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Gay Club! by Simon James Green - Review

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Do you love my uber retro duvet cover seen on the right?? My mum gave me it, it's about as old as I am! 

Where did I get it? I bought it on Amazon a few weeks ago when it was just 99p, proper bargain. 

What's it about? Barney is in the lower sixth form at his school, Greenacre Academy. He's a good student, a member of the LGBTQ+ society at school, and is quite an awkward person. But thanks to Mandy, the ex president of the club, having left, the presidency is within Barney's reach. After all, there's only four members. Barney will of course vote for himself, and so will his best friend George. Maya, who's also his friend, has recently split up with Bronte, with acrimonious feelings running wild, so she won't vote for Bronte. Only Bronte will vote for herself, meaning Barney will definitely win. 

However, Bronte manages to persuade the headmaster to open up the vote to the WHOLE SCHOOL. This is partly because the school will be asked to submit a video to an organisation for queer youth showing off their school. Barney is nowhere near as popular as Bronte is, particularly when she and Mandy stage a promposal in front of the whole school, complete with songs from the musicals. George steps up as campaign manager and Barney is catapulted into the spotlight.

He also starts talking to a boy from their rival school online. He has to fake a relationship with a boy at school so he has to keep this one under wraps...

And then a whole LOAD of stuff happens! I was just so surprised where the book went and I don't want to give too much away because I liked discovering it for myself and think readers should too. Towards the end I just couldn't fathom who the villain of the piece was, and I LOVED that. It kept me guessing. 

I loved how funny this book was among also having good politics, making extremely good points about the state of the world for LGBTQ+ youth, and being very poignant in general. I can't write funny like that so I appreciate it when authors can. 

I really want to join in one of the gang's extravagant meals, for sure. 

What age range is it for? 14+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? I mean, obviously! Barney is gay, Maya is a lesbian, and George is trans. There's others too, including Bronte of course, but I don't want to give away too much. I like how different LGBTQ+ issues were handled throughout - with a light touch but very much making their points. 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes Maya is Black, although it's not mentioned much, but she herself mentions it in context of being both queer and a person of colour. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No. 

Is there any sex stuff? There is (again no spoilers) but it's not at all graphic, it's very fade to black, which completely suits Barney as a character in my opinion! 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No 

Is there any talk of death? No 

Are there swear words? Yes, a few. Judiciously used. 


What criticisms do I have? My ONE criticism is that we never meet either of Barney's parents! He mentions them being acrimoniously divorced a couple of times, but neither appear. Barney lives with his mum. I kind of get it on one level, but there's a terrible bit towards the end where I really wanted Barney to pick up the phone and confide in his mum. But I guess they didn't have that kind of relationship! But I wished they did, because I wanted an adult to reasure him.  

Would I recommend the book? Yes absolutely. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I saw Simon talk about it at Northern YA Lit Fest and knew I had it on my Kindle, so I got to it. I actually started reading something else but I really wasn't gelling with it, having read only about 60 pages in three days, so I gave up and turned to this. I read 20% straight off! 


What do I think of the cover? It's so cute! Bright and vibrant! 

How many stars? Five out of five, I just loved it so much! 

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