Title: Another Word for Happy
Author: Agay Llanera
Published: January 30, by CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Reading Period: May 22, 2017
What does it take to come out of the closet?
Since he was thirteen, Caleb has always known he’s gay. Now a college freshman, he falls in love for the first time. If it’s true that love conquers all, then will Caleb finally find the courage to reveal his secret?
In this tale about family, friendship and self-discovery, find out how Caleb discovers the path to the freedom he’s always longed for. Here’s a hint: it involves doing things outside his comfort zone, such as joining a spoken word group!
Thank you to Ms. Agay Llaner for a digital copy of this book in-exchange of honest review.
When I read the synopsis of Another Word for Happy, I’m thrilled so I immediately signed up for the blog tour. Another thing that caught my attention is how diverse this book. I haven’t read a book about a boy coming out of the closet. I am always curious of the thoughts, feelings, behavior and emotions of those people part of the LGBT community especially how they struggle yet still strive for acceptance and respect.
Seventeen year-old Caleb is gay. He is a pianist and oblivious when he first time attended spoken word/slammed/open-mic with his friend Ginny. But when he saw Franco De Leon, he couldn’t help but mesmerize him. He got to know Franco and experience all his first even his first heartbreak.
What Franco did to Caleb is unforgivable. I knew that Franco will use Caleb as a rebound. Caleb is amazing on how he take and handle things. He’s thinking logically and considering all things.
Pushing down the attraction towards same-sex because one doesn’t want to disappoint his/her family is really hard. That situation is common especially for teenage boys here in the Philippines. LGBT community until now are striving for their rights. In some family, the idea of having a gay son is not welcome.
It takes a lot of courage and perseverance before one can “come out of the closet” especially when one have to tell it to their family member. One must prepare for any reactions especially a possible rejection. What is heartbreaking and totally tear my heart in this novel is when Caleb’s mother couldn’t and wouldn’t accept his identity.
Bayot and bakla are the most common words that are usually said to tease or label people part of the LGBT community.
If a boy is soft-hearted and his actions are more feminine, people call and tease them bayot or bakla. Most gays here in the Philippines are afraid of “coming out of the closer” because they don’t want to disappoint their family and not to lose the respect for them.
Honestly, it is a challenge for me a write a review. I have to write carefully and be sensitive of what I am writing because I do not want to cross gender inequality. The story was well-written though it may also include other twists to spice it up but I know and I can feel how difficult it is to write such story.
A highly commendable heartbreaking and tearjerking story by Agay Llanera.
“Remember these three things: courage, spontaneity and freedom.”
“People are naturally scared of things they don’t understand. Understanding and acceptance go both ways.”