Love in the Time of Global Warming - Francesca Lia Block
Book content warnings:
homophobic slurs

This . . . is a book that's very hard to rate. On one hand, I love the fact that there's LGBT+ representation, and I want to support it! On the other . . . I'm not sure how much I actually enjoyed the book as a whole.

I do need to say how much I loved the writing, though. The writing is gorgeous. So lyrical and expressive. I can see why Francesca Lia Block has many loyal fans. And the book certainly has one heck of a lovely package: the stunning cover design and the butterfly-adorned chapter illustrations.

Love in the Time of Global Warming somewhat follows The Odyssey, in a post-apocalyptic, modernish-day way told from the viewpoint of a young bi girl, but things seem to be thrown into the story to make this "retelling" make sense. There isn't a lot of explanation for why these things happen (a Lotus Hotel randomly coming into her path full of teens drugged on lotus flowers to serve as the Lotus-eaters of this modern-day Odyssey, etc.). The story spends such little time in places that there's not enough spent on building tension, learning from each situation, etc. Places are there to acquire new characters or draw very blatant similarities to the Odyssey.

Francesca Lia Block tries to make the story scientifically plausible with whole scientists-gentetically-mutated-&-cloned-giants-to-create-the-apocalypse thing, but the entire story world is so fantastical that the explanation seems far-fetched somehow. It almost seems that a more magical explanation would suit the story better and would make more sense . . .

The book also has a tendency to skip over the action scenes, having Penelope (the MC) fall unconscious at the most convenient parts so others can get her out or something similar and then explain how they did it later. It became very annoying (her rescuer: a man who tended to show up at nearly every scene she needed help. How does he always pop up so conveniently to save the day?? Why was that a thing?).

This book is half written in flashbacks that the MC could see when she looked at people, and half when the book actually takes place. I found myself way more invested in those flashbacks than the current plot, as they tended to make a lot more sense, invoke more sympathy, and show more character than anything written out-of-flashback.

Now . . . the diversity! The four main characters are part of the LGBT+ community. One of them is described as being black, and there is an interracial couple as well. Yes! This is great. Everyone knows YA could use more diversity, and this is wonderful. The whole "queer superpowers" dialogue had me grinning so much it hurt.

But . . . this book keeps trying to say Hex is queer . . . and he's not.

"Ash throws a glance back over his shoulder. 'Wait, since when are you queer?'
'I am not what I once was,' he answers, and though Ash and Ez exchange a glance, no more discussion seems to be needed."

Hex is attracted to women. He's a heterosexual trans man. Him liking women does not make him queer, because he's a man. Then again, I hear the next book is extremely transphobic, so I guess this is foreshadow.

Anyway, I was tempted to read the sequel just to support diversity in YA, but I read some reviews discussing how the book was ridiculously transphobic, ableist, and slut-shaming, so I think I'll pass.