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And They Lived . . .

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From the author of Can't Take That Away comes a sex-positive, fairytale-inspired YA novel that celebrates first love and self-acceptance, perfect for fans of What If It's Us. "My heart didn't stand a chance. I loved it from once upon a time all the way to its joyfully complex ever after." - New York Times bestselling author Becky Albertalli Chase Arthur is a budding animator From the author of Can't Take That Away comes a sex-positive, fairytale-inspired YA novel that celebrates first love and self-acceptance, perfect for fans of What If It's Us. "My heart didn't stand a chance. I loved it from once upon a time all the way to its joyfully complex ever after." - New York Times bestselling author Becky Albertalli Chase Arthur is a budding animator and hopeless romantic obsessed with Disney films and finding his true love, but he's plagued with the belief that he's not enough for anyone: he's recovering from an eating disorder and suffers from body dysmorphia fueled by his father, and can't quite figure out his gender identity. When Chase starts his freshman year of college, he has to navigate being away from home and missing his sister, finding his squad, and contending with his ex-best friend Leila who is gunning for the same exclusive mentorship. If only he can pull together a short for the freshman animation showcase at the end of the semester. Then Chase meets Jack Reid, a pragmatic poet who worships words and longs to experience life outside of his sheltered world. But Chase throws everything into question for Jack, who is still discovering his sexual identity, having grown up in close-knit conservative family. Jack internalized a lot of homophobia from his parents and childhood best friend, who unexpectedly visit campus, which threatens to destroy their relationship. Chase will have to learn to love--and be enough for--himself, while discovering what it means to truly live.


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From the author of Can't Take That Away comes a sex-positive, fairytale-inspired YA novel that celebrates first love and self-acceptance, perfect for fans of What If It's Us. "My heart didn't stand a chance. I loved it from once upon a time all the way to its joyfully complex ever after." - New York Times bestselling author Becky Albertalli Chase Arthur is a budding animator From the author of Can't Take That Away comes a sex-positive, fairytale-inspired YA novel that celebrates first love and self-acceptance, perfect for fans of What If It's Us. "My heart didn't stand a chance. I loved it from once upon a time all the way to its joyfully complex ever after." - New York Times bestselling author Becky Albertalli Chase Arthur is a budding animator and hopeless romantic obsessed with Disney films and finding his true love, but he's plagued with the belief that he's not enough for anyone: he's recovering from an eating disorder and suffers from body dysmorphia fueled by his father, and can't quite figure out his gender identity. When Chase starts his freshman year of college, he has to navigate being away from home and missing his sister, finding his squad, and contending with his ex-best friend Leila who is gunning for the same exclusive mentorship. If only he can pull together a short for the freshman animation showcase at the end of the semester. Then Chase meets Jack Reid, a pragmatic poet who worships words and longs to experience life outside of his sheltered world. But Chase throws everything into question for Jack, who is still discovering his sexual identity, having grown up in close-knit conservative family. Jack internalized a lot of homophobia from his parents and childhood best friend, who unexpectedly visit campus, which threatens to destroy their relationship. Chase will have to learn to love--and be enough for--himself, while discovering what it means to truly live.

30 review for And They Lived . . .

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trans-cending-literature

    When I read the synopsis for this book I was so hyped, I’m a queer, trans, perpetually single student in art college and this book sounded made for me. And then I received a physical ARC with that GORGEOUS cover illustrated and my excitement grew even more. Well. That died out fast. Earlier this year I received an ARC of this authors debut, Can’t Take This Away which I also gave a one star, but I wanted to give this a chance anyways since the synopsis hooked me and I hoped they would have gotten When I read the synopsis for this book I was so hyped, I’m a queer, trans, perpetually single student in art college and this book sounded made for me. And then I received a physical ARC with that GORGEOUS cover illustrated and my excitement grew even more. Well. That died out fast. Earlier this year I received an ARC of this authors debut, Can’t Take This Away which I also gave a one star, but I wanted to give this a chance anyways since the synopsis hooked me and I hoped they would have gotten better since their debut. My main issues with cant take this away was the cringe-ness and unrealistic-ness and this book also had those issues MAJORLY. First lets start with the cringe. I am a reader who cant deal with second hand embarrassment or annoying main characters and OOF did this book contain lots of that. Heres just a few examples of note: - He put a stop motion gay Disney fanfiction done with barbies in his college portfolio,,,, AND IS PROUD OF IT - The MC displayed said half naked, gay disney barbies in his dorm room,,, I would immediately request a room transfer if I was his roommate - The MC wearing,,, a shirt with Disney’s prince Adam on it,shirtless as a grindr profile,,,, on the first day of college,,,, - Basically this 18 year old has the personality of a millennial Disney adult and I hate him so much - “Honey badger don’t give a shit is literally the best video on the interwebs” this is a real line that was said,,,, by an 18 yr old character,,,, - Im not like other boys,,, I only carry my phone around to write poetry on,,,, yes this is a real thing the love interest said - sexting poetry,,,,,, I cant - The MC and LI snuck into a gallery where the LI stripped naked for erotic life drawing,,,, I wish I was lying And this is only the tip of the iceberg of cringy happenings in this book Next I should speak on is the unrealistic-ness of this book. If I wasn’t a college art student, I don’t think it would be as glaringly obvious, but since this setting is basically my life it made every mistake so so obvious: - Saying Spider-verse, Coraline, and Spirited Away are Indie films???? Just because its not Disney doesn’t make it Indie????? - Throwing it words like tortillons and chamois made it feel like the author was trying to hard to sound like a real artist 1) tortillons are the same as blending stumps don’t say ur MC is using both to draw and 2) I have never met anyone who actually uses these and if the do they definitely don’t call them tortillons 3) who on earth is blending there animation sketches????? - Hes in advanced animation??? first semester??? wow this author did no research first semester of every art collge is core, you dont even touch your major. Its all color theory, gesture, the basics - They’re animating shorts for a competition??? as college freshmen???? no nope nope thats not how this works no one even gets to make shorts till junior year , these kids shouldn’t even be animating a bouncing ball yet - did this author even research how animation works. Where is the thumbnails? storyboarding? character design? - This book really tried to say. one high school student. in just a few months. alone. made an entire rendered short. and went viral. absolutely the fuck he did not, at best that animation was an animatic this is not how animation works AT ALL and what is it with YA books and making things go viral, going viral is not common or easy - also he was interviewed by “buzzfeed” aka “buzzword”??? and some how all these random people have watched that interview and ask him about it on campus. yeah no that would not happen god this is unrealistic - He says hes now coloring his animation short after only TWO MONTHS OF WORK and four other classes???? no nonono thats not how this works that would take years and a whole team to do unless its like 15 secs long - Theres a reception at the end of the semester where everyone shows their projects which are said to be amazing, all of them. I can promise you, if a group of animation freshman had to make full shorts in 3 months with a full class-load,,, they would all suck My next issue I want to speak on is the diversity. For a queer book about art school, theres little diversity. Outside the MC theres only gay boys, all the girl characters are straight, and no one else is nonbinary or trans. As someone in art college its harder to finder a cishet student than a queer one. Also, Hey YA authors STOP INCLUDING MEMES AND POP CULTURE IN BOOKS!!! All it does is date it and make it cringy. The romance in this book has no chemistry and is very insta love, and honestly, extremely toxic, which I will get into next. The final issue I need to speak about is the problematic and triggering content. Up till like page 250 this was just a cringy, badly written romance. But then out of literally NOWHERE it got extremely triggering with no warning whatsoever. Can we PLEASE normalize trigger warnings in books with notes of pages that contain them?? Please??? - The MC and LI are having sex and suddenly the LI best friend walk in on them and starts hurling explicit slurs and threats of outing. Like in the span of one page it went from just a cheesy sex scene to extreme homophobia and fatphobia. In response the LI takes space from him and they separate for a while - In response to the LI being outed, the MC makes himself the victim and basically gaslights the LI to thinking he’s at fault for them breaking up. Like im sorry??? The LI got outed to a homophobic family and I’m supposed to feel bad for the MC here???? - Next there was TW graphic depictions of disordered eating and purging, which really need a warning before getting marketed to teems - So now, after being outed and gaslighted, the LI makes a big romantic gesture at the animtion reception, the LI stands up, grabs the mic, and reads shitty poetry to try and win back chases love, never acknologing just how shitty the MC treated him. I hate this book. And then of course it got a happily ever after, somehow. They are in love and back together, the MC gets an animation internship as a freshman, and the LI family is suddenly supportive. The End. All I have to say in conclusion is that Chase is the real antagonist, and I side with his bully who shit talks him and his work, shes right and should say it Rep: Nonbinary, queer, gay, jewish CW: Eating disorder, divorced parents, sexual innuendos, explicit scenes, slurs, outing, homophobia, fatphobia, extremly triggering scene pg 258, purging, suicidal thoughts, underqge drinking, recreational drugs

  2. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥

    I'm a simple reader. If you mention: - A character that likes Disney movies - A mental health rep - Self-discovery - LGBTQ+ content - AND poetry!!! The book will always land on my TBR! Why are there so many good books coming out? 😭🙈 I'm a simple reader. If you mention: - A character that likes Disney movies - A mental health rep - Self-discovery - LGBTQ+ content - AND poetry!!! The book will always land on my TBR! Why are there so many good books coming out? 😭🙈

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marieke (mariekes_mesmerizing_books)

    Beautiful, beautiful book, and beautiful, beautiful author’s notes. D*mn, why do these kinds of author’s notes always make me cry? Sometimes by reading just a few pages, I know that a story is more than just good. And They Lived … touched my whole being. From the first sentence, the writing is incredibly vivid, and the characterization is outstanding. Funny moments (OMG, the condom thing, my mom did a similar thing a long time ago) are interspersed with heavy topics like gender identity, body dys Beautiful, beautiful book, and beautiful, beautiful author’s notes. D*mn, why do these kinds of author’s notes always make me cry? Sometimes by reading just a few pages, I know that a story is more than just good. And They Lived … touched my whole being. From the first sentence, the writing is incredibly vivid, and the characterization is outstanding. Funny moments (OMG, the condom thing, my mom did a similar thing a long time ago) are interspersed with heavy topics like gender identity, body dysmorphia, and coming out, and they all fit together so wonderfully. While I was reading And They Lived …, I had a conversation with someone who asked me, “How are you doing?” and more deeper, “Which highlights and lowlights shaped your life?” Those questions made my body shiver and my stomach churn. And when I picked up And They Lived … again, I thought about those questions and felt so seen by this book. I have had body-image issues since my teens and have other insecurities as well. As a grown-up woman, I know there’s no reason to be that insecure, but mentally, to shut up that voice in your head … It always comes back to one thing: to love and accept yourself for who you are. I know … Anyway … back to the book. What other people want from you is more about them than you. Don’t let anyone hold power over you. You’re a beautiful person, inside and outside, and you deserve to hear that. We all know the sentence, ‘And They Lived happily ever after,’ and we’re all focused on the last part of this sentence because we all want a HEA. It sounds so beautiful, right? But is a HEA realistic? There’s a wonderful part in this story about this sentence. We all have ups and downs, insecurities, and questions. Because that’s life. And I’m so glad that And They Lived … is not a fairytale. It’s a story about real life, insecurities, harder-hitting topics, and of course, love. But even love can be hard sometimes. Because that’s life too. I cherished Chase and Jack, I was intrigued by the side characters, and I adored Jack’s mesmerizing poems. Thanks so much, Steven, for writing such an important book! Like I said, even though I’m not a teen, I felt seen. Follow me on Instagram

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laynie Rose

    And They Lived is an absolute knockout of a book.  Personal, moving, and devastatingly comforting in a way that only Steven Salvatore can do, this fairytale inspired story is one for the ages. A perfect balance of joy, love, pain, and healing, reading this book was a catharsis. I wish I could go back in time and give this book to a younger version of myself, because she desperately needed a story like this one.  I cannot express enough how much I loved this book, with it's silly college adventure And They Lived is an absolute knockout of a book.  Personal, moving, and devastatingly comforting in a way that only Steven Salvatore can do, this fairytale inspired story is one for the ages. A perfect balance of joy, love, pain, and healing, reading this book was a catharsis. I wish I could go back in time and give this book to a younger version of myself, because she desperately needed a story like this one.  I cannot express enough how much I loved this book, with it's silly college adventures, sex positivity, gender feelings, and the honest approach to mental health. Seeing these characters heal, seeing Chase Arthur learn to love himself and heal, was literally like I got to release the tension I'd been holding in since my college days, like I was healing right alongside him. Because this book exists, I know that everything is going to be okay, that I am worth a happily ever after, but what's most important is that I live.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brianna

    I would add CWs but that would be preparing you to read the book when I just wholeheartedly believe that no one should read this. Violently fatphobic, this book discusses body dysmorphia, EDs, and lots of other complex topics, yet handles them all so poorly that I have no hesitation in calling it harmful. If I were to write comps around this book, I would call it "if Becky Albertalli wrote A Little Life." As a fat person, a queer person, a nonbinary person, and a Jewish person, I am absolutely ap I would add CWs but that would be preparing you to read the book when I just wholeheartedly believe that no one should read this. Violently fatphobic, this book discusses body dysmorphia, EDs, and lots of other complex topics, yet handles them all so poorly that I have no hesitation in calling it harmful. If I were to write comps around this book, I would call it "if Becky Albertalli wrote A Little Life." As a fat person, a queer person, a nonbinary person, and a Jewish person, I am absolutely appalled. Frankly, I don't trust anyone who recommends this. Part of me wants to leave quotes to prove how awful this is but it's literally so triggering in its content that I don't feel comfortable doing so. Rather, here is the link to a review that I think sums up a lot of awful things about it pretty well. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Steven Salvatore's second YA book, And They Lived... , hit me square in the feels. Chase is a lover of fairytales, of happy endings. He dreams of a career as an animator and is pursuing that in college. He’s struggled with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder in the past, and he’s not quite sure if he’s gay, genderqueer, or nonbinary. Ultimately, he’s hoping college will help him feel more comfortable with himself as he finds his circle and has to deal with the drama of competing with a form Steven Salvatore's second YA book, And They Lived... , hit me square in the feels. Chase is a lover of fairytales, of happy endings. He dreams of a career as an animator and is pursuing that in college. He’s struggled with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder in the past, and he’s not quite sure if he’s gay, genderqueer, or nonbinary. Ultimately, he’s hoping college will help him feel more comfortable with himself as he finds his circle and has to deal with the drama of competing with a former friend. And then he meets Jack. Jack is a poet, a writer, obsessed with stories and the power of words. He’s handsome, athletic, confident—or at least appears that way—and immediately they feel a pull toward one another. But Jack isn’t sure about whether he’s gay, and worries about the reactions of his conservative family, so he’s constantly giving Chase mixed signals. As the semester heats up, and Chase is trying to win a prestigious mentorship, he’s desperate to figure out who he is, where he wants his life to go, and whom he wants around him. But at the same time, he needs to see if a happy ending with Jack is possible or if their story needs to go in a different direction. I fell in love with And They Lived... almost immediately. Chase is such an endearing character—some of his struggles were very familiar and personal to me—and the supporting characters were such fun, too. Salvatore knows how to touch your heart, and they say in their author’s note that this is their most personal book to date. Thanks to Storygram Tours and Bloomsbury YA for inviting me on the tour for And They Lived... and providing me with a complimentary advance copy of the book. Pick it up when it publishes 3/8!! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2021 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2022/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2021.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dilly

    “Somewhere between the two kingdoms, they grew old together. And they lived.” TW: Bulimia Body dysmorphia Drug use Drinking Misgendering Homophobia Outing Suicidal ideation I read the premise for this book the day it was announced and even that day, I knew this would hit me like a truck. And I was right, it did. I think, as a society, we still back away from writing fat characters, as if they’re something to be abhorred. It’s definitely gotten better recently, but there’s still a large gap that bo “Somewhere between the two kingdoms, they grew old together. And they lived.” TW: Bulimia Body dysmorphia Drug use Drinking Misgendering Homophobia Outing Suicidal ideation I read the premise for this book the day it was announced and even that day, I knew this would hit me like a truck. And I was right, it did. I think, as a society, we still back away from writing fat characters, as if they’re something to be abhorred. It’s definitely gotten better recently, but there’s still a large gap that books like this are doing their best to cover. Anyway, when I saw this book, when I figured out what it was about, I was overwhelmed. I remembering DMing Steven to inform them how much I appreciated this and how grateful I was that they were delving into such a rough topic. I knew I was going to like this book. But reading it solidified that for me. Anyway, onto the book. The thing that a lot of people don’t know about not meeting social body standards is that you’re reminded of it every day. If not from yourself, then from social media, Ads, magazines, books: everything. And, so, seeing this book and Chase, talk about their body and their struggles in a way that I related nearly wrecked me. It hurt, but in a good way. It felt like I wasn't alone. I felt understood. And a lot of that is because the body image issues were written in such a good, real way. I felt all of those feelings, I understood Chase in a way that I didn’t expect to. Every time they talked about how they felt about his body, it was like a gut punch. The feelings are real and they’re honest. That was the most important part of this book for me: the honesty with self-image. I also really enjoyed the animation side of things in this book. I have a few friends who are art major and they also had an end of the year freshman gallery so it was really cool to see that with the animation aspect of things!! The whole Prince and the Knight story was so well done, in my opinion. I could read that on its own all day, happily. (Plus the drag queen witch: yes pls!) I truly loved Benny, Rae and Xavier so, so much. That’s another thing I enjoyed about this book: the amount of people not given labels. Aside from Chase, I think there’s maybe 2-3 characters that label their sexuality. Everyone else is just who they are and that’s something that I think is really, really important to see: although labels are wonderful for some people, others find them unnecessary and that's okay! Overall, this book ran me over with a truck, threw me into a critical “how I view myself” moment and it’ll definitely be a book I come back to over and over again when I start to struggle with myself

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brigi

    This book was absolutely awful for every reason imaginable, and I am honestly shocked that it got published. First of all, this is clearly the author’s self-insert, wish-fulfilment fic about how they wish their first year of uni had gone. It's unrealistic, and honestly doesn't make sense in a lot of places. Secondly, the characters are horrible, especially the MC who is pushy, and tries to force Jack to come out to his parents when he’s not ready. He's so self-absorbed, does not realise what his f This book was absolutely awful for every reason imaginable, and I am honestly shocked that it got published. First of all, this is clearly the author’s self-insert, wish-fulfilment fic about how they wish their first year of uni had gone. It's unrealistic, and honestly doesn't make sense in a lot of places. Secondly, the characters are horrible, especially the MC who is pushy, and tries to force Jack to come out to his parents when he’s not ready. He's so self-absorbed, does not realise what his friends are going through. Not only that, but they’re the best at everything, can make no mistake in animation. Their roommate, Benny, is a walking gay stereotype who swallowed the worst seasons of drag race. Not only that, but I swear when MC and Benny were talking, it felt like someone had ingested and then vomited Gen Z slang all over the page. But then the pop-culture references are millennial? Clearly the author was trying to appeal to a younger generation, but they got confused. You know when people ask for trigger warnings at the beginning of a book, it's because of novels like this one. The MC has been battling binge eating for years. Chapter 18 is absolutely awful and triggering - the MC gets harrassed and humiliated by their own father, not once but like four times until someone intervenes??? And they are all so awful, why would the author humiliate the MC so much?! Once was enough. And the love interest, who "saves" them, his retort is so weak and feable? It's like slapping a kindergarteners hand slightly "no no". Imo it would needed a stronger rebuke if you want to teach your younger audience something. Everything is just done in extremis, absolutely no nuance anywhere. I also didn't feel any chemistry between MC and Jack, and let's not even talk about the sex scenes (which felt too vulgar for the intended audience). Also Benny has a dildo collection? Lmao what 18/19 year old broke student has such a thing? Lastly, I want to say that this book tries so hard to be woke, it's ridiculous. Someone please tell the author that you don't need to address the million issues out there - because by acknowledging all, but only in 1-2 sentences, it comes across as insincere. There's also the issue of misogyny - none of the women in this book are complex characters and they just exist to further the MC's arc.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    SOLID 5 STARS! Short review: You know that feeling when you read the first chapter and you know you're going to love it? That's what I felt with this book. It's a book that I wish my younger queer self would've read. I laughed (a lot) and shed some tears. Please preorder this book! It's my favorite read of the year so far! SOLID 5 STARS! Short review: You know that feeling when you read the first chapter and you know you're going to love it? That's what I felt with this book. It's a book that I wish my younger queer self would've read. I laughed (a lot) and shed some tears. Please preorder this book! It's my favorite read of the year so far!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kalob Dàniel

    this book shines so bright 2022 won’t be able to keep up. likeeeeeee when i tell y’all steven has outdone themselves I MEAN IT! can’t take that away was bloody brilliant, but and they lived…?!??! it’s just beyond beautiful and important and so NEEDED! steven is a phe.nom.en.al writer. i literally do not have a single critique. how can i critique a book that is perfection personified and then turned into a literary modern masterpiece?? ya can’t. ya just can’t. i can’t not WAIT for y’all to get yo this book shines so bright 2022 won’t be able to keep up. likeeeeeee when i tell y’all steven has outdone themselves I MEAN IT! can’t take that away was bloody brilliant, but and they lived…?!??! it’s just beyond beautiful and important and so NEEDED! steven is a phe.nom.en.al writer. i literally do not have a single critique. how can i critique a book that is perfection personified and then turned into a literary modern masterpiece?? ya can’t. ya just can’t. i can’t not WAIT for y’all to get your hands on this BEAUTY. chase is just 🥺🥺🥺 i’m 1000% genuine when i say that i love this book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️5/5 for sure!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chaise Carter

    This book was/is important to me. As a non-binary queer person, as someone who has struggled with BDD, has long lasting issues with their father, struggled for the longest time with putting themselves in a box to fit the mold. Often times I say that I see myself in books, but this book truly let me be seen fully. It's rejuvenated me in building myself up and given me hope that I can and will get better. While for some, the story seemed unrealistic and too swept up in pop culture, for me that is This book was/is important to me. As a non-binary queer person, as someone who has struggled with BDD, has long lasting issues with their father, struggled for the longest time with putting themselves in a box to fit the mold. Often times I say that I see myself in books, but this book truly let me be seen fully. It's rejuvenated me in building myself up and given me hope that I can and will get better. While for some, the story seemed unrealistic and too swept up in pop culture, for me that is what made myself be lost in the story. I melded the animation arc and the true story in ways that danced across the pages like electricity from a residual lightning strike. And They Lived... That's the thing about this book, they lived, the story could have wound up in so many different ways, but it ended the way it did. And I for one am beyond grateful to have a happy ending to this story, while I go through my life letting endings find their way into my life.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lance

    4 stars. And They Lived... was a triumphant romance that contained all of the sweetness you'd expect from a fairy tale but didn't shy away from displaying the darkness too. 4 stars. And They Lived... was a triumphant romance that contained all of the sweetness you'd expect from a fairy tale but didn't shy away from displaying the darkness too.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This genderqueer/coming of age romance was soooooo tender and beautiful and absolutely AMAZING!! Steven Salvatore is a new to me author and I will officially read anything they write from now on!! Chase is a freshman in college pursuing his love of animation. He also has body dysmorphia and is struggling with his identity. He meets and falls in love with Jack, a young man who isn't out to his family. I truly loved going on their journey of first love and figuring out their bodies and desires. My h This genderqueer/coming of age romance was soooooo tender and beautiful and absolutely AMAZING!! Steven Salvatore is a new to me author and I will officially read anything they write from now on!! Chase is a freshman in college pursuing his love of animation. He also has body dysmorphia and is struggling with his identity. He meets and falls in love with Jack, a young man who isn't out to his family. I truly loved going on their journey of first love and figuring out their bodies and desires. My heart broke when circumstances tore them apart. I was ALL about Jack's poetry and Chase's fairy tale animation project. The story within a story really added an extra special layer to this book! Perfect for fans of Jay's gay agenda, The heartbreakers books or Felix ever after. I fell in love with these characters. My heart broke along with Chase's and when he spirals into a body dysmorphia fugue of self-loathing I felt this story got so real and relatable. The mental health rep in the book is amazing and the journey of self-love and discovery plus the found college family/friendships really made the book for me. If you love fairy tale retellings and relatable, utterly real and raw queer characters this book is one not to miss. Great on audio too narrated by Kirt Graves. Excuse me while I go devour this author's backlist, they have officially become an auto-buy author for me!! CW: toxic parental relationships, body dysmorphia, depression, homophobia, body shaming

  14. 4 out of 5

    just.anotherreader

    imma be completely honest i hate read it like it was so cringy to the point i read it to see how bad it got, spoiler alert it did not get better. Like there was just so much second hand embarrassment through the whole thing and pop culture references every paragraph i couldnt do it. Ya so this book is not for me but at least it has a pretty cover so it will look good on my shelf 😅 please check out this review they do a way better job at explaining -> https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... imma be completely honest i hate read it like it was so cringy to the point i read it to see how bad it got, spoiler alert it did not get better. Like there was just so much second hand embarrassment through the whole thing and pop culture references every paragraph i couldnt do it. Ya so this book is not for me but at least it has a pretty cover so it will look good on my shelf 😅 please check out this review they do a way better job at explaining -> https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Harper

    I understand that this is a hugely personal book for the author, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is also bad. I’ve hardly ever read anything I’ve disliked this much. The story was bland at best, and the only truly interesting characters were the side characters, which were barely fleshed out. I think it’s worst quality is its “and everyone clapped” energy. As I’m not in the target audience, I try to give YA and NA books a bit more leeway than adult novels. However, this YA novel is fill I understand that this is a hugely personal book for the author, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is also bad. I’ve hardly ever read anything I’ve disliked this much. The story was bland at best, and the only truly interesting characters were the side characters, which were barely fleshed out. I think it’s worst quality is its “and everyone clapped” energy. As I’m not in the target audience, I try to give YA and NA books a bit more leeway than adult novels. However, this YA novel is filled with references so old that I can tell it was written for when I was a teenager. Why are there more references to snapchat and “honey badger don’t quit” than tiktok, which is never once mentioned???????? It’s like this book was written by a 14 year old on tumblr in 2012. It’s painfully obvious that the mc is a self-insert by the author. That’s never a dealbreaker for me, as there are many excellent books that start that way, but this was a bit much. I would recommend this as a hate-read for anyone who likes to do that.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rellim

    I want the audio - Kirt Graves!!!! 🎧📚🥰

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sammie V

    Thank you Bloomsbury for this arc I dnfed around page 80. I was cringing every few sentences in this book from the fat-phobia,homophobia, and body dysmorphia. As a queer, Jewish person I wasn’t a fan of the way one of the Jewish characters was represented in this book either. This book was said to be for ages 14+ but was written more like a nostalgic 30 reliving their college years. College and young adults may have changed since I have been in school but everything about this books seemed very u Thank you Bloomsbury for this arc I dnfed around page 80. I was cringing every few sentences in this book from the fat-phobia,homophobia, and body dysmorphia. As a queer, Jewish person I wasn’t a fan of the way one of the Jewish characters was represented in this book either. This book was said to be for ages 14+ but was written more like a nostalgic 30 reliving their college years. College and young adults may have changed since I have been in school but everything about this books seemed very unrealistic.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie (Teacups & Tropes)

    3.5/5 ★ 2/5 🌶 THIS COVER GIVES ME LIFE! Like I seriously could just stare at it all day I love it that much. ATL was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it didn’t fall short. It was deep and profound and I could connect with Chase on numerous levels. But what I didn’t expect was to dislike Jack so much. I wasn’t expecting perfection. The book may sound like a fairytale but it’s all about Chase learning to love himself before he can love anybody else. Jack has to learn the same lesson 3.5/5 ★ 2/5 🌶 THIS COVER GIVES ME LIFE! Like I seriously could just stare at it all day I love it that much. ATL was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it didn’t fall short. It was deep and profound and I could connect with Chase on numerous levels. But what I didn’t expect was to dislike Jack so much. I wasn’t expecting perfection. The book may sound like a fairytale but it’s all about Chase learning to love himself before he can love anybody else. Jack has to learn the same lesson. But Jack’s treatment of Chase sort of rubbed me the wrong way. I get why he did what he did. And he was very understanding with Chase at times but… eh. I was almost rooting for Chase to be fabulous on his own at the end. 🥲 Rae and Benny? FUCKING 👏🏻 STANDOUT 👏🏻 CHARACTERS! My god I could read a thousand page book about those two just chaotically living life on a road trip or something. I also wanted to know more about Rhett but 👀

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kali Cole

    This book is EVERYTHING!!! 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈 Chase is now added to my favorite character list!! Steven Salvatore won my heart with Can’t Take That Away, but And They Lived held it by the strings, ripped them apart, and braided them back together in an extraordinary way 🥰🌈 My soul is happy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Bartos

    *3.5 stars I'm a little torn on this book. On the one hand, many of the references and much of the dialogue (especially near the beginning) is really cringe and feels very off for a modern college student; see this review for specific examples, but a prominent example for me was the constant use of Mean Girls references for a freshman in college when this is set now. Obviously, it's a well-known film, and sure, it's not out of the realm of possibility that this group of friends loves it, but that *3.5 stars I'm a little torn on this book. On the one hand, many of the references and much of the dialogue (especially near the beginning) is really cringe and feels very off for a modern college student; see this review for specific examples, but a prominent example for me was the constant use of Mean Girls references for a freshman in college when this is set now. Obviously, it's a well-known film, and sure, it's not out of the realm of possibility that this group of friends loves it, but that movie came out in 2004, and it just feels like with a lot of the references that the author hasn't spoken to a teen in the last 10 years (case in point: the mention of that "honey badger don't care" Youtube video...in 2022). However, on the other hand, as the book kept going, I found myself really caring for the characters (even though the way they spoke to each other...was interesting/over-the-top). I also think the resolution of the relationships was really satisfying, and I also though that the animated story within the story was actually really effective and fit well which is a rare occurrence for me. I'm not sure how much I'll be recommending this, but I won't be burning my copy either.

  21. 5 out of 5

    tan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. definitely too much smut for me but the ending was nice (the character development and acceptance was pretty sweet)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    I am convinced Steven Salvatore has one mission in life and it is to make me think so deeply every time I read one of their books. Their work is magical and brutal in a way that is clearly not for everyone, but in a way that just makes so much sense. I received an ecopy of this book through Netgalley; however, my opinions are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Tell me the author didn’t even Google “how animation works” without telling me the author didn’t even Google “how animation works” because HOLY SHIT lmao. I went to film school. I work in animation. No way the author even bothered to do research. Trash.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shelf Blame

    Big thanks to the author for sending along an ARC of this book! And They Lived... is a gorgeously written story of how we all deserve our best fairytale life, even when that fairytale looks different than how we imagine. Chase is excited to start the animation program at his small art college. He's finally on his own, free to explore his gender identity and maybe even meet someone. Cue that someone: hot jock named Jack. Jack is everything Chase could hope for. Kind, thoughtful, insightful, attrac Big thanks to the author for sending along an ARC of this book! And They Lived... is a gorgeously written story of how we all deserve our best fairytale life, even when that fairytale looks different than how we imagine. Chase is excited to start the animation program at his small art college. He's finally on his own, free to explore his gender identity and maybe even meet someone. Cue that someone: hot jock named Jack. Jack is everything Chase could hope for. Kind, thoughtful, insightful, attractive. But he's also harboring his own secrets that could threaten something special that's starting to bloom between them. The thing I really, really loved about Salvatore's first book (Can't Take That Away) was how honest they wrote about mental health struggles. The therapy scenes were some of my favorite because they felt so incredibly real. This book does the same thing but on another level. Chase struggles with a lot of things: depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, disordered eating, his identity. Salvatore doesn't shy away from these issues. They take us on this journey with Chase where he has to acknowledge the problem and admit that he needs help with it. The relationship between Jack and Chase is obviously affected by this, but we also see how Jack's own insecurities and internalized homophobia come into play. He seems just about perfect. Chase loves fairytales and they're looking for their own, so we get to see a real juxtaposition between how the fairytales go and how real life goes. It's never perfect, that's just not how people in general work. But it can still be so, so good. It can still be honest and lovely, even if sometimes your heart breaks. The side characters in the book are fantastic. Benny, Chase's roommate is such a fantastic gay guru for Chase. He's hilarious and bitchy, but we also get to see how deeply he cares for his friends. He helps Chase navigate this relationship - from moral support to discussing how to have safe gay sex. His best friend Rae is the ultimate ride or die, and I love that that was never tested. The entire set of characters, from friends to family to teachers, are so incredibly well done and carefully diverse. Something else I really appreciated - the theme that you have to want to get help for YOU. You have to want to get better for YOU. You have to love yourself before you worry about who else loves you. There was not a huge 'I'll change for you' moment because that's not the point of this book. It tells us to take our mental health seriously and put our mental health first because we can't carry everyone else's problems along with our own. Beautiful writing, honestly portrayed mental health issues, gorgeous exploration of self-identity. This will be a re-read for sure.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    There was not one thing about this story that I didn't love...it's been so long since I read a story that was innocent and just made me smile and awww outloud. There was not one thing about this story that I didn't love...it's been so long since I read a story that was innocent and just made me smile and awww outloud.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    Salvatore once again brings a supremely honest look at a queer kid who has a lot of real, hard problems. Yet there's so much joy to be found that And They Lived... is also a delight to read. Chase is starting college and he's a little bit nervous. His best friend is at a nearby school, but his ex best friend and now nemesis is right there in school with him, and even in the same animation program. Plus, he's trying to figure out his identity. He feels nonbinary (or maybe gender fluid? Or maybe g Salvatore once again brings a supremely honest look at a queer kid who has a lot of real, hard problems. Yet there's so much joy to be found that And They Lived... is also a delight to read. Chase is starting college and he's a little bit nervous. His best friend is at a nearby school, but his ex best friend and now nemesis is right there in school with him, and even in the same animation program. Plus, he's trying to figure out his identity. He feels nonbinary (or maybe gender fluid? Or maybe genderqueer?), but still likes he/him pronouns. Chase is also seeking a happily ever after. Enter: Jack. Jack is gorgeous and really seems to be into Chase. But Jack's background and family is sending up some red flags. So what can he do?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lu

    Thank you so much, NetGalley, Bloomsbury USA Children's Books and Bloomsbury YA, for the chance to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review. TW: BDD, eating disorder, misgendering, depression, Chase Arthur wants to be an animator, he's a huge Disney fan, obsessed with true love and his search for his own, but he doesn't believe he's enough for anyone, struggling with body dysmorphia, recovering from an eating disorder and figuring out his gender identity. Now starting his freshman Thank you so much, NetGalley, Bloomsbury USA Children's Books and Bloomsbury YA, for the chance to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review. TW: BDD, eating disorder, misgendering, depression, Chase Arthur wants to be an animator, he's a huge Disney fan, obsessed with true love and his search for his own, but he doesn't believe he's enough for anyone, struggling with body dysmorphia, recovering from an eating disorder and figuring out his gender identity. Now starting his freshman year of his dream college, he has to face being alone and awy from his mother and sister, finding new friends and battling his ex best friend Leila for a prestigious mentorship. His life is complicated when he meets and falls in love with Jak Reid, a poet who is still trying to figure out his sexual identity and struggling with a conservative family and best friend. When the famous best friend visits campus and ruins Chase's and Jack's new relationship, Chase is forced to learn to love himself first and then accept others in his heart. I absolutely loved reading And they lived... It was rare to find myself so involved in a book and to find characters so relatable, who spoke so clearly and profoundly to me and this book is a truly masterpiece. Chase Arthur is a wonderful, realistic and brilliant main character. He's filled with dreams, passions and desires and I love his entusiasm and his journey of self-love. His struggles with food, feeling, gender identity and ex BFF are extremely relatable and well written and I loved Chase's journey towards self-acceptance and love. The plot is intertwined with Chase's story for the mentorship "The prince who captured lightning" and his journey and the prince's and the knight's reflect one other, using Chase's and Jack's story as inspiration. I loved Chase's and Jack's relationship, their bonding over books, art and words, their significance and how they grow to love one other, how, each in their own way, are struggling to accept and embrace each other fully. The author did an outstanding job talking about their struggles, family abuse, internalized homophobia and how is hard and also important taking care of oneself. While Chase starts a journey to love and accept himself, facing his traumas and family abuse, Jack has to do his own, accepting his sexual identity and facing his family and best friend, confronting his fears. The characterization is amazing and I felt really involved in reading this book, not only as a fairytale and Disney fan, but also because the author did a magnificent job with the relationships and friendships, the found family and discussing many important themes with sensitivity and care. The found family, the friends Chase finds are truly brilliant and I love his relationship with Rae and Benny, Xavier and Rhett, their banter, their amazing support and help. Love and friendships are important themes in this book and And they lived... is a joy for the eyes, funny, captivating and full of amazing characters, brimming with life and energy. And they lived...is a queer love story, a sex-positive, fairytale inspired novel, a story of self love and self acceptance and I really appreciated the importance of the therapy in understanding and accepting oneself. Chase's journey was empowering and moving and I loved how he learn he can't control others' reactions but his own, how to love himself and to face the world. About his figuring out his gender identity I also loved how the author underlines how Chase is comfortable to use he/him for now, but trying with they/them, still trying to figure himself out and how the answers are not finite and clear, but the lines blur. I've also loved the importance given to the fairytales and their false ideas about happy ending and how the important thing is living, facing the life,taking a chance and while facing the bad and gritty parts of live, maybe finding someone and facing them together and growing up together. I loved Jack's ideas about this. I absolutely recommend this book! It's funny, sex-positive, brilliant and with amazing characters, impossible not to love.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hojo

    LGBT Rep: Gay mc, gay li, nonbinary mc TW: homophobia, f slur, outing, fatphobia, eating disorder, purging, underage drinking To start off, I want to say that I really enjoyed this book. I devoured it within two days and it proved to me that I don’t absolutely hate insta love tropes when they’re done well. Although the author said it’s instalove…I think they fleshed it out enough to made it work and had enough of a story/friendship before the characters got together to make it not really feel inst LGBT Rep: Gay mc, gay li, nonbinary mc TW: homophobia, f slur, outing, fatphobia, eating disorder, purging, underage drinking To start off, I want to say that I really enjoyed this book. I devoured it within two days and it proved to me that I don’t absolutely hate insta love tropes when they’re done well. Although the author said it’s instalove…I think they fleshed it out enough to made it work and had enough of a story/friendship before the characters got together to make it not really feel instalove to me Although there are some tough conversations and plot points in this, such as coming out, eating disorder discussions, and more, I think they were all handled great. It put the emphasis on how serious these issues are while still keeping it real and not sugar coating it at all. By having a poet as a love interest, I feel like the author already set them up for some very romantic parts. I loved the romance a lot and the growth both characters go through (therapy is important, people!!!) Another piece I loved seeing tackled was the gender identity of the mc. In so many books with non-cis characters, I feel like they have it all figured out by the time the book starts. While I love having that representation, that’s not the case for everyone. It certainly is not the case for me. It was really refreshing to see a character that hasn’t completely figured it out and getting to watch the growth of him throughout the book. I especially loved this line (which isn’t a spoiler, i promise) : “There is nothing wrong with questioning your identity. And maybe there doesn’t have to be an answer.” The only thing i would say is that there should have been trigger warnings at the beginning of the book. There are some extremely homophobic scenes and explicit depictions of his eating disorder and purging. If you don’t like pop culture references and a little bit of cringe, this isnt the book for you. It worked for me, but i know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    If you are looking for a book to fill the Heartstopper void- THIS IS NOT IT. The description looked so promising- LGBT relationships, mental health, college setting- and I was so excited to read it. The main issue is that the main character is super annoying. Like, I would not want to be his friend. I would not want to be his teacher. It was really hard to have empathy for him because he was always being cringey or problematic, while going above and beyond to be Not Problematic. There were severa If you are looking for a book to fill the Heartstopper void- THIS IS NOT IT. The description looked so promising- LGBT relationships, mental health, college setting- and I was so excited to read it. The main issue is that the main character is super annoying. Like, I would not want to be his friend. I would not want to be his teacher. It was really hard to have empathy for him because he was always being cringey or problematic, while going above and beyond to be Not Problematic. There were several times I said “this is so bad” and “i hate this book” while reading it. The relationship went way too fast and felt super “instalove-y.” It felt like a lot of the deeply troubling mental illness issues were brushed aside through therapy. Which like therapy helps, but also like it doesn’t instantly make you better in two weeks. I’m glad that some people connected with this book and found it uplifting, but yeah, I didn’t.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Lopez

    And They Lived… a beautiful story of figuring out one’s truth, authenticity, learning to love oneself, throw in a fairy tale animated romance story that would rival major studios, beautiful sentences/poetry and boom you get this fantastic novel. I found so much of myself and my struggles in that of main character Chase how he handles situations and his self doubt. At times a little too much where it became overwhelming but in the end it helped me look inside myself. Not to mention some of Jacks And They Lived… a beautiful story of figuring out one’s truth, authenticity, learning to love oneself, throw in a fairy tale animated romance story that would rival major studios, beautiful sentences/poetry and boom you get this fantastic novel. I found so much of myself and my struggles in that of main character Chase how he handles situations and his self doubt. At times a little too much where it became overwhelming but in the end it helped me look inside myself. Not to mention some of Jacks struggles/personality, been there before sadly. This book will sit in my mind keeping me company for a long time. When it comes out in March you should definitely pick it up it’s so worth it. The romance, the everything! Still drying my tears because I feel seen and hopeful that my version, whatever that version looks like of happily ever after is around the corner!

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