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Just Like Everyone Else by Sarah Hagger-Holt - Review

Monday, June 24, 2024

As I said, I took this away on holiday with me because I wasn't sure how many books I would read, but wanted to make sure I had enough LGBTQ+ books to read as that's all I'm reading in June. I actually picked up a different book, but it turned out to be set at Christmas, which isn't something I wanted to read in the middle of June, so I picked this up instead. I read it really quickly and liked it more than The Fights That Make Us, weirdly! 

This book is set in Sheffield which I'm thrilled about because I think there needs to be more northern bassed books in both children's and teen literature. The main character is Aidan Taylor, who is twelve going on thirteen at the beginning of the book. He's in Year 8 and his best friend is Jack. Jack was one of the kids his mum used to childmind, and they have been close ever since. Jack is really into drama and gets bullied because other kids think he is gay. Aidan doesn't know if Jack is or isn't, but he thinks he himself might be. But he's really into running and he's just not sure about himself. 

He does fell running and is really good at it; he bonds with his Auntie Jo over running. She has just been accepted to run the London Marathon so she's really excited about that. She's at Aidan's for a family barbecue and she brings her friends Justin and Atif. 

Aidan is the eldest of five kids - all girls except for him. They are Bells, Chloe, and twins Daisy and Evie. Life is chaotic. Their parents are really involved in their lives and Aidan really has no reason to think that they won't accept that he's gay, but he still doesn't want anyone to find out. So when he realises Justin and Atif are a couple, he panics because he thinks that means people might realise about him. Then things get even worse because Aidan's Mum volunteers to be a surrogate for Justin and Atif. 

Aidan thinks his family is already crazy enough, and now there's another baby on the way. He can't bear to tell anyone at school. He's sick of Atif and Justin being around all the time, and the fact that everyone is just so positive about being a team about everything. I knew the book would have a happy ending but it takes a lot of twists and turns to get there. I loved Aidan and his sisters - they're so realistic. I liked the stuff with Jack and how that was resolved. A lot happens in the book. I love the fact that it's set in Year 8, which is a difficult year I think. I'm giving this five out of five because I just absolutely loved it. 

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