Vanilla by Billy Merrell

Vanilla

A bold, groundbreaking novel about coming out, coming into your own, and coming apart. Hunter and Van become boyfriends before they're even teenagers, and stay a couple even when adolescence intervenes. But in high school, conflict arises -- mostly because Hunter is much more comfortable with the sex part of sexual identity. As the two boys start to realize that loving som...

Title:Vanilla
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Vanilla Reviews

  • Melanie

    Turns out this book is aphobic, this review explains it thoroughly:

  • Lily

    I'm marking this as want to read for now, but have concerns about the wording in the blurb.

  • Hazel (Stay Bookish)

    I received an unsolicited review copy of this book among several and because I felt like I owed the publisher at least one review for all the books they sent me that I wasn't interested in, I decided to check this one out simply because it was a verse novel.

    Now, I've heard beforehand that this book is problematic and as someone who identifies in the ace spectrum, I agree that it definitely is. But having this information before diving into this book helped me steel myself and set my expectations

    I received an unsolicited review copy of this book among several and because I felt like I owed the publisher at least one review for all the books they sent me that I wasn't interested in, I decided to check this one out simply because it was a verse novel.

    Now, I've heard beforehand that this book is problematic and as someone who identifies in the ace spectrum, I agree that it definitely is. But having this information before diving into this book helped me steel myself and set my expectations as low as possible and surprisingly, I was able to appreciate some parts of the book.

    Full review to come.

  • Ariel

    I'm not the best at writing reviews but I can say honestly that this book was incredibly moving. As someone who identifies as asexual, I remember being constantly confused on why I wasn't feeling what everyone else seemed to. Finally finding a label -- which I know isn't necessary for everyone but that I wanted desperately -- was like reaching a stage of clarity I'd been grasping for since I was 14. 'Vanilla' evoked all these same feelings in me as I was reading. It was like meeting a confused p

    I'm not the best at writing reviews but I can say honestly that this book was incredibly moving. As someone who identifies as asexual, I remember being constantly confused on why I wasn't feeling what everyone else seemed to. Finally finding a label -- which I know isn't necessary for everyone but that I wanted desperately -- was like reaching a stage of clarity I'd been grasping for since I was 14. 'Vanilla' evoked all these same feelings in me as I was reading. It was like meeting a confused past version of myself that I wanted to hug and say "Everything will be alright."

    Every part of Vanilla's, Hunter's and Clown/Angel's character development was beautiful and heartbreaking to see. Because discovering who you are can be difficult, especially when you're a teenager. From beginning to end, 'Vanilla' had me hooked and I'm so glad it exists.

  • Roth

    If you're an ace person looking for a validating book, then steer clear of this one.

    excerpts some passages that are really troubling and offensive, as they reaffirm harmful stereotypes and attitudes towards ace people.

  • Sonja ✧ Badass Wanderer ✧

    is severely

    . An #ownvoices asexual reviewer read

    in its entirety, and she has detailed all the problematic aspects of the book in the review I've linked below.

    by

  • Stacy Fetters

    I absolutely adore books that are written in verse. It makes you appreciate the flow and love that it brings into your life.

    A lot of people were talking about this book and it's one of the most anticipated books coming out in October. I had to get my hands on this.

    From the cover to the synopsis, I already knew that I was going to fall in love with Vanilla and Hunter. The love that they share

    I absolutely adore books that are written in verse. It makes you appreciate the flow and love that it brings into your life.

    A lot of people were talking about this book and it's one of the most anticipated books coming out in October. I had to get my hands on this.

    From the cover to the synopsis, I already knew that I was going to fall in love with Vanilla and Hunter. The love that they share and the hardships their relationship will face. It reminds you of when you were young and in love. Relationships aren't perfect but we all want them to be.

    Any young relationship has the stress of pressure. One wants something and the other is still unsure. It happens with a lot of relationships. It usually ends in one giving up and letting the pressure win. I love Vanilla for sticking to his gut feeling and not letting anyone pressure him into something he wasn't comfortable/ready to do.

    There were a few problems that sprang up a few times, but it doesn't make this story unbearable. If you're a sucker for love and finding yourself, then this is the book for you.

    Don't ever let anyone change you. ❤️

  • Michelle Schultze

    Hi, I'm Michelle, an teenaged asexual girl, who's struggling with being so.

    Asexuality is the state of being unable to feel sexual attraction. It is not a choice (which is the most frustrating thing about it). It can be quite difficult for one to know if they're asexual, due mainly to the lack of ace representation in today's media. I thought something was wrong with me for the longest time. While my friends talked about turn-ons, abs, body parts, people being hot, etc., I found myself blindly ag

    Hi, I'm Michelle, an teenaged asexual girl, who's struggling with being so.

    Asexuality is the state of being unable to feel sexual attraction. It is not a choice (which is the most frustrating thing about it). It can be quite difficult for one to know if they're asexual, due mainly to the lack of ace representation in today's media. I thought something was wrong with me for the longest time. While my friends talked about turn-ons, abs, body parts, people being hot, etc., I found myself blindly agreeing with them. I assumed that what I had felt before—an aesthetic love of people, the curiosity of romantic actions—I assumed that THAT was what they were talking about. It wasn't until I grew more active in the LBGT community and started questioning my own sexuality that I began to realize that there was a gap in my perspective of the world.

    While other labels like bi, pan, or omni had been good for me in the past, after the novelty wore off, the labels didn't seem to fit anymore. But when it came to the idea of asexuality, it fit exactly right. Scarily so. And it felt like a limitation rather than some mythical doorway to happiness. Because I could imagine my future, and all the things I wouldn't be able to feel, and all the space that would grow between me and others. Due to this singular label that fit entirely too well.

    I can count on two fingers the amount of asexual characters I know: Jughead Jones and Charlie Weasley. There are videos on youtube (Simply_Kenna is a good one, she has a couple videos about being aroace) but they all seem to have come to terms with their asexuality. I didn't know how to feel, mainly because nobody else seemed to be going through exactly what I was going through.

    And then, there was this book.

    I got it for free at a library giveaway activity, and it immediately caught my eye. The cover, the colors, and of course the fact that it was gay. I had read a lot of LGBT books in the first place, and the fact that this one was written in poetry made my little writer heart sing. So that night, I picked it up and started reading.

    It wasn't until the next night that

    . It is later revealed that a certain character was asexual. I suspected so for the longest time, but having it there, physically inked in the book, was... insane.

    My first thought was,

    Of course, I cried a lot that night. It was such a perfect depiction of what I was feeling, even though I wasn't in a relationship myself. But he was feeling that barrier, that grim limitation in the back of his mind, just as I was. He referred to it as the "stillness," which was perfect, which was perfectly optimistic, which made me cry even harder.

    After I finished the book, I flipped back to a poem that had caught my eye. It was called Territory (on page 242-243 on my copy of the book). And I couldn't stop rereading it, and crying all over again, and rereading it and bringing on a new flood of tears. And there I was, at 2 in the morning, writing the poem out again and again on post-it notes and scrap paper.

    Specifically two stanzas stuck out to me:

    That night was the first step towards me accepting my asexuality, which I haven't reached quite yet, but am much closer than I was before. The fact that

    that made me so hopeful for my own future.

    And for one moment, my asexuality didn't feel like a wall. It felt like a floor.

    This book means so much to me, probably way more than the average person. Non-binary people are probably feeling similar, due to there being a non-binary person in the story. Which is just as exciting, honestly. Non-binary don't get much representation either, if any.

    I can't wait for this book to finally come out (haha) so that more ace/NB people can read this, and feel what I felt, and feel a little less alone. And be able to hold up three fingers for the amount of asexual characters they know.

    Maybe a couple years down the line, there can be even more representation for the smaller parts of the LGBT community, and this won't even have to be a problem anymore.

    So thank you, from a teenaged ace girl, who's struggling with being so.

  • Dani

    I found this book troubling. There are a lot of painful misconceptions about asexuality to slog through — and slog I did, hoping against hope that they’d be adequately corrected over the course of the narrative. They weren’t.

    This is a multi-voiced narrative, in which two characters--Vanilla, who is ace, and Hunter, who is pressuring Vanilla to have sex with him--get equal space on the page. The narrative presents the characters’ supposed sexual incompatibility as the cause of their break-up and

    I found this book troubling. There are a lot of painful misconceptions about asexuality to slog through — and slog I did, hoping against hope that they’d be adequately corrected over the course of the narrative. They weren’t.

    This is a multi-voiced narrative, in which two characters--Vanilla, who is ace, and Hunter, who is pressuring Vanilla to have sex with him--get equal space on the page. The narrative presents the characters’ supposed sexual incompatibility as the cause of their break-up and as a situation in which both points of view are equally sympathetic. From Hunter’s POV, there’s a lot of the sentiment that if only Vanilla had discovered the label ‘asexual’ sooner, they wouldn’t have gotten into this mess … as if that’s really what the problem was. As if it ever would have been okay for Hunter to pressure his boyfriend into having sex. In including and validating Hunter's perspective, the narrative repeatedly forgives his sense of entitlement to sex and blatant manipulation of his partner.

    I’m also perplexed by the decision to nickname an ace character for an inherently sexual term for non-kinky sex. I don’t know that anyone would refer to non-sexual intimacy as “vanilla.”

  • Caidyn (BW Book Reviews)

    Hedwig disapproves.

    I’m reviewing this book so quickly after DNFing because I want it off of my currently reading shelf. I don’t want it there and I’m getting rid of it as fast as possible. So, this book is currently unpublished, however, I don’t have an author or publisher to thank. I was sent this book by a blogger who read it, found it aphobic, and now

    as proof of its insensitivity by people who didn’

    Hedwig disapproves.

    I’m reviewing this book so quickly after DNFing because I want it off of my currently reading shelf. I don’t want it there and I’m getting rid of it as fast as possible. So, this book is currently unpublished, however, I don’t have an author or publisher to thank. I was sent this book by a blogger who read it, found it aphobic, and now

    as proof of its insensitivity by people who didn’t read it. So, thank you,

    , for sending this to me.

    Basically, I saw controversy like with

    and I wanted to give it a try. I reached out to her and she actually sent it to me. Like The Black Witch, this isn’t my usual sort of book. I rarely read poetry and I’m not a huge YA fan. Unlike The Black Witch, this book deserves people to call it out for what it is.

    The general plot is that Vanilla and Hunter (which are nicknames for them and they never get called anything else) have been dating since middle school and haven’t had sex yet. Hunter doesn’t like that and wants to do it. Vanilla doesn’t and is asexual… without (as far as I read) saying he is. It has lots of stereotypes and common beliefs tossed in about asexuality.

    That’s not inherently bad. I’m all for people exposing those issues and even showing reader’s why they’re wrong. I’m also not averse to people not in the community writing in that voice. The thing is, you just have to do more research and sensitivity reading to find out if you’re portraying voices correctly.

    Books need to expose and confront issues that they handle. This book did exposure well. Confrontation? Not so much.

    My biggest issue with this book was that the author’s intent was confused. Was it okay for Vanilla to be an ace? Is it valid that he is? Is Vanilla unsure? Are their names supposed to confront how sexual people view aces and how some aces view sexual people? None of those questions were answered. What I was left with was feeling a touch triggered by the aphobia, especially since it wasn’t confronted. It felt as if the author didn’t have an opinion and sort of let it slide. Maybe he was trying to let the reader make up their mind about it… which isn’t fair or right since aphobia is rampant and not many people understand asexuality.

    I didn’t read all of this book. I knew I couldn’t because of the way the topic was handled. Aphobia was presented and let slide and basically, it seemed like the author was saying it was fine by not addressing it. I don’t get the high rating for this book. It’s higher than The Black Witch as of writing this review. (Which doesn’t surprise me. Homophobia = bad. Aphobia = meh.)

    Personally, I say give this book a hard pass. There are other books that confront aphobia and the reality of being a romantic ace better than this one.

Books Finder is in no way intended to support illegal activity. We uses Search API to find the overview of books over the internet, but we don't host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners, please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them. Read our DMCA Policies and Disclaimer for more details.