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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!
Any Day with YouAny Day with You by Mae Respicio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Any Day with You is probably my favorite #Filipino middle grade novel I’ve read! It has everything that represents the Philippines to me- a large multi-generational family who love each other even if they’re oceans apart and, of course, delicious food to punctuate any event.

Kaia wants more than anything to stand out from her big sister’s shadow and she has the creative talent of using special effects make-up to help her. She and her friends enter a movie making contest. With the sudden news that her great-grandfather will be moving back to the Philippines, Kaia needs to win the contest to make him proud of her and stay. A tender tale about learning to say goodbye and being okay to new experiences.

It’s a shame it was released during the start of the pandemic and was not given the proper attention it deserved. But it’s available now in paperback (link below) so don’t miss out on it any longer. I know I’ll be reading her other books soon!

I’ve known about this series for awhile but I can’t remember what made me finally give it a go.

Originally written two decades ago, a part of me thought some parts were dated but really it seemed very ahead of its time. It had everything a YA romance novel had but with gay characters. So, what if things seemed formulaic? How many times have we witnessed (and continue to and will continue to witness) the same things over and over again with “cisgender straight white” characters? I mean, even with these books, the diversity within a minority group is lacking but that’s a whole other issue.

In Rainbow Boys, we meet the three main characters- Jason, Kyle, and Nelson. We alternate between their different viewpoints. It’s a coming to terms with one’s identity. Rainbow High is the aftermath and navigating the changes that lie before them. And, Rainbow Road has the three of them going on a cross country road trip that may forever alter their relationships.

(It would have been great if there was another follow up novel (or anything) called Rainbow Reunion seeing them now as adults.)

Nelson, the most flamboyant of the bunch, was my least favorite character which I think reveals more about myself as an out but somewhat repressed gay man if that makes sense. Is it jealousy that I can’t be as free as him or is it the socially ingrained assimilation tendency that has been programmed into me to not want others to stand out so we can blend in? Again that’s a whole other issue.

Anyway, I thought he had the toughest ordeals (dealing with an HIV scare, for one) which was sad. By the end of the third book, I found him totally insufferable.

I listened to the entire series very well narrated by Alston Brown. And I know he was just reading from the book but I’m glad I never have to hear the character of Jason saying “wazzup?” again. (I’m guessing that’s how it was written.) I would have read this quicker if I didn’t have to request that the second audiobook be purchased which took about two and a half months. Otherwise I probably would have binge-read the whole series.)

This reminded me of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City if it took place in high school. I would say the books are definitely worth a read bearing in mind it really is of it’s time if one wants to see how much things have changed (or not) over the years with and to the LGBTQ+ community in both literature and the real world.

You can go to my Goodreads page to see other books I’ve read which I’ve been too busy to review. https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7247248-earl

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

6 thoughts on “My Reading Week #IMWAYR- November 15, 2021

  1. Well, if Any Day with You is your “favorite #Filipino middle grade novel” then it must go on my list. I’ve added it to my wish list pile through our local library and hope to get it by December. It was really hit or miss for books that were released during the pandemic – very sad that some didn’t get the recognition they should have received. Thanks so much for sharing, Earl!

  2. I’m with Shaye, bookmarked Any Day With You, Earl, will be sure to find it! I’ve never heard of those Rainbow Boys, will list them but may not get to them soon. I understand your need not to stand out because I have a nephew that was similar until he found a mate. It helped & we’ve talked about it. Thanks for sharing your perspective. It’s so trite but I continue asking the old questions, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Frustrating for me with a diverse family who are sometimes at risk now when it does not have to be that way. I value your posts!

  3. Any Day with You sounds like a wonderful novel, and I’m glad you connected with it so much, Earl! And the Rainbow Boys series sounds fascinating—I’m always astounded by the little bits of representation that authors presumably had to sledgehammer through into the world back in those days. And I appreciate your comments about Nelson as well. Also, I noticed the author is Alex Sanchez—I actually heard him speak at a panel just last year about something he wrote! But I didn’t realize he’s been writing for so long. Thanks so much for the fascinating post!

  4. I have added Any Day with You to my list. My book club decided to read novels by Filipino authors for our upcoming get together. We met in person last time and our host (whose partner is from the Philippines) fed us a fabulous feast of Filipino food. I was able to recommend Randy Ribay’s Patron Saints of Nothing and Mia P. Manansala’s Adobo and Arsenic. People have read both of them. I am wondering if you can recommend a Filipino author who is not also American.

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