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Small Town Pride

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From acclaimed author Phil Stamper (The Gravity of Us and As Far as You'll Take Me) comes a poignant coming-of-age, contemporary middle grade debut novel about finding your place, using your voice, and the true meaning of pride. Perfect for fans of Rick by Alex Gino and The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy. Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school's first openly gay k From acclaimed author Phil Stamper (The Gravity of Us and As Far as You'll Take Me) comes a poignant coming-of-age, contemporary middle grade debut novel about finding your place, using your voice, and the true meaning of pride. Perfect for fans of Rick by Alex Gino and The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy. Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school's first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can't be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio. When Jake's dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, the mayor begins to receive complaints. A few people are even concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade. Except Jake doesn't think that's a ridiculous idea. Why can't they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he'll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won't be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring Pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor's son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake. But someone that cute couldn't possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?


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From acclaimed author Phil Stamper (The Gravity of Us and As Far as You'll Take Me) comes a poignant coming-of-age, contemporary middle grade debut novel about finding your place, using your voice, and the true meaning of pride. Perfect for fans of Rick by Alex Gino and The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy. Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school's first openly gay k From acclaimed author Phil Stamper (The Gravity of Us and As Far as You'll Take Me) comes a poignant coming-of-age, contemporary middle grade debut novel about finding your place, using your voice, and the true meaning of pride. Perfect for fans of Rick by Alex Gino and The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy. Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school's first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can't be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio. When Jake's dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, the mayor begins to receive complaints. A few people are even concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade. Except Jake doesn't think that's a ridiculous idea. Why can't they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he'll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won't be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring Pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor's son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake. But someone that cute couldn't possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?

30 review for Small Town Pride

  1. 5 out of 5

    Snjez

    dnf @ 20% This has nothing to do with the story. From what I've listened to so far, it seems lovely and meaningful, Jake is sweet and I really like his dad. I'm giving up for now because I can't listen to the audiobook anymore. Jake is supposed to be 13 years old, I think, and the narrator definitely doesn't sound like a teenager. But that wasn't my main problem. My main problem were the voices the narrator gave other characters, especially Jake's friend Jenna and Brett. Jenna sounds like a screec dnf @ 20% This has nothing to do with the story. From what I've listened to so far, it seems lovely and meaningful, Jake is sweet and I really like his dad. I'm giving up for now because I can't listen to the audiobook anymore. Jake is supposed to be 13 years old, I think, and the narrator definitely doesn't sound like a teenager. But that wasn't my main problem. My main problem were the voices the narrator gave other characters, especially Jake's friend Jenna and Brett. Jenna sounds like a screeching parrot and also seems very annoying. Not sure if she's meant to be or it's just the narrator's interpretation of her character. And Brett sounds like a grown-up chain-smoker. It took me 3 days to listen to 1 hour of the audiobook, and at this point the voices are making it impossible for me to concentrate on the story any longer.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marieke (mariekes_mesmerizing_books)

    Look at the cover! Sweet, cute, and vivid at the same time. Just like Phil Stamper’s first middle-grade story. Small Town Pride is filled with so much queer love! I’m incredibly happy that there are more and more queer stories for middle-grade kids. Because in the age of 10-14, so many things change. School, your body, being aware of your sexuality, and maybe even falling in love for the first time. And Small Town Pride just shows us all the feelings you can have as a thirteen-year-old queer teen Look at the cover! Sweet, cute, and vivid at the same time. Just like Phil Stamper’s first middle-grade story. Small Town Pride is filled with so much queer love! I’m incredibly happy that there are more and more queer stories for middle-grade kids. Because in the age of 10-14, so many things change. School, your body, being aware of your sexuality, and maybe even falling in love for the first time. And Small Town Pride just shows us all the feelings you can have as a thirteen-year-old queer teen. This story is like a warm blanket wrapping itself around you to make you feel safe and loved. Phil Stamper pulled me into the story, and I couldn’t hold back, and without being aware of it, I had already read a quarter of the story. The writing is effortlessly flowing, and the characters are incredibly lovable. I sympathized so much with Jake, and Jenna and Brett are fantastic side characters. This is a story to cherish if you’re a queer kid, a parent of a (queer) kid, or a queer adult, even if you usually don’t read MG stories. I loved your young adult stories Phil, especially Golden Boys, but this story has a special place in my heart! I received an ARC from HarperCollins and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Follow me on Instagram

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a Middle Grade book with a Wonderful message. I really enjoyed it and loved this book so much. I love the characters in this book. I loved the parents of the main character in this book, and I loved how much they support him. Great Read with more than one message hidden inside. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (HarperCollins) or author (Phil Stamper) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you This is a Middle Grade book with a Wonderful message. I really enjoyed it and loved this book so much. I love the characters in this book. I loved the parents of the main character in this book, and I loved how much they support him. Great Read with more than one message hidden inside. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (HarperCollins) or author (Phil Stamper) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.

  4. 4 out of 5

    booksandzoe

    Phil Stamper has become an auto-read author for me as all 3 of his previously published YA novels have been 4 stars and above for me. I was curious to see how his debut Middle Grade novel would stack up against his previous novels, and I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth the transition from YA to MG suited him! Small Town Pride is about a middle schooler who comes out as gay, then quickly becomes a more public topic of conversation when his dad hangs up a huge pride flag right outside his ho Phil Stamper has become an auto-read author for me as all 3 of his previously published YA novels have been 4 stars and above for me. I was curious to see how his debut Middle Grade novel would stack up against his previous novels, and I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth the transition from YA to MG suited him! Small Town Pride is about a middle schooler who comes out as gay, then quickly becomes a more public topic of conversation when his dad hangs up a huge pride flag right outside his house. Living in a town so small its legally considered a village, the main character decides to seize this opportunity to become more politically active by standing up for the queer community against the Mayor and other small-minded citizens and founding the first pride parade in his village. I thought the voice for Middle Grade was very flawless; it wasn't condescending as some authors can sometimes lean into, and fit the audience perfectly. I loved the characters in this book, loved the plot, how the development was handled, and I will be giving this to my younger sister to read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ☆ Todd

    Now available for ARC request on NetGalley: https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/boo... Blurb (since it isn't up on GR yet): We will do it. We’re going to throw Barton Springs’s first Pride. Jake just starting to enjoy life as his school's first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can’t be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio. When Jake’s dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, t Now available for ARC request on NetGalley: https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/boo... Blurb (since it isn't up on GR yet): We will do it. We’re going to throw Barton Springs’s first Pride. Jake just starting to enjoy life as his school's first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can’t be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio. When Jake’s dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, the mayor begins to receive complaints. A few people are even concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade. Except Jake doesn’t think that’s a ridiculous idea. Why can’t they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he’ll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won’t be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor’s son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake. But someone that cute couldn’t possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nev

    This was such a lovely queer Middle Grade book! The story follows thirteen year old Jake after he comes out to his parents and his dad flies a huge pride flag outside their home. Some people in their small town are super accepting and happy to see the flag, but not everyone. Whether it’s comments like “there are no people like that here” or being concerned that it will lead to a pride parade being held in their town. So Jake decides they should try to hold a pride festival so he can show that Ba This was such a lovely queer Middle Grade book! The story follows thirteen year old Jake after he comes out to his parents and his dad flies a huge pride flag outside their home. Some people in their small town are super accepting and happy to see the flag, but not everyone. Whether it’s comments like “there are no people like that here” or being concerned that it will lead to a pride parade being held in their town. So Jake decides they should try to hold a pride festival so he can show that Barton Springs can be a welcoming place for everyone. I really enjoyed the message in this book about how people shouldn’t have to move away to a big city in order to find a queer community. How everyone should be able to feel accepted and welcome in their small towns. It was really rewarding watching Jake and his friends stand up for what they believed in and work to change the minds of adults so they can hold their pride festival. But I also appreciated how the author showed that sometimes people can’t be public about their sexuality because it wouldn’t be safe for them. But I did think that at times Jake and his friends didn’t quite feel like thirteen year olds. The tone of the book is mostly hopeful. While there are some people who oppose Jake and him wanting to hold a pride festival in town, the story never gets overwhelmed with hate or anger. Definitely check this one out if it sounds interesting to you! Thank you to the publisher for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Danski

    I would have loved this book if I was a middle schooler (the target age group). It feels important and empowering. The writing felt repetitive though (“with a laugh”, “I shrug”, etc, appear A LOT. But I think this is great. I just didn’t love it. I’ve graded it for the genre and audience though, rather than how much I like it or not.

  8. 4 out of 5

    atlas ♡

    i don't read a lot of middle grade but i saw this on Netgalley and had to request at least! this was a lot more emotional then i expected but still made for a sweet read. small town pride is full of queer joy and i absolutely love it! i loved the main character and following his journey. the side characters were also well done do fun to read about. i liked how the overly supportive parents weren't seen as a bad thing but that Jake was able to communicate to them properly. i love this book's hope i don't read a lot of middle grade but i saw this on Netgalley and had to request at least! this was a lot more emotional then i expected but still made for a sweet read. small town pride is full of queer joy and i absolutely love it! i loved the main character and following his journey. the side characters were also well done do fun to read about. i liked how the overly supportive parents weren't seen as a bad thing but that Jake was able to communicate to them properly. i love this book's hopeful tone and beautiful message. overall this is a well done middle grade book i'd reccomend to all ages!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Vega

    Thank you so much to NetGalley for providing me this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. "Hateful people are everywhere, I know that. But couldn't they just shut up for a minute? Why do they always have to have the last say when it comes to celebrating people who are different than them?" English: Small Town Pride is an excellent story for lgbtq+ children, because the main character is in the struggle to make his small town a more inclusive place for the community, this book deals with i Thank you so much to NetGalley for providing me this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. "Hateful people are everywhere, I know that. But couldn't they just shut up for a minute? Why do they always have to have the last say when it comes to celebrating people who are different than them?" English: Small Town Pride is an excellent story for lgbtq+ children, because the main character is in the struggle to make his small town a more inclusive place for the community, this book deals with issues such as acceptance and the importance of a safe space, that is why I firmly believe that it is a very good book for children. However in my case I did not like it too much, and all the weight of this is carried by the protagonist, Jake, for me he was just an annoying kid who wanted his life to be perfect, even when you know that this can never always be so, besides he was quite ungrateful to his parents and his friend, it was really too annoying and childish for my taste and it hurt the story. Also the way the events were handled throughout the book did not end up convincing me, but I must admit that the ending was nice. Final Rating: 2.5 stars Español: Small Town Pride es una historia excelente para niños lgbtq+, pues el protagonista se encuentra en la lucha para hacer de su pequeño pueblo un lugar más inclusivo para la comunidad, en este libro se trata temas como la aceptación y la importancia de un espacio seguro, es de ese modo que creo firmemente que para niños es un libro muy bueno. Sin embargo en mi caso no llego a gustarme demasiado, y todo el peso de esto se lo lleva el protagonista, Jake, para mi el simplemente era un niño molestoso que quería que su vida fuera perfecta, aún cuando se sabe que esta nunca puede ser así siempre, aparte se me hizo bastante mal agradecido con sus padres y con su amiga, de verdad que fue demasiado fastidioso e infantil para mi gusto y me daño la historia. También el como se manejaron los hechos a lo largo del libro no terminó de convencerme, pero si debo admitir que el final fue bonito. Calificación Final: 2.5 estrellas

  10. 4 out of 5

    M. Reads Often

    Wow, this book made me feel a lot of things! I was sad for the way small towns can be so close minded. I was happy to see the queer rep in middle grade is thriving. I was elated to be able to see more queer people in books which wasn’t a thing when I was younger. Jake is gay, and his dad throws up a giant pride flag. The village he lives in is like why is so giant, and there’s a lot of discourse. There are people who are convinced gay people don’t “exist” in small towns and those who are ready t Wow, this book made me feel a lot of things! I was sad for the way small towns can be so close minded. I was happy to see the queer rep in middle grade is thriving. I was elated to be able to see more queer people in books which wasn’t a thing when I was younger. Jake is gay, and his dad throws up a giant pride flag. The village he lives in is like why is so giant, and there’s a lot of discourse. There are people who are convinced gay people don’t “exist” in small towns and those who are ready to support however they can. Inspired by his favorite farm simulator game, he and his best friend decide to plan a pride event for their village. The mayor seems to be against it, but jake has a crush on her son. It’s all types of complicated. This is a fantastic story about how pride is for who you are and where you’re from. It depicts the onslaught of emotions when it comes to coming out or how the community. deal with it. It’s also the perfect amount of middle school growing up and learning about the world. Jake and his friends are awesome. His parents are great. It’s great to see the community come together and grow. A must for middle grade readers and those who want a wonderful queer story. Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the digital review copy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    Small Town Pride is a darling of a book! It's such a sweetly positive story. It's a story about acceptance and finding your place in the world, even if it's just your small town. Jake is such an endearing character, you can't help but want all the good things in life for him. I loved that he didn't want to escape his town, he wanted to be accepted there and make it more welcoming for all. I hope Small Town Pride finds it way into the hands of all the readers who need it-which, honestly, could be Small Town Pride is a darling of a book! It's such a sweetly positive story. It's a story about acceptance and finding your place in the world, even if it's just your small town. Jake is such an endearing character, you can't help but want all the good things in life for him. I loved that he didn't want to escape his town, he wanted to be accepted there and make it more welcoming for all. I hope Small Town Pride finds it way into the hands of all the readers who need it-which, honestly, could be anyone, of any age, really. It's a feel good read, but definitely makes you think.

  12. 4 out of 5

    lyraand

    "13-year-old Jake loves his rural town, but doesn't always feel supported by the people there, so he fades into the background. That is, until he comes out and his overly supportive dad puts a comically huge pride flag in their yard, suddenly turning all eyes on him." "13-year-old Jake loves his rural town, but doesn't always feel supported by the people there, so he fades into the background. That is, until he comes out and his overly supportive dad puts a comically huge pride flag in their yard, suddenly turning all eyes on him."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    This is a great middlegrade in a lot of ways, with a very lovable main character. I also especially adored Brett, who I want to protect with my life. For a book about pride, though, I would have liked to see more queer characters beyond one gay middleschooler and one bi one. Both because this book doesn't quite show how broad the LGBTQ+ community is, and because I would have liked to see more of a queer support system around these kids. I did however think this was an empowering story when it co This is a great middlegrade in a lot of ways, with a very lovable main character. I also especially adored Brett, who I want to protect with my life. For a book about pride, though, I would have liked to see more queer characters beyond one gay middleschooler and one bi one. Both because this book doesn't quite show how broad the LGBTQ+ community is, and because I would have liked to see more of a queer support system around these kids. I did however think this was an empowering story when it comes to finding the courage and strength to be out.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This was such a great middle grade novel about a young gay boy living in a small rural town who tries to organize a Pride festival despite a great deal of homophobia in his town. Heartwarming and inspiring, this was a great book about finding the courage to be yourself and actively fighting against homophobia. Such a relatable and important read and great on audio! Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance review copy!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Webb

    What a wonderful book. Brb, crying.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Eder

    Absolutely DELIGHTFUL. This was a really well portrayed queer experience that is easily connectable for anyone, queer or ally. There were a lot of dimensions to the story between community, family, and friends. The bad is called out and called what it is. The good is celebrated. This was a very well done MG book and I hope Stamper writes more for this age. When I wasn’t reading, it’s all I could think of. When I was reading, it took all I had to slow down and enjoy the story! I really wish I had Absolutely DELIGHTFUL. This was a really well portrayed queer experience that is easily connectable for anyone, queer or ally. There were a lot of dimensions to the story between community, family, and friends. The bad is called out and called what it is. The good is celebrated. This was a very well done MG book and I hope Stamper writes more for this age. When I wasn’t reading, it’s all I could think of. When I was reading, it took all I had to slow down and enjoy the story! I really wish I had access to a story like this when I was in middle school. I feel like A LOT would have been different.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristel (hungryandhappy)

    Did this make my cry? Yes. Tears of pain and of hope and of happiness. There's still such a long way to go but maybe, just maybe, things are getting a tiny bit better and safer for small kids finding out who they are. Did this make my cry? Yes. Tears of pain and of hope and of happiness. There's still such a long way to go but maybe, just maybe, things are getting a tiny bit better and safer for small kids finding out who they are.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Toby Murphy

    Devoured this book in a day and not just because it’s a quick read. I loved this book. I rooted for Jake so much. The author does a great job of capturing a middle school voice. They also do a good job of moving beyond a coming up story that was typical in books with gay main characters for so long. The conflicts in the book are also very relevant and authentic.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lu

    Thank you so much, NetGalley, HarperCollins Children's Books and HarperCollins, for the chance to read this book in exchange of an honest review. TW: homophobia, anxiety Jay is the first openly gay kid in his school and while his family and friends are supportive and loving, not everyone is in his small town of Barton Spring, Ohio. When his father hangs a huge pride flag in their front yard, showing his love for his son, the mayor starts receiving complains and some people are concerned the flag w Thank you so much, NetGalley, HarperCollins Children's Books and HarperCollins, for the chance to read this book in exchange of an honest review. TW: homophobia, anxiety Jay is the first openly gay kid in his school and while his family and friends are supportive and loving, not everyone is in his small town of Barton Spring, Ohio. When his father hangs a huge pride flag in their front yard, showing his love for his son, the mayor starts receiving complains and some people are concerned the flag will lead to something more...like a pride parade. Impossible in Barton Spring, right? Except Jake doesn't think it's an outlandish idea and while it's hard to get approval from the town council, Jake, his family and friends aren't ready to give up. Even when the mayor's son, Brett, starts hanging out with him and Jenna, his best friend. He isn't in league with his mother, right? Small town pride is my first queer middle grade and I absolutely loved everything. Set in a small town, or better, in a village, told by the powerful and stubborn voice of Jake, the main character, the story is poignant, amazing and truly important. Jake is young gay man and he's struggling to feel loved and accepted in his town, especially since his new huge pride flag gets complaints by neighbours and he doesn't feel welcomed. He only wants to hide in his videogame, Songbird Hollow, where proposing another male character and getting marries isn't seen as an outlandish idea, in a village where he feels loved and he can be himself. When his flag gets complaints, but also push people to show support and desire to be themselves, Jake understand its importance. Even when the idea of having a pride parade, the desire of making others like him feeling loved and accepted meets difficulties and obstacles, he starts to understand he's not alone, he's surrounded by love and support and with his family and friends, new and old, Jake decides not to give up. I loved Jake and Jenna's relationship, their bond and jokes, how Jake's family shows their support and love and also I really loved Brett's character, how he slowly starts to hang out with Jake and Jenna and how he and Jake start to learn things about themselves, helping, supporting and loving one other, in a starting blossoming queer love, even if complicated by feelings, insecurities and fear of coming out. Brett's character was really well written and I appreciated how the author dealt with his anxiety and family's pressure, his struggle in feeling safe in coming out and his hope in the future and in Jake. Jake's growth in this book was pretty amazing and impressive. The reader starts to know him as a young man struggling to feel accepted, choosing to hide in a videogame village and fearing the others' opinion, but slowly, learning he has love and support all around him, Jake grows up, becoming more and more confident in himself, learning the meaning of pride and community and abandoning behind games and fake villages, accepting his own and the good people in it. Small town pride is a lovely story about finding one's place, one's community, friendships, young queer love and the importance of being loved and accepted. The author deals with the importance of finding one's place, using your voice and fighting back, with young, but confident characters ready to change things for the better, to find the meaning of pride. Moving, heartfelt and funny, I loved everything.

  20. 4 out of 5

    abbie

    Set in a small midwest village, Jack is the first openly gay kid at his school. Upon receiving a grand gesture of support from his family, he decides to fight the homophobia of his village and throw their first Pride. This book means so much to me because I grew up not far from places like Jake's village. I've had friends who are from cities just like his. But it also means so much because the support Jake receives from his family and friends is what I wish every queer kid had. Jake is a wonderful Set in a small midwest village, Jack is the first openly gay kid at his school. Upon receiving a grand gesture of support from his family, he decides to fight the homophobia of his village and throw their first Pride. This book means so much to me because I grew up not far from places like Jake's village. I've had friends who are from cities just like his. But it also means so much because the support Jake receives from his family and friends is what I wish every queer kid had. Jake is a wonderful kid and we get to see the very real emotions that go through a young kid's head when facing homophobia. Stamper wrote in such an honest way but at the same time keeps the details to a minimum so as to not make it such a heavy story, because overall, it's much more about hope and community. I really appreciated all of this because it makes for a very immersive and engaging story. And we get to see that Jake isn't perfect, which I love in fiction. We see him realize mistakes and correct them and approach his friendships with care and compassion and a willingness to apologize. Much of the same can be said for Jake's friends as well. We also see what it's like for one of the side characters to watch everything in the village go down from inside the closet. It's such an honest portrayal as well, and one that will resonate with many queer kids because most of us have been there too. There is just so much packed into this story that is so comforting despite it being a story of fighting homophobia within a community. I was drawn in from the start, loving the writing, the setting, the characters, and the plot. I honestly don't have a bad word to say about it. Reading this book filled me with a lot of hope, inspiration, and most of all, pride. Rep: gay MC, bi SC with anxiety CW: homophobia Rating system: 5 - absolutely love, little-to-no dislikes that did not impact my reading experience 4 - great book, minor dislikes that did have an impact on my reading experience 3 - good/decent book but for some reason did not hook me or there were some problematic things that just were not addressed or greatly impacted my reading experience 2 - is either a book I did not click with and did not enjoy, problematic aspects are not addressed and severely impacted my reading experience, or I DNF'd but think it has potential for others 1 - is very problematic, I would not recommend the book to anyone Thank you to Netgalley & HarperCollins Children's Books for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Expected pub date: May 31, 2022.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    Three cheers for queer middle grade stories! This was so sweet and a bit heartbreaking, yet hopeful. It's sad that kids have to worry about their family not accepting who they are and that makes it even more important that there are known safe spaces for them to go to. Small towns can difficult to be different and seeing the kids and adults come together in support of a pride parade made my heart happy. The juxtaposition of Jake and Brett was interesting and a good way of showing some of the exp Three cheers for queer middle grade stories! This was so sweet and a bit heartbreaking, yet hopeful. It's sad that kids have to worry about their family not accepting who they are and that makes it even more important that there are known safe spaces for them to go to. Small towns can difficult to be different and seeing the kids and adults come together in support of a pride parade made my heart happy. The juxtaposition of Jake and Brett was interesting and a good way of showing some of the experiences LGBTQ+ kids have. One has accepting parents who maybe go too far to show their support and the other is terrified for his parents to find out in case he's punished or worse. Both boys deal with pressure from the town and I'm glad they had each other to lean on and help get through the tough times. The ending is pretty cute and this was an enjoyable read. I voluntarily read and reviewed this story. All opinions are my own. Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the copy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jacob the Bookworm

    I was actually surprised by how much I liked this one. I listened to it on a whim, and I'm glad I did. This book is about a boy who is the only openly gay kid in his village. When he wants to put on a pride parade to celebrate his sexuality as well as to show acceptance for any other closeted people in the village, the town council shuts it down. They believe that their small village doesn't need something like that. However, Jake sets out to prove them wrong. It won't be easy, but he's determin I was actually surprised by how much I liked this one. I listened to it on a whim, and I'm glad I did. This book is about a boy who is the only openly gay kid in his village. When he wants to put on a pride parade to celebrate his sexuality as well as to show acceptance for any other closeted people in the village, the town council shuts it down. They believe that their small village doesn't need something like that. However, Jake sets out to prove them wrong. It won't be easy, but he's determined to make it happen. I related a lot to Jake, especially about growing up in a very small town. It was a bit odd to read a middle-grade book (especially since my last reads had been upper-YA or adult books), but it still had a great impact. This was a book that I wish I had during elementary or middle school.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Pineo

    This was a nice, easy read with big topics: homophobia, small town politics, coming out on your own terms, overcoming adversity and finding true friends. While the characters themselves weren't as deeply developed as I would like, the narration was great and kept me reading. I found it had a bit too much about the process of trying to set up a pride festival (I know that was the point of the book but it seemed like the political part took over more than focusing on the kids). Also, while I liked This was a nice, easy read with big topics: homophobia, small town politics, coming out on your own terms, overcoming adversity and finding true friends. While the characters themselves weren't as deeply developed as I would like, the narration was great and kept me reading. I found it had a bit too much about the process of trying to set up a pride festival (I know that was the point of the book but it seemed like the political part took over more than focusing on the kids). Also, while I liked the other side characters most of them were adults, so much they kind of outnumbered the kids. Not really what I normally see in a kids book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    The book we need right now. A wholly original tale of belonging and learning to love where you come from, even if there is work to be done. Phil Stamper is not afraid to say gay and imagines a better, more accepting world for our queer youth. It's a reaxamination of what pride means, and a rallying call for adults to listen to, protect, and validate students in all areas, even small towns. If only. The book we need right now. A wholly original tale of belonging and learning to love where you come from, even if there is work to be done. Phil Stamper is not afraid to say gay and imagines a better, more accepting world for our queer youth. It's a reaxamination of what pride means, and a rallying call for adults to listen to, protect, and validate students in all areas, even small towns. If only.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ari (Books. Libraries. Also, cats.)

    This was super cute! But male audiobook narrators need to stop doing high squeak voices for girl/women characters.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jackson Theofore Keys

    Loved this book. It's a great read for Pride month for people of any age. The MC, Jake, was sweet and resilient as were his parents. And Jake had truly great friends who stood by him all the way. If the real world was like this...❤️. I recommend this book without reservations. Enjoy. 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️☮️ Loved this book. It's a great read for Pride month for people of any age. The MC, Jake, was sweet and resilient as were his parents. And Jake had truly great friends who stood by him all the way. If the real world was like this...❤️. I recommend this book without reservations. Enjoy. 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️☮️

  27. 5 out of 5

    Blakely Smith

    THANK YOU to NetGalley for this eArc. I am avid fan of Phil Stamper and have read each book as it's been released and was over the moon that I received a digital eARC of his middle grade debut! Highly recommend this heartwarming tale of a young boy learning to find his pride. There are more and more YA books for teens seeking LGBTQ fiction; however, there is such a high demand now for Middle Grade books as well and Stamper has knocked it out of the part in both categories! THANK YOU to NetGalley for this eArc. I am avid fan of Phil Stamper and have read each book as it's been released and was over the moon that I received a digital eARC of his middle grade debut! Highly recommend this heartwarming tale of a young boy learning to find his pride. There are more and more YA books for teens seeking LGBTQ fiction; however, there is such a high demand now for Middle Grade books as well and Stamper has knocked it out of the part in both categories!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Jake lives in a small village in Ohio, and when he comes out to his parents and his father raises a rainbow flag in their yard he isn't sure how he feels about the overt sign of pride. Can he just be 13 and queer and hang out with his best friend Jenna (and maybe start to crush on the neighbor kid across the street)? This lovely middle grade novel asks the questions about whether there's a right way to be out, and what someone owes to their small town when they feel different. This book sparkles Jake lives in a small village in Ohio, and when he comes out to his parents and his father raises a rainbow flag in their yard he isn't sure how he feels about the overt sign of pride. Can he just be 13 and queer and hang out with his best friend Jenna (and maybe start to crush on the neighbor kid across the street)? This lovely middle grade novel asks the questions about whether there's a right way to be out, and what someone owes to their small town when they feel different. This book sparkles with joy and sweetness.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Stamper-Halpin

    Small Town Pride is a timely and essential LGBT+ book. In a time of book bannings, censorship, and attacks on LGBT+ rights, having books like this accessible to not only queer youth, but people of all sexual orientations, has never been more important.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)

    As the first openly gay kid at his school, Jake is just learning how to settle into his life. After all, in the small town of Barton Springs, Ohio, not everyone is supportive of him. Especially when Jake's dad hangs a huge pride flag in their front yard. Which the town defintiely has opinions about. When the mayor starts to receive complaints, Jake decides that he's going to throw his town's first pride festival. Even though there are people in Barton Springs who are absolutely against the idea. As the first openly gay kid at his school, Jake is just learning how to settle into his life. After all, in the small town of Barton Springs, Ohio, not everyone is supportive of him. Especially when Jake's dad hangs a huge pride flag in their front yard. Which the town defintiely has opinions about. When the mayor starts to receive complaints, Jake decides that he's going to throw his town's first pride festival. Even though there are people in Barton Springs who are absolutely against the idea. But Jake is determined. When the mayor's son, Brett, starts to take interest in spending time with Jake, he's at first suspsicious. But maybe there's another reason Brett wants to spend time with him. Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for an advanced copy of Small Town Pride to review! I'ved loved Phil Stamper's YA books, so I was definitely interested in reading his debut middle grade. Stamper definitely nails the voice, and I think middle grade readers will fall in love with Jake. From the plot to the characters to the setting, I think everything about this book fits the middle grade audience perfectly. Jake is desperate to make a difference in his town, but only being in middle school means that he needs help from adults. And his parents absolutely step up! I love to see a queer middle grade book where the parents are nothing but supportive. Even if their large gestures of love might draw the wrong attention. The positive intent was there. There are also a lot of queer middle grade readers who will find themselves in towns like Jake. It's so encouraging to see that even if the loudest people are the least supportive, there will be others that support them. Outside of Jake, Stamper does a good job fleshing out the surrounding characters, and I especially loved the evolving relationship between him and Brett. It was so middle school, and it was so perfect. This will honestly be the perfect book to read going into Pride Month. Definitely pick it up when it comes out at the end of the month!

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