Today I am so pleased to welcome Natasha Washington to Joyfully Jay. Natasha has come to talk to us about her latest release, Calling Calling Calling Me. She has also brought along copies to give away along her tour. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Favorite Coming of Age Queer NA Romances
I read all kinds of books in all kinds of genres, and these choices are a bit all over the map as a result. I hope you find something you like here!
Where We Left Off by Roan Parrish
This is part of Roan Parrish’s series that begins with the wonderful Middle of Somewhere, and follows the evolving romance between college freshman Leo and the older Will. I like how this bucks some of the conventions of college romance in that it’s not about two people in college – many of the complexities in their relationship are because of their age difference but also because of their different expectations of relationships in general, and it creates a really fascinating tension between them. Leo is also adorable and a protagonist you 100% root for.
For Real by Alexis Hall
This is also a book about two characters with an age difference! But it’s very different in that it looks at the dynamic between Laurence and Toby, who are engaging in a BDSM relationship. Toby, who is younger, takes on the dominant role, which makes the book in many ways an exploration of coming-of-age through unconventional sexuality. It doesn’t shy away from the emotional intensity involved in having a relationship like this, and delves into the psychology of the characters in a way that makes them feel fully developed and real.
The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
This may be considered more YA than NA, but I love it so much that I want to recommend it anyway. In many ways this book is a dissection of romantic clichés, centered around a dystopian universe where an agency trains boys to be either “Nice” or “Bad” in order to act as spies by seducing girls from powerful families. Forced into competition with each other, these boys have to accomplish their mission or are killed if they fail. Caden, the book’s protagonist, is determined to win in order to escape, but – twist – then he falls for Dylan, his competition. The book is both an exciting spy thriller and a story of coming-of-age and discovering one’s sexuality, and it’s truly unique.
You Know Me Wellby David Levithan and Nina LaCour
This book is a sketch of a moment in time, set during Pride Week in San Francisco, following two girls as they fall for each other and two boys as they struggle to figure out their relationship, but I think the most notable thing about it is the friendships between the characters. It’s strangely rare to see queer teen friendships depicted in books, and this one does a great job of showing how those friendships shape us as we grow up, sometimes more than romances do. In fact, I think sometimes that our teen years are the times when we are most in love with our friends, and it’s nice to see that depicted here.
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
The voice in this book is so great and distinctive, and it’s great to see a queer POC narrator who actively addresses what it means to be living in predominantly white spaces where what is preached is often not what’s practiced. I love a good fish-out-of-water story, and Juliet’s observations about Portland resonated with me as someone who also left the East Coast for the West Coast at a formative age. I think this book captures what it’s like to be on your own in a new place for the first time, how amazing and also how terrifying, and what it means to come to understand who you are within this larger world that’s now available to you.
Patrick Mahoney has one goal in mind: get out of his native Fresno and find freedom in the rainbow and glitter-painted streets of San Francisco. As a college freshman, he’s sure he’ll finally have the chance to be himself, away from the judgmental eyes of his conservative hometown.
Josh Dirda’s never wanted to be tied down before, preferring the emotional ease of the one night stand. But when Patrick moves into the apartment that Josh shares with three friends, Josh is caught up in Patrick’s sly wit and quietly creative spirit. As Patrick’s self-appointed tour guide, Josh can be Patrick’s introduction to the city he loves. But after a drunken Halloween hook-up crosses lines, Patrick and Josh must reckon with their true feelings—and decide whether they can let go of the ghosts that haunt them.
About Natasha Washington: Natasha Washington lives in Philadelphia, where she writes queer love stories in both YA (as Sonia Belasco) and romance. She has spent much of her professional life working with young people as a mentor, tutor, or therapist. When not writing, she is likely cooking, taking long, meandering walks, or listening to dance music or 90s hip-hop.
Natasha has brought two copies of Calling Calling Calling Me to give away along her tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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