3 Reasons to Read “This Is Not A Love Story”

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Kitty dreams of a beautiful life, but that’s impossible in suburban London where her family is haunted by her father’s unexpected death. So when her mum suggests moving to Amsterdam to try a new life, Kitty doesn’t take much persuading. Will this be her opportunity to make her life picture perfect? In Amsterdam she meets moody, unpredictable Ethan, and clever, troubled Theo. Two enigmatic boys, who each harbour their own secrets. In a beautiful city and far from home, Kitty finds herself falling in love for the first time. But will love be everything she expected? And will anyone’s heart survive?

During my recent internship at a literary agency, I was asked to read a lot of material, from completed manuscripts to unsolicited submissions. But of every book that crossed my desk during the last four weeks, the only one that made a lasting impression was Keren David’s This Is Not A Love Story. At first, I was only interested because David got her idea for her first novel while in a program at my university in London. But by the time I was half way through Love Story, I was hooked beyond belief. This diverse YA story is particularly relevant in the conversation following the landmark SCOTUS ruling on equal marriage rights in the United States. Here are three reasons to check out Love Story, especially if you are interested in representation and the elimination of bisexual erasure.

1.) Oh, the diversity!

Unlike the majority of YA novels that dominate the market, Love Story takes place in Amsterdam instead of, I don’t know, Forks. It centers around three Jewish teens, all of whom have varying life experiences and friends from around the world. I can’t remember ever reading a book that discussed Judaism when I myself was preteen and teen, save perhaps Ivanhoe or Dreams in the Golden CountryThis story’s frank discussion of what Judaism means to different people is both enlightening and a valid representation of a faith that is usually overlooked. (Also, the descriptions of Amsterdam will make you want to move there.)

2.) Altering the formula

The title says it all: even though this may be a story about love, this is not a love story. (It makes more sense when you read it, trust me.) Although Kitty, Ethan, and Theo fall into a temporary love triangle, nothing ends up the way you would expect a typical YA romance to go. Instead, this story is about dealing with real-life problems and learning how to bridge the gap between teen and adult. It is a realistic picture of how most teens think and function in that strange time before they must shoulder the responsibilities of being a grownup.

3.) Queer characters

That’s right, Love Story doesn’t just feature one token queer character, but two. Ethan is openly bisexual, while Theo is realizing that he may be bisexual or gay. Although there are a few moments where Theo is conflicted about telling his family, at no point does the story center on anyone “coming out.” It was so refreshing to read a book where a character who doesn’t fit into the binary was simply allowed to exist. In other words, Ethan and Theo aren’t bi for the sake of being the “bi characters.” Their sexuality is a part of them, and it is beautiful. Considering the continual problem of bisexual invisibility in literature and various media, I believe that this mainstream YA novel can open doors for more representation in teen culture.

If you follow us on Twitter, you know that the London branch of The Collective attended last weekend’s Pride event! We took a million pictures and videos of gay love, and want to share them with you. Keep a lookout for a video highlighting our favorite parade moments. In the meantime, go read some Keren David!

#YesHomo,

The Collected Mutineer

P.S. SDCC is just a few days away! There is still time left to donate here

Book of the Month: Fandom Frontlines

Wow, so it’s been a while since I’ve done a book rec for The Collective.

I, uh, choose to blame grad school and an overabundance of fanfiction for my literary silence. (Shame on me.)

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Fortunately, our friends over at The Geekiary pulled me out of my impromptu reading hiatus by releasing an e-book all about popular culture, fandom, and how we interact with the two. My book rec this month is The Geekiary’s Fandom Frontlines: The Effect of Geek Culture On Our Everyday Lives. 

 

A Brief Synopsis

The writers over at the Geekiary have compiled several essays all about their experiences in fandom. The fandom cornerstones are covered—fanfiction, shipping, cosplay, representation, etc.—and the authors blend personal experience with fandom trends to create a portrait of what life is like as a fan. Such a life can be richly rewarding, as The Geekiary’s admin Angel writes about in her explorative “How Misha’s Minions Saved Me,” but fandom also has its darker side, and Fandom Frontlines explores that as well in its more intensive looks at topics such as queer baiting in Emma Scully’s “Queer Baiting and the Need for Canon Representation.” Fandom Frontlines combines both focuses to include a comprehensive look at what it means to be in fandom in the early 21st century.

Some Thoughts on Fandom Frontlines 

I’ve spent much of my adult life doing academic research on popular culture, and perhaps the nerd in me is a little too happy at the idea of a work being both academic and demonstrating personal connections in fandom. For me, fandom is about bringing people together, and Fandom Frontlines shows us how fandom can do that—for either good or evil.

Fandom Frontlines shows us how fandom brings validation to such practices that are commonly marginalised by mainstream culture, such as shipping, in essays like “Shipper Shame: How I stopped Hiding and Learned to Love the Shipper Within” by Yvonne Popplewell or “I Will Go Down With This Ship” by Farid ul-Haq. As a shipper, I loved to read about other fans’ experiences with shipping and how they embraced the lifestyle.

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The parts of this book that resonated with me most, however, were the essays that emphasized the importance of diverse representation in popular culture. And, let’s be honest, that’s the heart of this book: to bring awareness to a culture that’s inundated with white-washed, heteronormative, cookie-cutter storylines and characters. And, really, where’s the fun in stories like that?

You can buy the book for Amazon Kindle here.

-The Collectress

Come find me on Twitter or Tumblr

‘Lunch With Lecter’ Podcast Episode 4: “Aperitivo”

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Banner Art by The Spaniard

Hello Fannibals and welcome to the “Lunch With Lecter” Podcast featuring C. Diva and Jeremy Caesar. In this broadcast, we discuss Season 3 Episode 4 of NBC’s Hannibal. 

Enjoy a three-course discussion and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

There will be spoilers, so don’t listen if you haven’t seen “Aperitivo” S3xE04 of Hannibal.

“Lunch With Lecter” will be on break during SDCC and the week after (I’m heading to a wedding!) but we plan on posting podcasts for episodes 6&7 at some point after July 21. Tune in next week for the ep 5 podcast and please subscribe for updates.

Stay hungry, my friends.

xoxo C. Diva

Find me over on Twitter and Tumblr rambling, per usual.

Help us get to SDCC by donating here. Even $1 helps!

This podcast is on iTunes!

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Fanart by IDFYTI

IDFYTI on Twitter

IDFYTI on Tumblr

IDFYTI on Etsy

 

SDCC or Bust! The Collective Bloggers Are Going to Comic-Con (and need a break)

Hello Collectors!

132507twyj9w11bwtw1wtlThe Collective Bloggers are heading to San Diego Comic-Con next week, July 9-12 for the first time ever, and boy, are we EXCITED!!

So excited, in fact, we’ve got to take a bit of a blog-break July 2-8 get ourselves ready for the biggest convention we’ve ever attended together (yes, the London branch and California branch are reuniting and it feels so good!).
Thanks to your generous donations, consistent readership and encouragement, four of the Collective Bloggers will be attending the most famous pop culture convention in the world and covering the event for YOU. There is so much to do and see at the con and we have been working diligently to make sure we get the content you want to see at the convention we all want to be at.

There are so many great films, television shows, comics and fan events taking place, it’s going to be difficult to see all of them, but we have a plan. The Collectress plans to focus on queer representation, the Spaniard will be looking at diversity in the industry and I am gonna rock my feminist agenda and focus on women in pop culture. We have a few definite events on our itinerary that we are looking forward to sharing, starting with the SuperWiki Wayward Cocktails party on Thursday at 7:30pm at the Analog Bar. Admission ranges from $10-$250, with various benefits coming with each pricing tier. On Friday, we all plan on braving as many hours of the Marvel Television Presents line as it takes to see Hayley Atwell, Clark Gregg and the rest of the cast of Marvel’s big television hit shows Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent CarterSaturday, the Collectress plans on attending the Mobilizing Fandoms panel, featuring philanthropic organizations who use fandom for charity work, including our favorite, Random Acts and GishWHeS. Sunday brings us to the SUPERNATURAL panel in the dreaded Hall H, which means you will find the Collective Bloggers camping out on San Diego sidewalks Saturday night in order to get inside to see the show. Stop by, say hello, share a cuppa (maybe Misha will bring coffee again) and get ready for the madness, because I have a feeling SDCC is going to be wild.

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If you haven’t yet, click the link to the right of the page to donate to The Collective. We will write fanfic for you, advertise your blog on twitter, cover a panel of your choosing or send you some really cool geek gear, if you do. Check out our prize tier and donate, pretty please. Even $1 helps!

You can support our SDCC fundraiser by clicking here.

The Collective Blog will be back on July 9 with SDCC news and more geeky stuff we know you love. You can also follow whothehellisdiva on Periscope, dearcollectress on Snap Chat, or any of the Collective Bloggers on Twitter for SDCC content, or just drop by to say hello.

We will see you at Comic-Con 2015!

xoxo C. Diva

Find me over on Twitter and Tumblr rambling, per usual.

Shipping 101: Nyssa Al Ghul and Sara Lance

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Hello class and welcome back to Shipping 101!

For Kick Ass Women in Comics Week, we are boarding the femslash ship of Nyssa al Ghul and Sara Lance of DC’s comic book adaptation, The ArrowIn the comics, the Black Canary is Dinah (Laurel) Lance, but in the television show, before Laurel picks up the super hero mantle, it belongs to her sister, Sara. On Arrow, Sara is trained by the League of Assassins and it is on Nanda Parbat that Nyssa and Sara meet and fall in love. The history between these two is complex and fraught with deception and pain, but Nyssa and Sara come through it all with a strong sense of self and love for one another. Even when Nyssa is working against Sara, it is only to protect her from the vengeance of her father, Ra’s al Ghul.

If you’re into femslash, angsty love stories that don’t always have a happy ending and kick ass comic book ladies, check out author gnimaerd below. While I’m not HUGE into the fandom, this writer depicts the love story of Nyssa and Sara with astonishing clarity and a simplicity that can’t be beat.

This is How it Begins

Best Father in Law

New Scars

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xoxo C. Diva

Find me over on Twitter and Tumblr rambling, per usual.

Help us get to SDCC by donating here. Even $1 helps!