I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper
Published by HarperCollins on May 31, 2022
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Family / Parents, Juvenile Fiction / LGBTQ, Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Adolescence & Coming of Age, Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Prejudice & Racism, Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Format: ARC, eBook
From acclaimed author Phil Stamper (The Gravity of Us and As Far as You’ll Take Me) comes a poignant coming-of-age, contemporary middle grade debut novel about finding your place, using your voice, and the true meaning of pride. Perfect for fans of Rick by Alex Gino and The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy.
Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school’s first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can’t be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio.
When Jake’s dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, the mayor begins to receive complaints. A few people are even concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade.
Except Jake doesn’t think that’s a ridiculous idea. Why can’t they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he’ll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won’t be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring Pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor’s son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake.
But someone that cute couldn’t possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?
This is a really good middle-grade queer novel. The writing is accessible and doesn’t get in the way of telling the story. It doesn’t talk down to the reader, which is very important to middle-grade reads. I also loved the fake Stardew Valley game that Jake plays and references through the book, I love nods like that to real life games. I’d recommend this for any middle-grade library. Four and a half stars, rounded up for NetGalley/Goodreads.