Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing well! I’ve had a busy start to my week already and I was so lucky to get to see My Chemical Romance – one of my favourite bands since I was about 12 – live for the first time and it was so so good! I’ve also, of course, been busy reading, and I was so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Out of the Blue by Jason June, hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours. As always, check out the other amazing posts by clicking on the banner below, and keep reading to hear my thoughts on the book!
Title: Out of the Blue
Author: Jason June
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT+, Young Adult
Synopsis: Crest is not excited to be on their Journey: the monthlong sojourn on land all teen merfolk must undergo. The rules are simple: Help a human within one moon cycle and return to Pacifica to become an Elder–or fail and remain stuck on land forever. Crest is eager to get their Journey over and done with: after all, humans are disgusting. They’ve polluted the planet so much that there’s a floating island of trash that’s literally the size of a country.
In Los Angeles with a human body and a new name, Crest meets Sean, a human lifeguard whose boyfriend has recently dumped him. Crest agrees to help Sean make his ex jealous and win him back. But as the two spend more time together and Crest’s perspective on humans begins to change, they’ll soon be torn between two worlds. And fake dating just might lead to real feelings…
This sophomore novel from Jason June dives into the many definitions of the world home and shows how love can help us find the truest versions of ourselves.
My first dive (haha, get it!) into Jason June’s work was this book, Out of the Blue, and it was certainly a fun one to start with. It’s a dual narrative book following Crest – who goes by the human name Ross – and Sean. Ross is newly on their Journey to selflessly help a human being before they can become a mer elder – and who do they meet as soon as they wash up on the LA shore? Sean, who has just been unceremoniously dumped by his now ex-boyfriend. So, Ross enlists Sean in a fake-dating scheme to help Sean get his ex back, and the two of them are absolutely 100% certain that they’re not going to fall for each other in the process…
One of the things that initially drew me to the book was the representation. We have a nonbinary main character who uses they/them pronouns and is relatively feminine-presenting, as well as a fat main character. I was definitely not let down in this sense. Throughout the book Jason June made the decision to, instead of assigning characters genders when Ross or Sean meet them, to instead describe them as masculine-presenting or feminine-presenting, etc., and it didn’t feel clunky or affect the flow of the narrative at all. In fact I think it was really effective and I’d love to see it used in other books too! The fat rep was also particularly great as a fat reader myself. I loved how Sean was one of the best swimmers on his school swim team and that his fatness was not a hinderance at all. In fact, reading that Sean’s fat characteristics were what love interests really liked about him was so heart-warming to see, especially in a YA novel!
I’m not a big reader of mermaid-based books – in fact, I don’t really consume any mermaid media in general, not even H2O – but I really enjoyed it in this book. I thought it might be a bit awkward but, aside from a couple of cringey scenes, I actually think it was done really well. One of my favourite bits of the book was actually Ross explaining being a mer to Sean through the means of a powerpoint, because it felt like something that might actually happen and not a weird infodump!
Of course, I loved both Ross and Sean, and the romance and plot, but I can’t help but wish that Sean’s love of movies played a bigger role (wow, I’m on fire with the puns today!) throughout. At the start of the book it felt like it would play a much bigger role than it did, especially with all the romance ‘scenes’ laid out on page. I also had a bit of an issue with some of the cringey language, and how many references to sex there were. I get it, teenagers think about sex, but it was a bit much for me, especially when how merpeople have sex was brought up – and it was brought up several times!
Overall, this was a really fun and exciting romance that had me feeling so many emotions. I really enjoyed Jason June’s writing and the representation was so, so good. I’m definitely going to be picking up more queer merfolk books in the future and I’ve already got my hands on a copy of the author’s first book, so rest assured that I’ll be picking that one up soon too!
About the Author:
You’ve come here wondering, “What is the meaning of life?” Er, I mean, Jason June’s life. Jason June (it’s a two-name first name, like Mary-Kate without the hyphen or the Olsen twin) is a genderqueer writer mermaid who loves to create picture books that mix the flamboyantly whacky with the slightly dark, and young adult contemporary rom-coms full of love and lust and hijinks.
When not writing, JJ zips about Austin, Texas. He loves dinosaurs, unicorns, Pomeranians, and anything magical that takes you to a different world or time. JJ is a tried and true Laura Dern stan, and he is actively looking for an Andalite friend.
His picture books include WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, illustrated by Jess Pauwels, and PORCUPINE CUPID, a queer-inclusive Valentine’s Day story, illustrated by Lori Richmond, both from Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster. For under-the-sea whimsical adventures, check out the MERMICORN ISLAND chapter book series from Scholastic! And get ready for JAY’S GAY AGENDA, Jason June’s debut YA, queer rom-com, coming June 1, 2021 from HarperTeen!