Book Title: The Upsides of Anger
Author: Francis Gideon
Genre(s)/Categories: Young Adult Fiction, Queer Fiction, Fantasy
Average Goodreads Rating: 4 (I’m the first one to rate it on there – feels very weird! But happy to start it with a good average 🙂
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Brief Synopsis: “When Justin’s best friend drags him to a track meeting, Justin thinks he’s just going for the distraction. Having been dumped by his girlfriend, and still in the closet as bisexual, running allows him to forget about his problems. Everything works out—until his mother donates his favourite pair of sneakers to the local charity.
As Justin tries to find his old sneakers, he stumbles on a pair of identical running shoes—and learns too late they are simultaneously cursed and enchanted by the virtues of anger. Now, stuck in a sudden vortex of rage and passion, Justin is forced to trust Vipin, the only person who seems to have answers to his many questions. ” (pulled from Goodreads page)
So I WANT TO READ THE NEXT ONE already. Why isn’t it out yetttttt???? Okay, I’ll stop being so dramatic. Or I’ll try at least. No promises. The big overarching story barely gets going in this one and I wanna know how everything turns out. That’s a good thing. I guess. It means I’m invested in the story, even if I have to impatiently wait for the next stories in the Sole Experiment series (which I assume it’s called based on the Goodreads page).
This was a very good and interesting novella. (I think it’s a novella anyway, it’s fairly short but I never know exactly what the requirements are for these things?) I’m going to refer to it as a novella until I’m told otherwise.
First of all, a bisexual protagonist? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP! Seriously though, I’ve been reading a lot of queer fiction the past few years but there has been a serious lack of bisexual protagonists. I clearly need to up my game – search out more bi leads for my book conquests/binges!
And this was such a good pick for National Coming Out Day. Justin’s coming out experience with his family members in this story was very positive and his parents’ reactions definitely reminded me a bit of mine. Sometimes we just really need happy queer stories – positive coming out experiences, cute and fun romances, fairytale endings. And this was a fun and happy story. Ah, Coming Out Day – it’s generally such a positive thing but it’s definitely pressure filled (for me anyway). There are plenty of people in my life who don’t know that I identify as bi and who probably won’t know for a long time and I’m okay with that. Coming out is really such a lifelong thing and I’m a very private person (about pretty much everything except for books apparently) so coming out day is not really my thing. I celebrate it in my own way AKA reading queer stories, spending time on Litsy and watching old Sandra Bullock movies. LMAO. At least, that’s how I’m celebrating it this year.
Anyway, this was a fun and happy story and the fantastical elements definitely intrigued me. Learning lessons through magic shoes? Sounds pretty cool to me. Unless I was the one who had to wear the shoes and learn the lessons – NO THANK YOU. I’d rather live vicariously through my books. But I am definitely excited to see where the story goes – and I hope Justin and Vipin are in the next one. I think I will become even more invested in the characters and stories in the next books/novellas in the series – it’s hard to completely connect with characters in 78 pages. But that didn’t stop me of course. Justin and Vipin are super adorable and I can’t wait to read more about them.
Also, the author seems like a really funny dude. Since I’m obsessive about everything and like to know as much about a book and author as possible, I may have done a few searches of his name. Here is his twitter, his website is linked below and I am DEFINITELY going to have to buy his other books and check them out! Stay tuned- I’m sure they’ll end up reviewed on here sooner or later!
To wrap up this post – here is my rating of this book on my handy dandy “Queer Stories Rating Scale”:
Queer Stories Rating Scale:
Angst: 1/5 – Not much angst at all – perfect! There wasn’t much negativity about his identity at all and it’s nice to read such a positive story once in a while.
Coming Out: 1/5 – As I mentioned, his coming out experiences with his family were pretty positive. His sister figured it out and kind of confronted him about it but not in a mean way – but it wasn’t really his choice. His desire to just get it over with and come out to his parents felt very familiar to me, especially the relief when it has been said and it is done and over with!
Believability: 5/5 – Justin has completely believable! This is why we need bi writers writing bi characters! There were a few small remarks that Justin made that completely resonated with me and isn’t that one of the main reasons we read books? To connect to them. To find a page or passage or sentence that we just feel deep inside. To find the thing that makes you close your eyes and just send a thanks that someone else gets it.