Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing well! Right now I’m in the middle of a super chunky read (The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang), so you probably won’t see a review from me for a wee while, so today I decided to continue my Queer Books as Tarot Cards series (part 1 is here!), continuing on with the next seven Major Arcana cards – Strength through Temperance!
First up is the Strength card, which is all about resilience, inner strength, patience and courage, and I think that Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry matches up with those themes perfectly. The book follows sixteen year-old Raya who, after her mother abandons her, lives with her grandmother in a small, conservative town in Texas. She is also very much in love with her best friend, Sarah. When the two are outed, they are sent to a conversion camp, Friendly Saviours, but upon arrival, Raya decides to take on the role of Orpheus and leave said camp. Although I have not yet read this one (I just bought a second-hand copy off of Depop!), I have heard that this is a really sad and moving book that I know is going to destroy me. I’d definitely recommend having a look at the trigger warnings, though, before picking this one up!
Next is the Hermit card, which is all to do with soul-searching, introspection and taking time alone to truly learn about yourself. Candice Iloh’s 2020 release, Every Body Looking follows Ada, an eldest born daughter who has always had so many expectations placed upon her by her parents. When she starts university at a historically Black college, she is the farthest from home that she has ever been, and so she takes the time to explore her sexuality, understand her family’s struggles and expectations and become her own person. This is a book I’m dying to read that I feel fits with this card perfectly!
We’re coming up to the perfect season to read the next one which is for the Wheel of Fortune. This was a tricky one to find a book for as, upright this card is all about good luck and destiny, but reversed (as I’m choosing for this one) is, yep, you guessed it, all about bad luck! So, I decided to choose The Holiday Detour by Jane Kolven! This follows our main character, Dana, who is trying to get home to her grandmother for Christmas but has some bad luck when her car breaks down en route. She gets offered a lift by Charlie, a nonbinary pig farmer, and shenanigans ensue! Not only do we get nonbinary rep in this one, but Dana is also Jewish! It’s a great, quick read for the run up to Christmas!
This next one I think will appeal to many of you who, like me, are always on the hunt for books about sapphic vampires! For this card I chose Avenging Avery by Sheri Lewis Wohl, which I have an eARC of and is released on November 10th! Avenging Avery follows Isa who was turned into a vampire three hundred years ago and has been planning her revenge ever since. Deputy Sheriff Jeni lost the love of her life after they were killed by a vampire, and has since vowed to kill every one of them. After some mysterious disappearances, the two have to work together to defeat a common enemy. This literally sounds amazing! It matches so well with the Justice card which, as you may have guessed, is to do with justice, fairness and the law.
The Hanged One (or as it’s traditionally known, The Hanged Man) was quite a challenge to find a book for, so I’ve kinda played with the meaning a bit! I’ve chosen Camp by L.C. Rosen which follows Randy who spends every Summer at a camp for queer kids. There, he falls for Hudson, who is unfortunately only into straight-passing guys. So, Randy reinvents himself, ditching the show tunes and nail polish, and starts going by the name ‘Del’. As the two grow closer, Randy starts to wonder if changing himself to fit others’ expectations is really worth it. So, The Hanged One card is all about pausing and looking at things from a new perspective and I suppose you could say that Randy does just that? Right?!
The next card receives a lot of unwarranted fear when it pops up in a tarot spread, and it’s the Death card. For this I chose a 2021 release I’m super excited for (and which, as far as I am aware, has no literal death in it), and that is Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June! Jay’s Gay Agenda follows Jay, who feels like an outcast as the only out gay kid in his rural town. One day his family moves to Seattle and Jay starts a new school with a thriving LGBT+ community. So, he decides to create a romance to-do list, or the Gay Agenda, that he hopes to tick off as he experiences them. Jay starts feeling like he’s somewhere that he truly belongs, but soon he has to make some big decisions between his past and his present, his heart and his hormones! The Death card is not literally about death. It’s more about rebirth, the end of a cycle, change and transformation; it’s acually quite a positive card. Since our main character Jay has a big change in the form of moving houses and schools, I thought that this would be the perfect match!
This last one was another difficult card, and so the book I’ve paired it with is a wee bit of a reach, I’m not gonna lie! The books is Furyborn by Claire Legrand which follows Rielle, who is destined to be either the Sun Queen, the saviour of her world, or the Blood Queen, who will bring only destruction. In order to prove that she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must participate in seven magic trials, or else she will be executed. One thousand years later, Eliana, a bounty hunter joins a rebel captain after her mother disappears, and finds out that the corruption in her kingdom goes much deeper than she imagined. The Temperance card is all about balance and purpose, which you could say works with this book – both queens are prophecised and balance each other out with their opposing fates….right!