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Crystal’s House of Queers
Brooke Skipstone. Skipstone, $13.99 trade paper (330p) ISBN 978-1-73700-642-8
A group of gay Alaskan youngsters embrace their identities over a few eventful days in this heartfelt but uneven new adult romance from Skipstone (Some Laneys Die). Schools in tiny Clear, Alaska, have just reopened after Covid lockdowns, and artistic high school senior Crystal Rose dreads returning to a hostile social environment. Her status only plummets after she intercedes when her former best friend and current crush, Haley, is assaulted by her boyfriend, Dylan, but she finds support in openly gay transfer student Payton Reed. Having angered Dylan and his friends, the three girls hunker down in Crystal’s house while the grandparents who raised her are hospitalized with Covid. Together, they doctor a video to scare off the boys, and Crystal copes with the return of her violent, drug-dealing father, who’s searching for her mom (both of whom, she was told, died in a car accident), and her brother JD’s plan to move away with his girlfriend. Amid these crises, Crystal and Haley act on their mutual desire and Crystal plans for a safe reunion with her mom against her father’s threats. The narration sometimes stumbles over blunt, clunky dialogue, but the heady mix of teenaged desire, confusion, and conviction are convincing. This story of found family brims with high drama. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 12/17/2021

Release date 05/01/2021

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