Forward March by Skye Quinlan

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc and arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Forward March

Author: Skye Quinlan

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4.5/5

Diversity: Indonesian character, Black character, Vegetarian character, Anxiety character, Autistic character, Asthma MC and side character. Because a good amount of the book involves the MC figuring out their identity, I’m just going to list out all of the 2SLGBT+ identities that I found while reading the book: asexual, bisexual, non-binary, lesbian, f/f romance, gay, pansexual, queer, questioning, m/m romance

Recommended For…: young adult readers, contemporary, romance, marching band, 2SLGBT+

Publication Date: March 22, 2022

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Age Relevance: 14+ (anxiety, depression, asthma attacks, self-harm, underage alcohol consumption, alcoholism, being outted, sexual content, romance, drugs, language, religion, racism, politics, panic attack, homophobia, transphobia)

Explanation of Above: The book shows episodes of anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, as well as a couple of asthma attacks. Self-harm is mentioned, never shown. There is a scene where underage alcohol consumption is shown, but it’s also mentioned occasionally throughout the book. Alcoholism is also mentioned by an adult character and drugs are mentioned once in the book in a joke reference. There is some sexual content mentioned such as sex and sexting, but nothing is ever shown. There’s not even a fade-to-black sex scene in the book, it’s all just mentions of what other characters have done. There is romance in the book, but its hand holding, hugs, and kisses at most. The book has cursing in it. There is religion (Christian) mentioned occasionally in the book. Politics are mentioned a lot in the book and it’s a main focus of the MC’s father and it has some play into the actions of all of the characters. There’s also some small bits of racism in the book, but a lot of homophobia and transphobia in the book, as well as a scene of being outted.

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Pages: 275

Synopsis: Harper “Band Geek” McKinley just wants to make it through her senior year of marching band—and her Republican father’s presidential campaign. That was a tall order to start, but everything was going well enough until someone made a fake gay dating profile posing as Harper. The real Harper can’t afford for anyone to find out about the Tinder profile for three very important reasons:

1. Her mom is the school dean and dating profiles for students are strictly forbidden.
2. Harper doesn’t even know if she likes anyone like that—let alone if she likes other girls.
3. If this secret gets out, her father could lose the election, one she’s not sure she even wants him to win.

But upon meeting Margot Blanchard, the drumline leader who swiped right, Harper thinks it might be worth the trouble to let Margot get to know the real her.

With her dad’s campaign on the line, Harper’s relationship with her family at stake, and no idea who made that fake dating profile, Harper has to decide what’s more important to her: living her truth or becoming the First Daughter of America.

Review: Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I loved the trigger warnings in the front of the book and I highly appreciated it. The book was a sweet queer romance between boarding school marching band students at a conservative high school with a homophobic dean and it starts with stolen ID! It was a fun read, full of small Doctor Who and Criminal Minds fandom moment. I loved the characters and they were fairly complex for a contemporary romance! The world building was well done as well and the book is well paced. I also loved seeing the MC’s self discovery and I feel a lot of teens and adults would also find this book informative in helping them identify who they really are, especially with all the helpful links in the front of the book! I highly enjoyed it for the most part!

However, I did have issues with the book. While I liked seeing all of the struggles the teen characters had against the archaic notions the Republican and conservative adults, I felt it was weird the dean, who is our MC’s mother, didn’t have allergen friendly foods considering the MC has an allergy to seafood but is still served it for lunch. The book also didn’t resolve some of the homophobia shown in the book, which I would have liked to see but I know this is more realistic to not be shown. The book also had a few other plot points that weren’t resolved, like some of the racist comments said or racist platforms held by some politicians (build a wall) and the issue with our MC feeling overburdened by her parent’s choices for her and the MC’s mother’s rude and infantilizing comments. I felt a bit empty with the epilogue and I would have also liked to see more of a turning point from the MC’s father’s platform (more than just what he did) but I also feel conflicted because, again, this is probably more realistic. Sometimes your family will never accept you for who you really are and sometimes your family will never be whole again because of their own hateful and wrong beliefs. So, while I didn’t like it for Harper I do appreciate how real it is.

Verdict: It was raw and truthful and I feel things. Highly recommend!

Book Info:

Forward March by Skye Quinlan

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date:  March 22, 2022

Synopsis:

What’s worse? Someone using your face for catfishing or realizing you actually do have a crush on the catfished girl?

Harper “Band Geek” McKinley just wants to make it through her senior year of marching band—and her Republican father’s presidential campaign. That was a tall order to start, but everything was going well enough until someone made a fake gay dating profile posing as Harper. The real Harper can’t afford for anyone to find out about the Tinder profile for three very important reasons:

1. Her mom is the school dean and dating profiles for students are strictly forbidden.
2. Harper doesn’t even know if she likes anyone like that—let alone if she likes other girls.
3. If this secret gets out, her father could lose the election, one she’s not sure she even wants him to win.

But upon meeting Margot Blanchard, the drumline leader who swiped right, Harper thinks it might be worth the trouble to let Margot get to know the real her.

With her dad’s campaign on the line, Harper’s relationship with her family at stake, and no idea who made that fake dating profile, Harper has to decide what’s more important to her: living her truth or becoming the First Daughter of America.

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55768867-forward-march

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1645674401/ref=x_gr_bb_amazon?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_bb_amazon_ca-20&linkCode=as2&camp=15121&creative=330641

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forward-march-skye-quinlan/1139211851?ean=9781645674405

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Forward-March-Skye-Quinlan/9781645674405?ref=grid-view&qid=1636997349864&sr=1-1

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/forward-march/9781645674405-item.html?ikwid=skye+quinlan&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0#algoliaQueryId=7527f2140f0cea9b4ef7cfe191225492

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781645674405

About the Author:

Skye Quinlan (she/her) was born in California during an earthquake and raised in the Midwest, where cornstalks outnumber people. She studied physical and cultural anthropology at Oregon State University, with a focus on ancient civilizations and a minor in creative writing. Forward March (Page Street Kids, February 1st, 2022) is her debut novel. When she’s not writing, you can catch her at the nearest metaphysics or craft store, dressed up in cosplay at the nearest convention, or ruining antique furniture with epoxy resin and paint. Skye still lives in the Midwest with her wife, their two dogs, several lizards, a snake, and the occasional little human (their niece). She is represented by Moe Ferrara at BookEnds Literary Agency.

Author Links:

Website: https://skyequinlanbooks.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/skye_quinlan

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Skye_Quinlan/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55768867-forward-march

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/404?fromUrl=/Skye_Quinlan

Tour Schedule:

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