This was such a beautiful and heartfelt story about love and queerness against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis. It told the important story about the LGBTQ movement in New York in 1990, the homophobia and mistreatment at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but most of all it told a gripping coming of age story and a story about first love and finding the courage to be true to who you are.
When You Call My Name reminded me a lot of one of my absolute favorite books, Like A Love Story by Abdi Nazemian, which is truly high praise, but it still had a very distinct own voice and story. It follows the two gay teens Adam and Ben as they both go through life-changing moments.
Adam lives with his supportive and openminded parents (really loved them!) in Greenwhich when he’s asked out on his first date by a cute customer at the movie rental store where he works. Over the weeks when they meet up each Saturday he falls in love with Callum, but feels that Callum never fully lets him in. Not until he figures out that Callum has AIDS and will never fulfill his director dreams. But Adam refuses to give up on Callum and in the shadow of death, their love story blossoms.
Fashion-lover Ben used to live upstate with his mother, but when she found out about his sexuality she kicked him out. When we meet him, he’s moving in with his older brother in downtown New York and gets to meet his brother’s girlfriend, a fashion photographer who invites him into her exciting life. But Ben will soon find out that even in New York, the world is full of close-minded and homophobic persons.
In a chance meeting near the hospital where Callum is being treated, Ben and Adam meet, and a lifelong friendship with a promise of something more, starts to grow.
I absolute adored this book! The characters were amazing, so lovable and unique, and the story was so gripping and heartfelt. It was also something of a love letter to New York and a homage to the music, artists, fashion icons and super models of the 1990s, which gave me such wonderful nostalgia. From the very first page, the story just pulled me in and I couldn’t put it down until I found out what would happen with all the characters who completely stole my heart.
The topic was heavy at times, with all the sickness, the fear of dying, the homophobia and violence and parental rejection, but it was nevertheless a beautiful love story and a story full of hope. It was also a story about friendship and how meeting the right person at the right moment in time can heal a broken heart and give you the courage to be true to who you are and learning to love and be proud despite all discrimination and cruelty around you.
And the author’s note at the end… it truly brought tears to my eyes and gave the story added closure.
“They say that memories fade with time but I don’t believe that’s true. You carry them with you like stones in your pocket. Sometimes when it’s quiet you take them out and roll them between your fingers. Then you put them back in your pocket, safe again. You don’t leave them behind.”
I will definitely carry Adam, Callum and Ben like stones in my pocket from now on.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charli Meadows Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Wesley Chu Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez