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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Thoughts: Looking for Group by Rory Harrison

Dylan doesn’t have a lot of experience with comfort. His room in the falling-down Village Estates can generously be categorized as “squalid,” and he sure as hell isn’t getting any love from his mother, who seemed to—no, definitely did—enjoy the perks that went along with being the parent of a “cancer kid.”

Now that Dylan’s suddenly in remission, all he’s left with is a lingering OxyContin addiction and a hunger for something—anything—but the life he’s known.

His only escape has been in the form of his favorite video game—World of Warcraft—and the one true friend who makes him feel understood, even if it’s just online. Dylan met Arden playing Warcraft, and now he wants to take her on a real mission, one he never thought he’d live to set out on: a journey to a mysterious ship in the middle of the Salton Sea.

But Arden is fighting her own battles, ones that Dylan can’t always help her win. As they navigate their way west, they grapple with Arden’s father (who refuses to recognize his daughter’s true gender), Dylan’s addiction, and the messy, complicated romance fighting so hard to blossom through the cracks of their battle-hardened hearts.

Hey Friends,

I had no intention of reading this book. In reality I hadn't heard a thing about Rory Harrison's Looking for Group until it came in my Quarterly Box. Even when it came, I thought maybe I would never get to it. However, after a couple weeks, I decided to give the first 50 pages a try.  I enjoyed those 50 pages enough to keep reading.

Looking for Group is a story about a boy who has miraculously defeated cancer and is now trying to navigate life. Looking for Group is about a girl who was born a boy trying to find a community that accepts her. The two have found one another through their video game. They have now come together in real life- on a quest of self discovery.

I liked this book, I didn't love it. It was a very meh book for me. Even now I find the story fading from my mind (and I've only finished it a few days ago).  I liked Dylan, he has just come through a very taxing time and his support team (ie/ his mother) was crap. I am going say this right now- Dylan DOES NOT have a drug addiction. I do not understand why this is even presented in the synopsis. His addiction does not exist. I needed to get that off of my chest.

As I said, I liked Dylan and I liked Arden and I liked their relationship. Dylan identifies as gay and is confused when he finds himself attracted to Arden- who is a transgendered. Dylan's struggle with this was pretty amazing to read. He really was unsure if he was being an ass in his feelings for Arden- he recognized her identity as a woman and respected that, but physically she was still male and he was so worried he was being disrespectful- he could not figure out his feelings. This is my favourite part of the book.

Really, not a lot happens in the Looking for Group- there isn't any real struggle to be found in the book. I understand this story is supposed to be a coming of age tale, but I didn't really get much of that either. It's not a bad story, it's just not very believable- it didn't feel authentic. However, in saying that- I am glad this book exists and I am glad that it features two protagonists that are vastly underrepresented in YA literature.

Overall, Looking for Group may not have been the best book I've ever read. But I was never bored while reading it- I still enjoyed it. But it wasn't a memorable story for me.

~Happy Reading Everyone

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