Historical LGBTQ+ Fiction Has Never Been So Good | Blog Tour, Giveaway + Review: Haskell Himself by Gary Seigel

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Such a great novel--a must read in the YA community. Keep your eye out for Haskell Himself!


About the Book

Haskell Himself
Gary Seigel
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: January 19th 2020
Genres: Historical, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
Meet Haskell Hodge. At sixteen he’s already garnered some fame as a former child actor and star of a popular cereal commercial. But that doesn’t do much for him when he’s dumped at his aunt’s house in the suburbs of Los Angeles to face an assortment of neighborhood bullies.
He thinks he might be gay. In fact, he could be the only gay person in the valley, maybe on the entire planet. Even if he does manage to find a boyfriend, their relationship would have to be secret and invisible.
After all it’s 1966. And though Time Magazine claims the sexual revolution is in full swing, the freedoms straight people are enjoying don’t seem to apply to everyone. And as much as Haskell attempts to hide his true self, carefully navigating the tricky and risky terrain of being queer, he’s still taunted and teased relentlessly.
Rather than give in to the irrationality of this hate, Haskell fights back, eventually finding an unlikely outlet to vent his frustration and angst—playing a bully in a screen test for a major motion picture. If he plays his cards right, it could catapult him into Hollywood stardom.
Of course, like most things in life, it comes with a heavy price Haskell’s not certain he’s willing to pay.

Haskell Himself by Gary Seigel
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5) 

One of the most intriguing aspects, for me, when it came down to Haskell Himself, was the fact that it was historical fiction and featured LGBTQ+ characters. I'm always eager to hear more of these voices that are desperately need in fiction and to walk along their life paths with them. This novel was the perfect coming of age in 1960s Los Angeles and thoroughly captivated me from the start. Haskell Hodge is ready for his close up, thank you very much.

(And believe me, you won't be forgetting him.)

All good novels have layers to their central stories. In the case of Haskell Himself, readers can look forward to a setting that blasts us into escapism territory (California, here we come!) while still keeping the narration true to life. Between tales of coming-of-age, and questioning who you are and who you want to be, we are treated to an indulgent view of California. Seigel is able to paint a vivid picture for readers when it comes to the setting, the era and its characters.

Certainly, he doesn't skimp out or lighten the load when it comes to this story. I appreciated that a lot. There's this brightness to the novel that feels not unlike the light one might expect when traveling to California. It's a direct contradiction to the angsty moments we see from time to time, but isn't that life? If you love coming of age stories that create a balance in the narration and feel real, you are going to devour Haskell Himself.

Art is often a great reflection of life and Haskell Himself is no different. It is in screaming colour. It is close enough for readers to reach out and touch it. I definitely loved this book and cannot recommend it enough.




Author Bio:
Gary Seigel was raised in Encino, California where his debut novel, Haskell Himself, takes place. After completing a PhD in English at Rutgers University, Gary taught at several colleges and universities, but his most memorable experience was a brief 12 week stint at the same high school he (and Haskell) graduated from, teaching side by side with some of the same teachers he once endured. Currently, Gary gives grammar and proofreading classes to business professionals eager to write error-free emails. He also has spent the past two decades helping employees control their inner jerk when texting or holding conversations with an impossible boss. His book The Mouth Trap: Strategies, Tips and Secrets for Keeping Your Feet out of Your Mouth, published in 2008, has been translated into over a dozen languages. He is the father of three sons and currently lives in South Pasadena.

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