Y’know those books that are SO hard to get hold of, that when you finally do it’s like the best thing in the world? We’ve all got a list of them. The top of my list at the moment is Red, White and Royal Blue (it will be mine some day!) but recently I was really trying to get hold of Reverie by Ryan La Sala. Unfortunately, it was proving difficult to get hold of in the UK. Until it was announced that we were having an event with him and David Levithan at work, and suddenly we had a load come in.
So obviously I bought it.
Reverie is a hella queer fantasy, set in that most fantastical of places, Connecticut! I know! So magical! (No shade to Connecticut, I’m sure you’re magical in your own way). Kane Montgomery wakes up after wrecking his dad’s car and a very important historic mill, with no memories and the feeling that something is just a bit off. We’re quickly introduced to his sister, Sophia, who is a complete Hermione but with a bit more sass, and the glamorous, fierce Dr Poesy, a “psychotherapist” who’s “assigned” to “help” Kane understand what has happened. (Please note the not at all foreshadowing parenthesis in that statement.)
As Kane starts to work out more and more of what happened that night, with the help of his friends Ursula, Adeline and Elliot (who sounds freaking hot), he’s drawn deeper and deeper into what a Reverie is, how they affect the world, and what could be causing them. Plus, there’s the issue of the mysterious cutey Dean, who seems to be involved but is also deliberately secretive and cagey.
I loved this book. After the reading from Chapter 2 at the event, I knew I needed this book even more (it also gave me my new go to insult whenever I’m slightly inconvenienced by something – “pathologically heterosexual”). Ryan described the book as being his answer to all the teen books he read growing up that “did me dirty” in terms of queer rep, and you can really tell. It’s chock full of queer people, both young and old, and feels painfully familiar to anyone as a young queer person who remembers coming out and the lack of acceptance that can come from a small town.
I’ll admit, I found it a bit of a slow start, but I think that was more my own impatience than anything else. The pace works perfectly, because you follow Kane’s journey from having now idea about anything that’s going on and as he works things out, you’re right there too, picking up the threads of whats happening, unravelling everything just as he does. (There’s a very clever pun in there referencing something that happens in the book and I am very proud of it.)
If you want a cool, urban fantasy with a cast of excellent queer kids, a really pretty setting, and the most glamourous drag queen villain ever (In my mind, she’s a cross between Raven and Latrice Royale), then you need this book. If you don’t want those things, then you should probably go and sit in a dark room and reevaluate the choices you’ve made in life.
Reverie – Ryal La Sala ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐