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The Prettiest Star
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
A stunning novel about the bounds of family and redemption, shines light on an overlooked part of the AIDs epidemic when men returned to their rural communities to die, by Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award-winning author Carter Sickels.
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review
Sparklemn
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

The story takes place in the 80s when the general population's fear of HIV/AIDS was off the charts. It's heartbreaking to look back and recall how little compassion was shown to those who knew they were fighting a losing battle.

This left me sobbing. I finished it before Christmas and still haven't stopped thinking about it. Highly recommend the audio version!

BookNAround Such a heartbreaking but beautiful book. 3w
Sparklemn @BookNAround Definitely 2w
30 likes2 comments
review
Itchyfeetreader
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

Struggling a bit with words for this one. A devastating story of a young gay man with AIDS returning to his small home town in Ohio. Told in predominantly three voices it was heartbreaking and difficult to read but also kind of beautiful. I know this will be in my top lists of the year for sure

CBee One of my favorites this year as well. Powerful and heartbreaking ♥️ 6mo
BarbaraBB I am with you and @CBee ❤️‍🩹 6mo
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CBee
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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#ReadingBracket time!! 😊😊😊

zezeki Can I download from somewhere this template, I really like it and would like to use it, if that would be okay. 😊 10mo
CBee @zezeki I‘m not sure - I just did a screenshot and used Pic Collage to fill in the boxes. @chasjjlee is there a template for this by chance? 😁 10mo
chasjjlee @zezeki @CBee there are a few blank templates on my page that you can screenshot and use ☺️. I will tag you on them 👍. 10mo
CBee @chasjjlee thanks 😊😊 10mo
46 likes4 comments
review
CBee
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

Thanks to @BookNAround for telling me about this book two (three?) years ago ♥️
I‘ll never understand the hate, the horrible treatment, the abandonment. It wasn‘t their fault, but they were blamed anyway. I‘m thankful for this book, and I‘m thankful for the sadness because it means I won‘t forget ♥️
#booked2022 #aidsepidemic @Cinfhen @4thhouseontheleft @BarbaraTheBibliophage

Cinfhen I read this last year thanks to @Megabooks who gifted me a copy!!! It‘s a powerful story 😩GREAT pick!! You‘re on a roll 🎲🎲🎲 11mo
CBee @Cinfhen thank you! ♥️ Definitely a book I won‘t forget. 11mo
CBee @AmyG you‘d love this one if you haven‘t already read it ♥️ 11mo
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AmyG Thanks for thinking of me. Stacked! Have you read Damnation Spring? 11mo
AmyG And unstacked as I was just able to get it from the library! 🙌🏻 11mo
CBee @AmyG it‘s on my list! Would love to read it, I‘ve heard great things! 11mo
CBee @AmyG you‘ll love it. Prepare for the tears though. But it‘s so good. 11mo
AmyG I will send it to you, my friend. 😘 11mo
CBee @AmyG you are the sweetest ♥️♥️ thank you, friend!!! 11mo
Megabooks This was fantastic! 11mo
BookNAround So good, wasn‘t it? 11mo
CBee @BookNAround incredible. Beautiful. Thanks for putting it on my radar ♥️ 11mo
BookNAround ❤️ 11mo
Librariana Had not heard of this one, but added to the stack. Thank you for sharing! 💜 11mo
CBee @Librariana it‘s a beautiful book. Heartbreaking. A new favorite for me ♥️ 11mo
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TrishB
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

I‘m not sure whether it‘s this 😢 or this 😡.
Broke my heart 💔

Reggie Awww I want to read this but am afraid for your emoji reasons. 1y
TrishB @Reggie I cannot lie it‘s very hard going. 1y
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TrishB
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Decided to start this one from birthday pile.

squirrelbrain Have a great day! 1y
Palimpsest Happy birthday! 1y
BarbaraBB So good but be prepared for 😭 😭 1y
TrishB @Palimpsest thank you 😁 1y
TrishB @BarbaraBB I‘m feeling like that already! 1y
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TrishB
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Sorry for a few #birthdaybooks posts - wanted to say thanks too!
These are off hubby 😁

BarbaraBB I loved both Wolves and Star! 1y
Amiable Happy birthday! 1y
Soubhiville Happy Birthday! You‘ve got a wonderful new stack! 1y
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BookBosomed1 Once Their Were Wolves is so good. 1y
TheAromaofBooks Yay!! Happy birthday!!! 1y
Bookzombie Happy Birthday!!!🧁 1y
TrishB @BookBosomed1 that‘s good to hear 👍🏻 1y
Ruthiella Happy Birthday! 🥳🥳🥳 1y
rabbitprincess Happy birthday! I‘m reading 1979 now; read about 80 pages in one go! It‘s a good one 😊 1y
TrishB @Ruthiella thank you 😘 1y
TrishB @rabbitprincess thank you - good to know too 👍🏻 1y
Cinfhen Well done, Mr. B 1y
TrishB @Cinfhen he done ok 😉 1y
arlenefinnigan Belated happy birthday! 1y
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shawnmooney
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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BarbaraBB Such a heartbreaking read 1y
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BarbaraBB
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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#BookReport 31/21
I read a lot this week! So happy! And I even haven‘t included True Story in the picture since my daughter is reading it now. That one was a favorite, as was the tagged one. On to another week if reading and relaxing!

squirrelbrain So many good books there! (Other than Peaces..🤣) Have another fab week! (edited) 2y
Megabooks Damn! Great job! I‘m glad you‘re enjoying reading time and your vacation. 💜 I hope R enjoys True Story! 2y
BarbaraBB @Megabooks She finished it already. Much faster than I! It was a 4⭐️ read for her too! 2y
Megabooks @BarbaraBB fantastic!! I‘m glad you both enjoyed it so much! Solid 4⭐️ for me as well. 👍🏻 2y
Cinfhen Yay for mother/daughter reading!!! Glad you‘re reading & relaxing 2y
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review
BarbaraBB
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

This book made me cry so hard. Each time I read a book about all young queers dying of AIDS while the world turned its back I can‘t believe these were the 80s as well. Were was I? I was a teenager doing the same things they did and I didn‘t have a clue.

This story is another heartbreaking account of those dark times, set in a rural religious community were a boy, dying of AIDS, not just meets ignorance but also pure hatred. ⬇️⬇️

BarbaraBB ⬆️⬆️ Not just by strangers, also by his family. His story is not an unique one unfortunately. All the stars for this book and for Carter Sickels for writing it. (edited) 2y
Megabooks It is such a heartbreaking story! Great review. 💜 2y
squirrelbrain Wow, great review - stacked. 2y
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TheBookHippie It‘s interesting- my friend and I -when asked where all our childhood friends are and we say dead, they don‘t know what to say. ONE of my LGBTQIA friends lived through that time period. He moved to NYC because of the same. Religious hate. It is odd to not have witnesses alive to all our adventures. I strongly suggest following https://instagram.com/theaidsmemorial?utm_medium=copy_link ♥️ (edited) 2y
BarbaraBB @TheBookHippie That is so hard. Your youth friends 💔 I will follow that Instagram account, thanks! 2y
Deblovestoread Stacked with a heavy heart 💔 and thanks for the Instagram link @TheBookHippie 2y
TheBookHippie @Kdgordon88 It‘s an amazing thing. Brings such healing to so many. 2y
SamAnne Such a hard heartbreaking time. I lost friends and colleagues. And so many gut wrenching stories. 2y
Cinfhen Fantastic review!! Im so glad this didn‘t disappoint♥️Having lost a close relative to AIDS, I can attest to the horrible way society treated the victims of this heinous disease. And yes, it‘s so true~ we were young and reckless in the 80‘s and I guess very lucky, that this wasn‘t our fate as well. 2y
BarbaraBB @TheBookHippie It‘s a beautiful account indeed. Thanks for bringing it up. 2y
BarbaraBB @SamAnne @Cinfhen I can‘t imagine how that must have felt. So unfair 💔 2y
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review
Cinfhen
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

A beautifully moving portrait of a family coming to grips with the knowledge that a beloved son (grandson/brother) is dying from AIDS. It‘s 1986 and the stigma surrounding the AIDS Epidemic is at the height of ignorance and hate. When Brian returns from NYC to his small Ohio hometown he faces a hostile and unwelcoming environment. The writing is vivid & visceral. The most accurate & heartbreaking story I‘ve read about this topic.

Cinfhen I LOVED this book @Megabooks Thanks for sending it my way😘😘 2y
britt_brooke Beautiful review! #stacked 2y
BarbaraBB Okay. I got it. Another must-have. 🤦🏻‍♀️😃 2y
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EliNeedsMoreShelves I read this earlier this year - such a powerful story. 2y
Megabooks I‘m so glad you loved it!! 💕💕 2y
TrishB Definitely going to read this one. I recommend this one too 2y
Cinfhen Thanks for the recommendation @TrishB xx 2y
Cinfhen Very raw! I feel like the author must of had some first hand knowledge @EliNeedsMoreShelves 💔 2y
Cinfhen Thanks @britt_brooke 💚I did an audio / print combo… narration was ok 2y
britt_brooke @Cinfhen Good to know - thanks! 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage Ohmigosh this one is right up my alley. It‘s fiction, but have you read The Great Believers? Just an amazing story also. 2y
Cinfhen I enjoyed ( poor choice of word, it‘s such a sad book) this one more than Great Believers @BarbaraTheBibliophage HIGHLY RECOMMEND 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Cinfhen Just found it in Scribd. Yay! 2y
Cinfhen I did audio/ print combo @BarbaraTheBibliophage the audio wasn‘t as good as the print but still worth listening too!! 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Cinfhen It‘s available in both formats, so I can try both. Thanks for the heads up! 2y
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Cinfhen
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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I have about 40 pages left in my WKK prequel to the Cork O‘Connor series, Lightning Strike and then I think I‘ll start the tagged book that was gifted to me by @Megabooks 🥰 I may add audio from #Scribd because I have lots of errands to run today. Happy Wednesday friends!!!

Megabooks The audio on Prettiest is okay, which is why I got you a print copy to read along. Certainly if you‘re getting it included in your scribd, that‘s cool. (Right price!) Just fwiw. Maybe you‘ll like the audio more than I did!! 😁 either way, it‘s a good book. 💜 I hope you like it. (edited) 2y
TrishB I have been meaning to start that WKK series 😁 2y
Cinfhen I can say that after reading the prequel, I‘ve never read the series @TrishB im NOT interested in reading more 😬😜Its not pretty or polished/ it reads like it was written by a Midwestern white guy ( does that make sense???) 2y
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Cinfhen I see what you mean about the narration @Megabooks its not the greatest but im ALREADY LOVING Sharon, Jessie and the grandmother!!! And im loving the 80‘s references!!!! IMO this is WAYYYYYYY BETTER than 2y
Cinfhen I will DEFINITELY read the print when I‘m not running errands/ it‘s a GREAT CHOICE @Megabooks THANK YOU 😘 2y
Megabooks @Cinfhen oh fantastic!! I thought my #80sFriend would enjoy it! They are such fantastic characters that you really care about!! I read Wolves years ago, and I enjoyed it, but Prettiest is definitely a more mature experience, and I liked that a lot more, too!! 👍🏻👍🏻 Especially where I‘m at as a reader now - more into literary fiction. 2y
Cinfhen I need to finish the WKK but now that I started Star it‘s hard to put it down @Megabooks Have you read Prettiest Star @TrishB ??? I think you‘d really like it!!! 2y
Megabooks That‘s why I‘m finishing Epstein before Golden Girl. It‘s just so much better for me ATM, even being such a challenging listen. Julia‘s doing a great job with the narration! I think I like her more for NF. Sometimes one book is just more “right” for how you‘re feeling that time than another!! 🤷🏻‍♀️ #ImAMoodReader 😂 2y
Cinfhen Completely understand!! 2y
TrishB That‘s a shame about WKK as I have enjoyed his stand alones. I hadn‘t even heard of Prettiest Star! 2y
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review
Megabooks
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

Brian was 18 when he left small-town Ohio for NYC. As a gay man in the early 80s, it was the only place he felt he could live his truth. Unfortunately, like many gay men, he caught HIV. This novel is the story of him returning to his parents‘ house to die. 💔😭 Told from Brian‘s, his sister‘s, and his mother‘s perspectives, this book brings into sharp relief the fears and misinformation about AIDS & the bigotry against gay men in 1986. #audiobook

Megabooks When I read Life on the Line about the Covid wards in NYC in spring 2020, the author talked about how Bellevue Hospital was also the hardest hit hospital in the whole country during the 1980s AIDS pandemic and compared the new doctors seeing each of these infectious diseases as new graduates. 2y
Megabooks #JoysOfJune Book 3/6 left on #BookspinBingo board; Library audiobook 1/3 - this is my fiction choice @Andrew65 2y
BookNAround This was such a gorgeous read.I‘m hoping to read Ruth Coker Burks‘ memoir this summer. 2y
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Megabooks @BookNAround I‘ve added the memoir to my TBR. Thanks! 2y
Sharpeipup I cried with this one. Such a great story told from an interesting angle. 2y
Megabooks @Sharpeipup so true! And there‘s so much character development. I love that. 2y
Cinfhen I‘ve previously stacked but I‘m pretty sure I‘ve seen this on #Scribd - will look for it 😊 2y
Megabooks @Cinfhen yes! And it‘s a year or two old so probably won‘t count against your new release borrows. The only thing I‘d change about the audiobook is that it would‘ve been better to have separate narrators for the mother and sister, but generally it is good quality! 2y
Cinfhen 👍🏻I‘m listening to this one - it‘s very new and it‘s rough. Razor sharp 2y
Megabooks @Cinfhen I HATED Three Women with a passion (like 1⭐️ worst book of the year hate), so I was kind of holding off on her fiction debut. I‘m interested to read your review though! Perhaps you will change my mind about reading Animal… 2y
Cinfhen Yeah Three Women bothered me because it didn‘t feel like a genuine investigative report but this book, as “debut” fiction is really winning me over. It‘s visceral and really well written. There‘s a lot to unravel 2y
Cinfhen Also the actress Emma Roberts is the narrator and she‘s FABULOUS 2y
Megabooks @cinfhen Eh. I‘ll definitely wait for your final review (and probably several others) before I put it on the TBR. So many books, so little time! (edited) 2y
Megabooks @Cinfhen oh and I‘m listening to this. I don‘t think it‘s your kind of thing, but the bonus audiobook parts with the actual Nixon tapes of him talking are fascinating. I slept for awhile but then I violently woke up and can‘t fall back asleep. ☹️☹️ insomnia is real!! 2y
Megabooks I‘ve also been reading this one in print from my final BOTM box. It‘s cute! I might try sleeping again. I have help for rearranging some furniture in my room coming at 10, so some sleep would be nice! It‘s 4 here now. 👎🏻 I‘m enjoying the book though! 2y
Cinfhen I was wondering why you‘re awake 🥺I enjoyed The Golden Hotel, my parents met in the Catskills and hubby and I spent many summer weekends at Grossinger‘s so LOTS of fun memories attached to that book. I just picked this up on an Audible deal 2y
Cinfhen Your audiobook sounds good! Im adding it as a #BorrowNotBuy 2y
Andrew65 Great progress 👏👏👏 2y
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Sharpeipup
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Taking a break from stripping beds to read a few pages.

Megabooks Great bookmark! I‘ve also been interested in that book. Is it good? 2y
Sharpeipup @Megabooks the first 15 pages are...I‘ll keep you posted. 2y
Sharpeipup @Megabooks So good. It brought me to tears. 2y
Megabooks @Sharpeipup oh fantastic. (Not the tears necessarily, but the fact the book was so emotional.) 2y
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bibliobard
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

Just finished this month‘s #LMPBC #GroupL read. It was beautiful, real and oh so tragic. I am going to be sitting with it for awhile I think. Did you all notice that beneath the dust jacket is a little video cassette?

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BarkingMadRead
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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What a fabulous box of goodies from @BookNAround the book looks amazing and now my cozies have their own cover! The bookmarks are like a map of amazing ness! Thank you! And thanks to @candority for organizing!! #bestof2020swap

BookNAround Hope you enjoy everything! 2y
candority Oooh! A bookmark pen?! I‘ve never seen one of those before! (edited) 2y
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EliNeedsMoreShelves
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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@ads0123 This one is heading to you! Lordy, get your tissues ready!!

#LMPBC #GroupL

review
Lauren.Archer
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
Pickpick

Taking place in a small town in Ohio in 1986. This story is about a family during the AIDS crisis. Told in multiple POV‘s, Brian comes home to die, and the prejudices he and his family face. This was not your typical story about this crisis, as it followed one single family. This was beautiful and poignant. You will need tissues for this one.

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EliNeedsMoreShelves
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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@ads0123 @Shakespearience @bluestocking.book.nerd I have put together a non-fantasy set of choices for our #LMPBC #GroupL - do any of these look good??

ads0123 I think I‘m gonna vote Landing! 2y
bluestocking.book.nerd Ooh... These are all so different! I'm going to vote Landing or Prettiest Star. 2y
bibliobard Prettiest Star or I Wish You All the Best — but I suppose Landing could work as well 2y
EliNeedsMoreShelves @Shakespearience @bluestocking.book.nerd @ads0123 There were equal votes for Landing and The Prettiest Star, so I had my son flip a coin...and my selection will be The Prettiest Star! 2y
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MrT
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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More 2020 Reads

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BookNAround
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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I started this in bed last night and I‘m already totally sucked into it. The writing is fantastic.

Cinfhen Ohhhh, topic sounds super interesting 🤓 3y
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Well-ReadNeck
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

AIDS in the 1980‘s was such a very specific time to live through. I‘ve often tried to explain to my daughter the fear and the climate and it‘s so difficult to convey. Carter Sickels absolutely nails it in this gorgeous novel. So beautiful and sad. I cried many tears through this one.

Cathythoughts This is getting lots of praise on Litsy, I have it stacked. Sounds like a real heartbreaker though 3y
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review
Chelsea.Poole
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

A beautiful, heartbreaking story of a homecoming for a young gay man dying of AIDS in the late 80s. Sickels evokes the stifling atmosphere (both the summer heat and the small-mindedness) of small-town Ohio, perfectly. He could have been writing about my exact town. Some of the scenes were so powerful; I won't soon forget the incredible imagery. Devastated.

suvata Such a pretty picture for such an ugly story 3y
vivastory I've heard great things about this one 3y
Ruthiella I just heard about this on the Reading Envy podcast today! 3y
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Cathythoughts Great review! & Yes @Ruthiella I just listened to Jenny‘s podcast the other night ❤️💔 this book sounds very good. 3y
Chelsea.Poole @suvata there was definitely some ugliness, but I found beauty in some of the familial relationships and the writing. 3y
Chelsea.Poole @vivastory I loved it. 3y
Chelsea.Poole @Cathythoughts @Ruthiella I'll have to check that out. So good 😭 3y
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EliNeedsMoreShelves
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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#weeklyreport

Planning to continue with these three this week. I've over halfway through the audiobook of Breadcrumbs, so should definitely finish that one!

@Cinfhen

Cinfhen Excellent 🎉 3y
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ReadingEnvy
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

I started this last night intending to make it the last read of the month, but couldn't put it down. Carter Sickels captures what the AIDS epidemic looked like in rural American through the character of Brian, who returns home in 1986 to Appalachian Ohio after most of his friends have died, including his boyfriend. ⤵️

ReadingEnvy His family doesn't even want their neighbors to know he is gay, much less that he has AIDS, and the lack of understanding of the disease causes its own list of problems. The chapters rotate between characters in the family, from the mother who is torn between her husband and her son, to the sister who was a child when he left, to the awesome grandma who has always been his number one champion.⤵️
3y
ReadingEnvy There are other memorable characters in the novel, from the many Karen's who make life miserable for the entire family, to a youth minister that is way too intimate with the teens in the community to the extended family in the area. And the town is memorable too. 3y
Centique This sounds amazing and heart breaking. #stacked 3y
ReadingEnvy @Centique so good! I talked about it on the podcast episode I recorded last night and I'm worried I didn't do it justice. 3y
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SteveWJones
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Just starting this one. Arrived a couple of days ago from East End Books. #lgbt #aids #getindie

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RebeccaH
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Pickpick

This made me cry at the end, which hardly ever happens. I am so into this book. It‘s a story about a virus, this time from the mid 80s.

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RebeccaH
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Started this yesterday and it‘s so good!

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bookishkai
The Prettiest Star | Carter Sickels
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Feeling restless and picked this at random off my kindle app. It was this or reread An Exaltation of Larks. Again.

Hoopiefoot I‘m looking forward to reading this one. 3y
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