Pride Must Be A Place by Canadian author Kevin Craig is the perfect young adult read to celebrate July, the month of pride. Craig opens a conversation of becoming open-minded and learning tolerance and acceptance toward the LGBTQ group so there can be a place for pride in the community and within oneself.
The story follows Ezra Crane, a teen struggling to be open about his sexual identity among his peers and family. Ezra can see how hard it is to find acceptance from the school and community when his openly flamboyant friend, Alex Mills, is slandered with physical and verbal abuse from bullies at school who take things too far. Turning to his family for help is not an option, either, when his father has honest, unfiltered opinions toward the LGBTQ group that causes tension between the two.
When the intolerance of the community and Ezra’s fellow students goes too far, he and his friends create the first gay-straight alliance club at their school, named The Rainbow Alliance Club. Acceptance is a long path to walk and many students become vocal of their dislike of the club and what it represents, but Ezra and his friends don’t give up on their determination to find tolerance and peace between students and the club, even when giving up seems easier than pressing on.
“There are so many things we can change, aren’t there? We can change every little thing but who we are. Once we make peace with that, there’s nothing anybody can do to stop what follows.”
This is a courageous, tough, and beautiful story about coming toward an acceptance of self and others. It’s an honest and brutal tale about what it means to not be accepted by peers and family, to hope for a brighter and more accepting future when the present seems dark and foreboding. Craig brings Ezra’s story to light, showing how cruel and prejudiced the world can be but the light and humorous moments are the ones that stick out the most. The moments where there can be laughter—even amongst hateful voices and actions—speak about outliving trauma and the ability to find pride in joyful moments with people who are accepting.
Pride Must Be A Place (MuseItUp Publishing) is a must-read novel that will send readers on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as Craig writes a wonderfully crafted novel on the efforts the people of LGBTQ and their allies face when it comes to creating a safe place for themselves and others with the hopes of reaching a more tolerant and positive future.
About the Reviewer: Kaitlyn Sutey lives in Bracebridge, Ontario. She completed a double major in English Literature and Creative Writing in May 2019 from Dalhousie University. Back at home, she spends most of her time reading and writing novels. Kaitlyn aspires to edit manuscripts for a publishing company, and to one day release a novel of her own. See Kaitlyn here .