November's Book Club Pick - Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass!
Connor Major’s summer break is turning into a nightmare.
His SAT scores bombed, the old man he delivers meals to died, and when he came out to his religious zealot mother, she had him kidnapped and shipped off to a secluded island. His final destination: Nightlight Ministries, a conversion therapy camp that will be his new home until he “changes.”
But Connor’s troubles are only beginning. At Nightlight, everyone has something to hide—from the campers to the “converted” staff and cagey camp director—and it quickly becomes clear that no one is safe. Connor plans to escape and bring the other kidnapped teens with him. But first, he’s exposing the camp’s horrible truths for what they are—and taking this place down.
Why I chose this book?
I chose this book because of the simple fact that is is POWERFUL. Adam captures life as a gay teen in an unwelcoming environment so well. I didn't grow up in an unwelcoming environment (in my home life), but I did face bullying in other facets of my life like school, work, neighborhood. Eventually, I would find myself being subject to repeated domestic abuse that resulted in me being homeless.
In Surrender Your Sons, Conner gets taken to a conversion therapy island where trauma is not explored in a healthy manner. Completely the opposite, in fact. Mental health, issues surrounding gender and sexual identity, and home-life trauma are important issues to be discussed about with care and compassion.
The discussion in the book is gritty, raw, realistic, and most of all, important. This is not just a story about facing your demons, or being subjected to trauma, but it is about the importance of the found family. We as queer people are often not part of our own families, so we get to choose what it means to be a family with our friends, significant others, and chosen loved ones.
I chose this book because of that emotional journey. Mental health, gay violence, and queer families are some of the most important topics and discussions in my life. I hope this book is as eye opening as it is entertaining. Take care of each other!