Title: Another Word for Happy
Author: Agay Llanera
(Received an epub copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest opinion. Review also posted on my Goodreads account)
“Closets are for clothes. Not for that part of yourself you loathe. If you want to see the light, Outside the closet, you must take flight.”
I grew up in an environment where there is so much rainbows and all and I know that you know what I mean and I really really appreciate this story so much. Every word of this book made me cry, literally made me cry. The title of this book truly encapsulates the aspect of being in a unique community where we all know has struggle being accepted by everyone but has provided us the happiness and joy they gladly share to all of us, for me they are happy people and to me they really are another word for happy, I have so much love for the LGBT community and they are really close to my heart and this book will be one of the best stories I have ever read and will be forever etched in my memory. This is my first in this kind of genre and I believe that we all need this kind of diverse stories. This book however is bittersweet due to its issues about coming out but also still it focuses on the protagonists life as a music prodigy and his life as a regular student and as a son and as a best friend.
“Out of the closet, we choose to be free. Remembering that gay is another word for happy.”
This book is an array of colors, a spectrum of emotions, a rollercoaster ride of feelings. It will make you happy, and at some point it will make you sad and the whole time it will make you cry. Yes, cry. Cry for so much joy, cry for sadness and cry for celebrations.
“People are naturally scared of things they don’t understand. Understanding and acceptance go both ways.”
I love Caleb for being brave and courageous and I am glad that he has found the reason to come out and be proud of who he is. To find it in his heart that it is okay to be what he truly is and to find acceptance and comfort all throughout. That no matter what the odds are there will always be someone who will accept you, it may be hard at times but acceptance and understanding always go hand and hand. I really feel his emotions from the simple person that he is, to what he had become in a week’s time together with Franco and how he had become after all the pain, the love, the struggles and the acceptance and happiness that he achieves in the end by coming out.
I love Franco as much as I love Caleb, he may have done something to Caleb but I still adore and love him. He may be flawed also just like the others and yet there is something in him that’s just so heartwarming and lovely. Maybe because he appreciates Caleb so much and he has paved the way for him to come out in the open and accept his own worth. I think he really did bring out the best in Caleb. If only they could end up together, they compliment each other very well, they perfectly fit each others personality. Franco has so much warmth in him that even I can feel it.
Ginny and the Aunties, oh my goodness gracious! They complete this story and they make me giggle, they make me smile and they make me believe that love wins. Yes the Aunt’s vows? God! I cried reading them well, I cried the whole time reading the book anyway, they are just lovely and I knew it. The scene where Caleb first went to the house. I have hinted it already. Their support for Ginny and Caleb was undying and it is overwhelming.
Tara and Drew the remaining members of the famous triumvirate ahh Drew I don’t know how to feel about him at first, but I have come to terms with my feelings for him after I finished the book. I love it when he reached out to Caleb at the end and tell him how proud he is of what he had become. He is silent and yet observant of the things around him. He is quiet and yet he has this warmth. Tara is fun, I think she is cool, having a likeness for Caleb she’s just out there very ready to express what she feels for someone. I love that in her and I am glad that Caleb has himself thinking if he was like Tara very vocal, straightforward and free.
Caleb’s Mom, being the matriarch and the only support he has in their home I know that it is very hard for her to accept the news but, a mother for all we know will accept her children no matter what, whatever choices they make, whatever preferences in life they will have they will always love their children, accepts them and fights for them. After all who else will love us infinitely right? I am so happy that she has finally comes to terms with Caleb’s personality. The scene at the wordplay event? It gives me chills while reading it and yes how many times do i have to say that I cried? Somehow his mother reminded me of my Mom, maybe because my Mom also participates in the church.
My heart is just so full after reading this. Now, I know why there are so much good words for Miss Agay’s works. This is my first full length novel from her and it is very beautiful and will touch you one way or another and this definitely won’t be the last. And I hope everyone gets to read this story, it would be such a great inspiration for others who also struggle with their life choices. Coming out isn’t easy for everyone but I think you have to go out there be brave and show the world how amazing you are whichever preferences in life you might have. There are people who will understand you believe me. People who will not judge you in what you believe in. People who will accept you and embrace your uniqueness no matter what.
“Surely, his arms were bigger now – stronger and longer. But he knew he still wouldn’t be able to hold all that happiness shimmering before him. Still, it was okay. Some things were just too big, too beautiful for him to hold on to.”