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Book Review of Crystal's House of Queers by Brooke Skipstone


Crystal's House of Queers by Brooke Skipstone is a novel about the lives of teenager, Crystal Rose, the protagonist, and her group of teenagers living in the small town of Clear, Alaska. It's a queer coming of age story, a portrait of struggling amid the Covid Pandemic crisis, and a tender and heartbreaking love story, complete with a collection of memories of abuse, trauma, joy, and survival.  Crystal lives with her loving but rigid grandparents and younger brother. Deserted by her abusive parents, believed to have died in a car accident, she finds an unexpected home in the tight-knight conservative community which lies virtually in the center of the great state of Alaska. Skipstone adds a beautiful queer romance at the center of the novel that is breathtaking in its honesty and complexity.

Crystal finds herself drawn to Haley Carson and vice versa. Crystal dreams of erotic encounters with Haley, and eventually, she will live those dreams.  Crystal also intercedes in a confrontation between Haley and her abusive boyfriend.  A lot of complicated feelings ensue. Skipstone handles the serious subject matter with tenderness and depth. The characters feel very real, constantly surprising both themselves and the reader.

Epic in scope, Skipstone's stunning book is an unflinching conventional narrative of how queer women are viewed in today's world.  It is a journey of gender and sexual discovery. It celebrates the beauty and complexity of queer lives without glossing over the trauma created by a transphobic society. It's the kind of queer narrative we badly need: honest, freeing, and vital.


This warmhearted and sex-positive book focuses on a confused teenager struggling to claim her true sexual identity, and it's got an adorable F/F romance and a wonderful cast of interesting characters.

The pages are adorned with numerous illustrations that represent sketches by the protagonist, Crystal Rose. They add immensely to the narrative by helping the reader to visualize characters and events better. 

Another thread in the story is the reappearance of Crystal's parents, who have been out of her life for over a decade.  Will they be welcomed or shunned? 

This is a narrative of the transformative period in the lives of Crystal Rose and her schoolmates.  It is her relentless pursuit of living as her true self that makes this book impossible to put down. 

Crystal's House of Queers is beautiful and painful and full of the kind of raw honesty that feels like a true gift. It is a twisting journey to Crystal's gay awakening


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