Review: It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland

It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland

It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland is such a wonderful book. It features four queer characters: Eva, Celeste, Steph, and Gina. They started a band called Moonlight Overthrow in high school that became incredibly successful to the point of having world tours and Grammy wins as well as a large fandom. For various reasons the band breaks up and each of them go their own way. Eva goes off to college while still writing songs for other artists, Celeste is now a big pop star giving world tours, Gina is an actress working on movies for Netflix, and Steph is simply back in their hometown with their family. The four of them were best of friends but now they don’t talk and haven’t seen each other since their breakup. Not only that, Eva and Celeste’s relationship ran much deeper and now they are both heartbroken and trying to move on. When a storm ravages their hometown they all decide to come back together for one concert to raise money for the town and perhaps, in the process, repair their friendships.

In this book we go back and forth between the time when the band was together to the present time when they are organizing and rehearsing for their concert. We also get a look into the fandom via tumblr posts and chats between fans of Moonlight Overthrow. It was a very cool way of seeing the importance of the band to not just the band members but also the rest of the world.

For me my favorite character was Steph, they are non-binary, uses they/them pronouns and is pansexual. They had the hardest time while in the band because it was basically marketed as a “girl” band and Steph wasn’t out about being non-binary so that was very difficult for them to be themself while touring with the band. Seeing the whole situation from their perspective was interesting and I identified with them because of their sense of duty to their family. That feeling that we need to be there for our family first and foremost even if that means putting our own dreams aside sometimes. Additionally, this was the first book I’ve read with a non-binary main character and it really helped me practice using they/them pronouns more. I think for that reason alone I will remember this book for a long time and it will also push me to read more books with non-binary characters since it is important to me to be able to naturally change to/from they/them as I do from he to she and vice versa.

Another cool thing about this book that I loved was the love of music. Eva is a very talented songwriter, since the band’s breakup she has been writing songs for other artists and those songs have been at the top of the charts. The way she talks about music and truly loves creating melodies and writing songs is clearly felt through Moreland’s writing. That being said, I’m so so sad that I can’t listen to Moonlight Overthrow’s songs! I actually imagined a lot of their music like that of BTS + Taylor Swift + Demi Lovato. With catchy melodies, amazing lyrics, and out-of-this-world vocals, simply amazing! (OMG can you imagine that collaboration?!)

All in all, this book is about fandoms, chosen family, friendship, queer love, and the love and magic that music brings to people.

I recommend this book to anyone who is part of a fandom, anyone who loves their friends like family, and anyone interested in reading a book with LGBTQ+ representation.

What is your current favorite band/artist/song? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review — The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

Back in February of 2020 I had my last trip before [insert all.the.things]. I went to Portland and got to visit one of my favorite bookstores: Powell’s. At that time I had no idea it would be the last time in a while that I’d visit such an awesome bookstore so I didn’t buy too many books (if only I had known….). Still, I got one book purely because of the cover and a couple of key words on the back:

Image of a book on a shelf. Other books of various sizes are in the background. The book cover is in sepia, black, and white colors and has written at the top in black "The Good Place meets Law & Order: Bibliophile Crime Unit. This book is so much fun. -- Seanan McGuire. The image on the cover is of an arm coming out of the left side of a dark opening of ripped pages from what seems to be a book. The words on the ripped pages are in french. The title "The Library of the Unwritten" is in the dark opening where the arm is coming out of in white letters. Underneath the title it says "Join the Library. Raise Hell. Underneath the opening it says "A novel from Hell's Library" and under that "A. J. Hackwith"
“head librarian” “Hell” “hero escapes” “author” were the words that jumped at me from the synopsis of the book.

I don’t normally buy books that I’m not looking for but this book just yelled to be picked up! Hell’s library, what’s in Hell’s library?! Is it evil books? Is it books by evil people? What?! I also don’t normally read synopses because I enjoy going into books not knowing much about the plot but this one claimed that this library housed unwritten works, now that’s intriguing! The main character would be the librarian in charge of these unwritten books and that a hero escapes so they have to get him back. With only a tiny bit of unease at stepping out of my comfort zone I bought the book. That was February 2020.

Jump to July 2020 and I figured it was about time to get back into reading since I was stuck at home with not much else to do… Boy it took me a while to get into the book. I don’t blame the book too much though! Middle of a you-know-what and my mental health wasn’t great so my attention span was lacking. I was reading about 20 pages here and there and then I left it for a couple of months until I finally finished it in January of 2021.

Although this book took a while to read I really truly enjoyed it! The story centers Claire, the head librarian of the Unwritten Library. This library is home to all the unfinished works by people on earth. You know, you write half a story and leave it there? Yeah, that story now lives in that library. All the main characters live in those shelves but sometimes they get out of their pages and become “real.” These characters are then put back into their unfinished books by the librarian. But, in one case, a hero escapes his book and manages to get out of the library altogether. Now Claire and Brevity (a retired muse) have to get him back into his book before he meets his author and havoc ensues.

But of course that’s not all! The other big big issue is that someone somewhere has discovered that the Devil’s Bible, written by Lucifer (you know, king of the underworld, head of all things evil, fallen archangel) is somewhere it shouldn’t be. Books are huge sources of power, demons are always going to the Unwritten library to read and borrow some of that power so it is imperative that this particular book doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. So, heaven is making sure they find the book to put it in the proper place and also demons are now after the book! Well, of course Claire and Beverly get mixed into this mystery of where the book is and …well… you’ll have to read the book to find out!

An aspect of this book I really enjoyed also was that we got to visit multiple other afterlife places: Heaven, Valhalla, a random pagan afterlife, etc. The way that one gets there isn’t easy for these characters since one is supposed to be a human soul (I kept forgetting that they were not entirely human throughout the whole book, also a side effect of stopping after a few pages and picking it up again weeks later I bet). There are many challenges and puzzles that they must solve at each turn so that was really interesting.

I highly recommend this first installment of Hell’s Library because not only is it for all book lovers and aspiring writers, it also includes LGBTQ characters. Multiple characters are sexually diverse and the issues that they face through the book (and in their backstories) are treated really well. I did not know this when I read the book but A. J. Hackwith is a queer fantasy and science fiction writer so it makes so much sense now that she was able to write about the identities of the characters so well.

I would like to continue reading this series and perhaps re-read this book now that my mind is more at ease. What do you think? Have you read this book? Do you have an unwritten book that you’ve yet to finish?

An unwritten book is nothing but pure potential, a soul’s potential is power [in Hell]. Power naturally, is all the creatures of Hell care about. They’d descend on the shelves like a swarm of locusts if we let them

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith