Alan Cole Doesn’t Dance by Eric Bell

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5stars

“You know what a good friend said to me once?”
“What?”
“He said, I’d rather have a hard time being myself than an easy time being somebody else.”
“Whoah.”
“Yeah. You’re being yourself, and that’s what matters.”

Title: Alan Cole Doesn’t Dance
Author: Eric Bell
Series: Alan Cole #2
Number of pages: 288 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Fantastic, important, emotional.
Bad things about this book: I want more books now but I’m happy how this ended.
Do I recommend it? Of course. You need to meet Alan.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Alan made me cry. He did it again with his innocence and good nature and his courage to be himself without having to endure bullism. Standing for himself and for all the people that don’t have the strength to do it. Defeating evil with kindness, with his art, one step at a time. To see the difference you want to see in the world, you have to start somewhere, right? If you don’t do anything, nothing will change, and that’s exactly what Alan thinks and why I love him so much. I adored this little book so much. I couldn’t put it down, finished it in one afternoon.

Alan is the sweetest of boys and Odin was a great addition to the narration. Odin and Alan were the cutest together; from “rivals” to art buddies. Smiles and laughter they didn’t share with anybody else, a past and present not so easy. Innocent and sweet. My heart couldn’t take all the adorableness. Alan’s friends, his family, things aren’t always great; they fight, because for things to get better, a little confrontation is necessary.

Having more queer books out in the world is the most amazing thing in the world and having more and more queer books for middle graders is even greater; this is the kind of book kids nowadays need, a book that normalizes their feelings because they aren’t wrong, they aren’t disgusting, their love is as much true as the ones of other people. They should never feel ashamed of who they are and books like this one give me so much hope they will have a safer world to live and be themselves.

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Alan Cole Is Not a Coward by Eric Bell

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5stars

My name is Alan Cole, and I am not a coward.
Not anymore.

Title: Alan Cole Is Not a Coward
Author: Eric Bell
Series: Alan Cole #1
Number of pages: 272 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Adorable and it will be fill you with joy.
Bad things about this book: The parents and Alan’s brother were annoying but there was nothing bad about the book nor the writing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, and there’s a sequel
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Marvelous little book; it warmed my heart and filled me with joy and hope. I never turn down a book that appeals me only because its target age is and age that it’s more than half of how old I currently am. It doesn’t matter that I was 12 years old 20 years ago; if the story seems nice I’m going to try it. I have to admit that I don’t quite remember how it was being twelve. How was I? What were my problems? Did I enjoy being twelve?

I know that twelve was the age I moved from Ecuador to Italy and the impact, language wise and cultural, was immense. I was trying to fit in in school, learn a whole new language and not fail my classes. It was a lot but somehow I did it but I don’t really remember how it all went down. I certainly wasn’t like Alan; I have two sisters, one younger and one older, but we never bullied each other. We fought, that’s almost a must between siblings, but we were never violent and abusive. It made me so mad reading about Alan’s home situation, if I still think about it I want to slap someone, break something, drink a shot of tequila, scream my lungs out.

Not really remembering how was life as a preteen, I went almost blindly into Alan’s story. A young boy, tall for his age, hair long enough to cover his eyes when needed, who happens to realize he is interest in boys, with a devil instead of a brother, a mother whose happiness seems gone, a father too strict borderline abusive if not completely abusive, and living a low-key life with no friends. Alan is blackmailed by his brother who found out he is gay, and is forced into a CvC (Cole vs Cole) game: if he doesn’t complete 7 tasks in 7 days he can kiss his secret goodbye. If I had a brother like Nathan, I think I would’ve secretly learned martial arts and taught him a lesson.

Our hero, Alan, has to win because he doesn’t want his secret to be revealed; I don’t think he is ashamed of who he is, it’s more like he knows how the world is and wants to postpone the derision that will come with coming out. Twelve-year-old kids can be immature and he wants a quiet life for as long as possible. The time will come, it’s inevitable but he wants to decide when and how to come out, his brother doesn’t have the right to take that from him. He has a huge crush on a boy and screams when a girl wants to kiss him so, yeah, the time to come out will have to come sooner or later.

I love how Alan’s unstable table, made of two rejects (three counting himself) become his safe place and the boys become his friends. Madison who doesn’t have friends because he is a little know-it-all and is too fat to be consider cool. Zack who has his head well beyond the clouds and is fascinated by every little thing, be it a cloud, a shadow or a rock. The three kids will form a unique trio and they will help each other. Their friendship is cute and I’m furious about anyone that made them feel that they were not enough and never will be.

“People often think the only way to be a hero is to be an extrovert, because they work better around people. But introverts can problem solve too. Just because you’re not going out fighting crime in long underwear doesn’t mean you can’t be a hero. You don’t need superpowers to be super. Or a good kid. Remember that, Alan.”

The parents play an important part in this story. Alan’s parents are awful and, even after knowing what made them that way, their behavior was still inexcusable. There is no excuse to put guilt he didn’t deserve onto your child, no matter how much you were hurting. You don’t get to treat your child like a thing, like whatever he does has to be to make you look better, to prove the world you are valid. You don’t get to disregard your kid’s passions or destroy their work because you don’t see the point. Oh my, some scenes made me so furious I think I got a new set of wrinkles.

Super long story short, this book may not be long but it faces tons of themes and it gets to your heart with its hope and feelings. It’s a wonderful story and it has a sequel I can’t wait it’s published so that I can read it. Alan deserves to be happy and I’m sure happiness will find him one way or the other.

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