Tag Archives: The Heartbreak Bakery

The Best Books I Read in 2022

It’s been a weird, transitional year filled with an exciting variety of stresses and challenges… but hot damn, did I have some excellent fiction to carry me through it. Below are my favourite books I read in 2022, from funky queer sci-fi to uplifting teen rom-coms.

As of next year, I’ll be moving across to Story Graph for all my book-cataloguing needs! Send me a friend request if you’re on there~

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Non-binary Narration: The Potential of POV in YA Novels with Genderqueer Characters

Watch along for a dip into some of my research on the different ways writers can use POV—first-person, close third-person, or the “voice of god” omniscient third-person—to tell different kinds of queer stories and affirm the identities of their non-binary characters in different ways. I use a small sample of recent YA novels as examples, and even talk a little about my own novel manuscript 👀

Please also enjoy my cowboy shirt, the way my glasses sometimes go fully white in the sunshine like an anime character, and the dorky eye-catching thumbnail I made.

Originally presented, virtually, at the Australian Children’s Literature Association for Research conference, 1st July 2022.

Transcript:

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Queer YA Spotlight: The Heartbreak Bakery

“Sometimes I come up with these little recipes… like, gender recipes. For how I want to look or feel that day.” I may be an agender cupcake, but I have to live in a world where most things have been flavored with gender. Even when I was little, I mixed and played and had fun with those flavors. I showed up to second-grade picture day in a pink shirt with neon yellow suspenders and a blue plaid tie. I made it through most of eighth grade in big unlaced work boots, black tights, and overall shorts. And then there’s my baking uniform: guys’ baggy jeans, a binder or sports bra under a fitted t-shirt, and a bright sunny apron.

“Gender recipes,” Harley echoes. “That’s very Syd of you.”

“I’m sorry, it’s ridiculous, I know.” […]

“It’s not ridiculous,” Harley says. “It’s true.”

Premise: Baking is Syd’s passion, and, like with all creative outlets, feelings end up poured into the work alongside the butter and flour. When Syd is dumped by a long-term girlfriend, Syd’s immediate coping mechanism is to bake a batch of brownies. But Syd’s heartache infuses the chocolatey treats, and everyone who eats them—including many patrons of the queer-owned community space and bakery where Syd works—quickly goes through their own horrendous heartbreak. Syd embarks on a quest to undo the delicious but disastrous damage, slowly figuring out that not everything in life, identity, and romance has a strict recipe.

Rainbow representation: an agender protagonist, a demisexual non-binary love interest, and not a single straight person in the entire multitudinous background cast save for Syd’s lovey-dovey parents.

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