How to Be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters

joanna1905's review against another edition

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Another fantastic book from Julian - with a truly stunning cover!

This book wasn't quite what I expected but that definitely wasn't a bad thing! Something I loved about this book is that it's not a coming-out story nor is it a romance story (though there is a very cute romantic side plot, which I totally would have loved a little bit more of) - this is a book about labels. About how finding your labels can be liberating but it can also be restrictive and how to find a balance between the two.

This is also a love story - the love between a young black queer boy and his adopted family, and later this biological half-sister. The familial relationships in this book were one of my absolute favourite things in this book it was so well executed and really created a feeling of warmth within the story.

A tiny element I loved was that the flip on the quarterback and cheerleader couple but with a female quarterback and male cheerleader - it was a small detail but I loved this.

I think my main critique with this book is that it could have been longer - there were so many really cool side characters but we only just graze the surface with all of them and not really get to know them. Same with the romance, I would have loved just a little bit more!

I have to say out of his two books I think RWL is my favourite but this was a great second novel and I definitely look forward to continuing to support Julian throughout the rest of his career.

younglyricallit's review

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lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A


breadedbookpages's review against another edition

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Read August 6th.

Alriiiiighto!!! Review time, friendos. I say, to the no people at all watching out for my reviews!!!

Let's start with: This book gave me intense feelings. it deals with being labelled against one's own wishes. and i'm not talking about misgendering or anything, but like, being forced to acknowledge you're different from people. like, when someone told five year old remy he was "different" because he is "adopted" that hit hard because it made me think of my own ways of how i was labelled as "girly" and "prudish" because of my hijab and my interests.

remy's conflict over how it all affects him without him even choosing it hit me hard because i went through the same ordeal of being thought of as "something" when i didn't know who i was. i resented people who made up their minds about me without getting to know me. telling me i wasn't persian enough because i didn't speak the language. telling me i couldn't be nonbinary because well, look at me, i wear hijab and i am so overwhelmingly feminine.

when i chose none of this.

i didn't choose to have my body, or the labels. i sometimes wish i could remove the labels i adopted two years ago. i wish i could remove them from my brain even but today, as i read how to be Remy cameron, i was struck with how my labels are mine. they're mine to define even if they existed before and they'd go on to exist after i'm gone.

there is a powerful message in this book that touched deep in my heart.

one point there: at one point, a character's sister tells Remy that the character is demisexual when Remy didn't know. She outed him. i didn't know how to feel esp because the character never had a single word spoken in the book. it kind of took something from him esp since the book focuses a lot, remy focuses a lot, on not outing Ian who comes to term with how comfortable he is with being out.

justmeandmybooks_'s review against another edition

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this was so much fun!! I found the beginning dragged a bit, and like look I am Not allo enough for this book, but!! I really enjoyed it, and the characters were amazing! I'm thinking this is a 3.5 star rn, but I might bump it up to four stars, I'm not sure.

anyaemilie's review against another edition

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Thank you to Interlude Press/Duet Books and NetGalley for the advance copy!

Remy, like most teenagers, is trying to figure out who he is. He knows he is more than the various labels ascribed to him: gay, black, adopted, fashionable, president of the GSA. But WHO is he?? Remy is tasked with writing an essay for his AP Lit class that tells who he is, but is finding it impossible to figure that out.

Remy's life is populated with an entertaining cast of supporting characters who all highlight different aspects of his personality. Willow, Remy's younger sister, might be my favorite. Remy often looks to her and admires her willingness to be herself without caring what anyone else thinks, while at the same time wishing he could do it too.

I think this book handles the many issues teenagers can deal with in a very real way. Nothing is really black or white in real life, and the same is true for Remy's world. Sure, there are other gay kids at his school, but not all of them want to join the GSA. And that's okay. There isn't one way to be gay, just like there isn't one way to be a teenager. I think Winters handles that really well.

I really enjoyed this book, and thought it was a refreshing take on modern teenagers and the issues they deal with. This is the first of Julian Winters' books that I've read, and I will definitely be picking up anything new he writes.

itssimplykayla_'s review against another edition

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This book was great!! I loved reading Remy’s journey, It was great to see him discover who he is. Remy and Ian’s relationship was so cute. Rio and Lucy were great friends to Remy even when he wasn’t behaving like a good friend. Remy’s parents were embarrassing and cute. Willow was a gem. I wish that the Zombie Cafe was a real place. This book took me on an emotional roller coaster. I loved it!

whatjanereads's review against another edition

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In his AP literature class Remy gets the assignment to write about the question „Who am I?“.
And thinking about it... it’s such a hard question to answer.
Remy is a black, gay, 17 year old boy, adopted by a white couple when he was still a baby. But do these labels define who he is? Do labels other people in general put on you define yourself?

This book asks so many important and interesting questions and it’s very introspective. I loved that!
It’s a very quiet book, a slice of life/coming of age story, but also super realistic. And if you know me I love realistic books!!!
Remy and his friends felt like real teenagers to me, their conversations felt real. They drink and have sex and hate their teachers. Remys family life felt real. His love life too.
It wasn’t always super exciting, but who’s life is? But it was really thought provoking and that’s what made this book so special for me.

There‘s talk about friendship, growing up, exploring your identity, adoption, consent, life as a gay, black teen and so much more.

The best part of this book was the music though. I‘m a huge music lover and I’ve never read a book where the music and the song’s playing were actually described.
I only loved Ian because he was such an 80s music nerd (like me) and there hasn’t been a day since I finished it that I haven‘t listened to Bette Davis eyes. ❤️

What I personally wasn’t into was the style of writing. It’s verryyyy detailed and super slow paced. I could have done without a lot of the descriptions of places, characters etc. This sadly made many parts of the story really boring for me, and it took me almost 100 pages to dive into it.
There were a lot of characters, and since I‘m a grandma with no memory I often mixed up who was who from Remys group of friends.
I get that the author wanted to introduce a very diverse group of people, but I personally could have done with half of the characters because they did not make a huge impact on the story anyway and just got me very confused.

I really liked this book in the end and I guess the story has the potential to become very important for many teens. It’s a very heartwarming story.
But it’s not a book I would reread I guess.

blurrybug's review against another edition

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I loved it even more the second time around

whatdoreadss's review against another edition

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I really enjoyed reading this book!

wildflowerz76's review against another edition

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Remy Cameron is a lot of things. He's a son, an older brother, gay, a best friend, black, aspiring Emory student....but who is he really? When his AP Lit teacher assigns an essay on what defines him, he's at a loss. He is all those things, but do they define him?

I first saw the rec for this one on Becky Albertalli's Insta, but I didn't pick it up until Black Out Tuesday. I loved it. It was a sweet and fun book that was just lovely to read.