and consistently moving… Skipstone returns with this breathtaking story about one woman’s journey to fulfillment and happiness . . . Skipstone easily gets the reader to root for her fully fleshed-out heroine: it’s easy to invest in Taylor’s two worlds—her haunting past and the turbulent present . . . Sexual tension between various characters is palpable, and the intertwined storylines wrap up with a satisfying ending. Skipstone pairs Taylor’s poignant coming-of-age story with a deep dive into sexual identity and LGBTQ issues, homophobia, patriarchy, dysfunctional family dynamics, individual angst, the corrosive power of secrets, understanding, acceptance, courage, friendship, and the importance of human connection. This is a gem.”
— The Prairies Book Review
“There is tension from the novel’s first page, and it’s palpable up to the end. With engaging dialogue and vivid literary style, it’s easy to be caught up in the lives of the characters. This emotive story about identity, friendship, and genuine love is beautifully written.”
— Maria Victoria Beltran
“Brooke Skipstone offers much in the way of relatable content for readers of all ages, not least through entertaining and accessible dialogue as well as relevant mature content that offers an opportunity for young adult readers to learn about more mature issues without it being sensationalized. I highly recommend The Queering to fans of LGBTQIA+ fiction as well as YA readers seeking something new and emotionally diverse to explore.”
— K.C. Finn
“The characters are portrayed vividly and pop off the pages with their vibrant personalities. Taylor, Grace, Maddi, and Shannon's camaraderie feels genuine, and I found their friendship to be my favorite aspect of the book. Highly recommended.”
— Pikasho Deka
“The militant opinions are terrifying and recognizable, and the victims of the clashes will remain in the minds and hearts of readers long after the last page is read. Brooke Skipstone keeps her readers engaged with explosive dialog and believable characters.”
— Courtnee Turner Hoyle
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 102 members
A story spanning decades of time, fueled by loss and love, The Queering is a totally unique read that I could not put down. Taylor Baird McKenzie, a high school teacher in her seventies with a husband and grandchildren, has some big secrets. She writes queer fiction under a pen name, something nobody in her small Alaskan town knows except for her student Grace. She sees a lot of herself in Grace, a young lesbian under the thumb of an ignorant and dangerous father.
Secrets, first loves, and cruel patriarchal structures weave their way throughout the two timelines in which this story is told. Back in the seventies, Taylor was once a young woman in love with her best friend Brooke coming to terms with how the world saw and treated relationships like theirs. In the present, she gets a second chance at life when she finds a group of queer ladies who want to help in protecting each other against the cruel men in their lives who insist on what they’re doing is wrong.
The Queering is a beautiful story of hope and exactly the kind of YA Fiction that the genre needs more of. The characters are captivating and well-written, their stories full of heartbreak, romance, bravery, and finding places where they fit in the world.
What. A. WILD. Ride.
I was not expecting any of this when I requested the book! It is a story of revenge, murder, mystery, love, exploring sexuality and gender, lies, and heart-pounding moments.
This felt like a real-life mystery podcast but looking back at someone who is still alive. We know what happened but the reader's family doesn't. I was completed hooked this entire story.
I was expecting a story based on finding yourself and I got that and SO much more! If you like mystery, thriller, romance and LBTQA+ books, this is everything wrapped into one!
The Queering by Brooke Skipstone
Thank you Netgalley and Skipstone publishing for an arc for an unbiased review.
If asked to try to describe the book in one word my answer would be; riveting.
This book opens with a story that immediately grabbed my attention, and it didn't let go until I'd finished the book. Actually that isn't truly accurate, because after I finished it I was still thinking about it, so it still had me gripped even after the last page.
Think of this of a coming of age story, but in two completely separate decades and ways, but for the same person.
The one who might've lived a more authentic life had things turned out differently when they were younger, to someone who as a 70 year old Grandmother, decides to open up that authentic life in perhaps the most public way possible. Doing so isn't without its own dangers. Add in a vengeful brother and a homophobic podcaster, and you've got just the right amount of intrigue.
Those last few paragraphs of the book though were so joyful and heartening.
The writing was such that it gave voice to each character, so you deeply cared about the ones you needed to, dislike or ambivalence towards others. It showed realism on your fears, is both funny and tragic, joyous and sad, but most of all - riveting.
This book is surely deserving of a wider audience. While it is LGBTQIA in nature, it has a lot many can take from the pages, and that for me is always a sign of great writing.
A book I will surely read again, gift out and recommend to others.
5/5 stars 🌟 easily given.
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