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Forward March

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What’s worse? Someone using your face for catfishing or realizing you actually do have a crush on the catfished girl? Harper “Band Geek” McKinley just wants to make it through her senior year of marching band—and her Republican father’s presidential campaign. That was a tall order to start, but everything was going well enough until someone made a fake gay dating profile po What’s worse? Someone using your face for catfishing or realizing you actually do have a crush on the catfished girl? Harper “Band Geek” McKinley just wants to make it through her senior year of marching band—and her Republican father’s presidential campaign. That was a tall order to start, but everything was going well enough until someone made a fake gay dating profile posing as Harper. The real Harper can’t afford for anyone to find out about the Tinder profile for three very important reasons: 1. Her mom is the school dean and dating profiles for students are strictly forbidden. 2. Harper doesn't even know if she likes anyone like that—let alone if she likes other girls. 3. If this secret gets out, her father could lose the election, one she's not sure she even wants him to win. But upon meeting Margot Blanchard, the drumline leader who swiped right, Harper thinks it might be worth the trouble to let Margot get to know the real her. With her dad’s campaign on the line, Harper’s relationship with her family at stake, and no idea who made that fake dating profile, Harper has to decide what’s more important to her: living her truth or becoming the First Daughter of America.


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What’s worse? Someone using your face for catfishing or realizing you actually do have a crush on the catfished girl? Harper “Band Geek” McKinley just wants to make it through her senior year of marching band—and her Republican father’s presidential campaign. That was a tall order to start, but everything was going well enough until someone made a fake gay dating profile po What’s worse? Someone using your face for catfishing or realizing you actually do have a crush on the catfished girl? Harper “Band Geek” McKinley just wants to make it through her senior year of marching band—and her Republican father’s presidential campaign. That was a tall order to start, but everything was going well enough until someone made a fake gay dating profile posing as Harper. The real Harper can’t afford for anyone to find out about the Tinder profile for three very important reasons: 1. Her mom is the school dean and dating profiles for students are strictly forbidden. 2. Harper doesn't even know if she likes anyone like that—let alone if she likes other girls. 3. If this secret gets out, her father could lose the election, one she's not sure she even wants him to win. But upon meeting Margot Blanchard, the drumline leader who swiped right, Harper thinks it might be worth the trouble to let Margot get to know the real her. With her dad’s campaign on the line, Harper’s relationship with her family at stake, and no idea who made that fake dating profile, Harper has to decide what’s more important to her: living her truth or becoming the First Daughter of America.

30 review for Forward March

  1. 5 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    2022 is really gonna deliver me the asexual rep I've been craving, huh?? 2022 is really gonna deliver me the asexual rep I've been craving, huh??

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gabriella

    marching band??? sapphic??? excuse me while i celebrate the union of the two parts of my teenage self

  3. 5 out of 5

    Janna

    This novel beautifully captures the magic of YA contemporaries! The writing style is lovely and easy to understand, there's a focus on the main character's exploration of identity and there are many other characters and situations readers will be able to relate to. There's asexual, lesbian, gay, bi, pansexual, poly and non-binary representation. I specifically loved one scene, in which Bellamy, a non-binary character, helps Harper make sense of her new feelings towards a girl. It's genuinely awes This novel beautifully captures the magic of YA contemporaries! The writing style is lovely and easy to understand, there's a focus on the main character's exploration of identity and there are many other characters and situations readers will be able to relate to. There's asexual, lesbian, gay, bi, pansexual, poly and non-binary representation. I specifically loved one scene, in which Bellamy, a non-binary character, helps Harper make sense of her new feelings towards a girl. It's genuinely awesome to have queer people supporting other queer people! I do have to mention though that there's a huge focus on homophobia, which is not inherently bad of course, but could be triggering. Harper's parents repeatedly show homophobic behaviour towards her and others and put their daughter under a lot of pressure. Harper also has asthma and is allergic to seafood. There aren't really a lot of books that focus on characters with allergies and I think the descriptions in the book are super helpful to raise more awareness (if you're reading this right now and don't know what to do if someone has an allergic reaction - you should look it up!). If you're a fan of marching bands, sapphic romances and characters exploring their queer idenities - you should read this book once it comes out on March 22. content warnings (as included in the book): anxiety, depression, mentions of self-harm, alcoholism, being outed ➡️ e-ARC provided by Netgalley and Pagestreetya i post about queer books here: instagram / tiktok /twitter

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    So when I was in high school I was VERY much a marching band kid for better and worse. I was even section leader my senior year and we won the state championship for marching band in my state's largest division that year. I disliked a lot of high school but marching band was often the bright spot in high school for me. (bonus points for first person to read this review and guess what instrument I played). So for me a YA wlw novel about marching band kids seemed like it would be a really fun read So when I was in high school I was VERY much a marching band kid for better and worse. I was even section leader my senior year and we won the state championship for marching band in my state's largest division that year. I disliked a lot of high school but marching band was often the bright spot in high school for me. (bonus points for first person to read this review and guess what instrument I played). So for me a YA wlw novel about marching band kids seemed like it would be a really fun read for me, and for the most part it was! Forward March follows Harper McKinley, a saxophonist in her private boarding school's marching band. When she learns one day that someone has been using her name and pictures to catfish Margot Blanchard, a drummer, she is shocked and embarrassed. But over time and growing closer to Margot maybe there is a spark there she didn't expect. But this is made all the more complicated in the fact that Harper's father is a republican running for president, and her mother is dean of her school- and neither would be happy about their daughter dating another woman. So this book was pretty adorable and had a lot of the staples of a great YA book. To begin with the romance, I was super into it and I loved how it laid out. Harper and Margot were so cute and lovely, they pulled on my heartstrings over and over. And their development was so gradual it was great. I also really enjoyed how they handled Harper being asexual as an aspect of their relationship. I'm not ace myself so I can't necessarily give a firsthand account, but it seemed to me they handled it well. Also I really enjoyed the friend dynamics? I don't think everyone will because the best word to describe it all is MESSY. But as a survivor of queer high school marching band relationships, it all felt very real to me. These aren't perfect friendships necessarily but they felt real. I particularly was intrigued by Bellamy, not a perfect person but a really interesting one. My main criticism of this book was how it handled the politics. Harper's father is a republican senator running for president. The book does day directly that Harper isn't a fan of her dad's politics, and it tries to paint him as a nicer republican. The book (or at least my reading) tends to take it for granted that the reader will have a distaste for republicans, and don't get me wrong I do. But I think the book failed to really address WHY we don't agree with him or other republicans. Perhaps Quinlan didn't want to get the book bogged down in politics or a political discussion and I get that, but with anti-trans bills being passed in states across the country a LGBT book that doesn't discuss how one party is actively making life worse for queer people misses the mark. Also there didn't really seem to be any comeuppance to Harper's parents for how they have treated her and her brother. I just wish there was more here in the book. Also a small note, this is just picky as someone who was in marching band- it kinda confused me what the band was doing at times. The book made it seemed like they learn sets to new pop songs every couple weeks where most modern marching bands learn a specific show for a semester and compete that one show in competitions over the course of the semester. There were no competitions in this book- just football games really. That just seemed a little off to me but it's something most readers won't necessarily notice. I really did enjoy this book overall. It's a lovely YA novel that will pull at your heart, and made me nostalgic for my own band experiences. 4/5

  5. 5 out of 5

    Althea

    I was so intrigued by this book ever since it was announced – of course, as you know, I’m a sucker for sapphic contemporary novels, but, living in Scotland, marching band isn’t really a thing here, so I was really curious to read this book on its release. The novel follows Harper who loves being a part of her school’s band, yet has the shadow of her mum being the dean and her dad’s political career looming over her. When Harper finds out that someone is impersonating her on Tinder, she starts to I was so intrigued by this book ever since it was announced – of course, as you know, I’m a sucker for sapphic contemporary novels, but, living in Scotland, marching band isn’t really a thing here, so I was really curious to read this book on its release. The novel follows Harper who loves being a part of her school’s band, yet has the shadow of her mum being the dean and her dad’s political career looming over her. When Harper finds out that someone is impersonating her on Tinder, she starts to panic – students aren’t allowed dating profiles and her match is fellow drummer in the school band, Margot, but Harper isn’t even sure if she likes girls. But after getting to know Margot, Harper starts forming a friendship with her, but this could put her whole life, and her father’s political campaign on the line. First and foremost, I loved the setting of this book – Harper studies at a prestigious private school headed by her mother, and I love boarding school books. I’m not quite sure what it is about them but they always seem to heighten my enjoyment of a book! I loved getting to follow Harper through her band rehearsals and study hours in her dorm, as well as playing her saxophone at school football games and even visiting a renaissance fair. It really was so fun and I think it also fed really well into the tricky friendships in the book, as well as Harper’s feelings of being stifled and not being able to figure herself out in her own time. When I looked at a couple of reviews for the book, I noticed that some people didn’t love the difficult to navigate friendships that Harper has throughout the book, but I thought they seemed really natural. To some, the drama in Harper’s friend group may seem slightly contrived, but I thought that it was perfectly written – teenagers can be cruel for no reason and the falling outs and making back up again were so realistic to me, and I really feel that so many teens reading this book will be able to relate to Harper in their own lives. Furthermore, I really enjoyed seeing Harper gain new, strong friendships throughout the book, finding people she can rely on and who love her for who she is, and not because of who her parents are. Of course, I have to mention the relationship. I thought Harper’s coming out journey was written so well and was handled with so much care and the on-page asexual and lesbian rep is going to be so valuable for younger teens who are also questioning their sexuality. The romance is pretty slow burn and grows off of a strong, stable friendship, and if you know me, I love friends to lovers! It was a super healthy and adorable romance and it was exactly what I was looking for going into this book! However, I did have a couple of issues while reading. The main one being her father’s political opinions. From the start, and even in the synopsis, it is established that her dad is running for the Republican party – a right wing group. Though at times throughout the book, Harper admits that she is not a fan of his politics, it was not developed on enough for my liking. I can understand that maybe the author didn’t want this to be a really political book, but when it is really important to the story that he is running for President as the Republican candidate, I think that it’s really important to discuss how harmful the Republican party’s politics are. And this is especially true since Harper divulges that both of her parents are homophobic, and that this directly affects her throughout the book. It didn’t feel like enough for me and I think that some good political discussion would have really done well in the book, because after all, teens aren’t fragile, they know about politics and it affects their lives, so why gloss over it? I also thought that the ending was a bit rushed and that the other person having a crush on Harper was a bit unnecessary to the whole plotline and didn’t make much sense with what we’d read about them so far, but I can look past that since the other reveals worked well in my opinion. Overall, this was a really fun, unique addition to sapphic YA contemporary that I think so many young people will benefit from and love and I can’t wait to see what Skye Quinlan releases next! Thanks to TBR and Beyond Books, Page Street Publishing, and Netgalley for an eARC in return for an honest review! Want more sapphic books? You can find me here: Book Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    I feel so torn about this book. The ace rep was amazing but I legitimately hated every single one of Harper's friends with a burning passion. If you're like me and have a hard time with "forgive and forget" then this will be one hell of a frustrating read for you. BUT if you can make it through feeling frustrated and pissed off and highkey wanting to murder 80% of these characters, you'll also get a super sweet sapphic romance, the best brother cameo, sibling banter and some seriously sweet mome I feel so torn about this book. The ace rep was amazing but I legitimately hated every single one of Harper's friends with a burning passion. If you're like me and have a hard time with "forgive and forget" then this will be one hell of a frustrating read for you. BUT if you can make it through feeling frustrated and pissed off and highkey wanting to murder 80% of these characters, you'll also get a super sweet sapphic romance, the best brother cameo, sibling banter and some seriously sweet moments that almost make up for the scowl you'll be wearing for the other parts of the book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shay | Books Are Magic Too

    Quinlan perfectly captured first love, the pressures of high school and all the emotions that go along with the experience with beautiful words that show the true heart of her characters and I could not have loved it more & I played the flute for less than a year back in high school and had ALL the nostalgia from the Friday Night feels in this one🤣 With a unique political family dynamic that I hadn’t expected but worked so well for this story, anyone who’s ever been caught up in family expectati Quinlan perfectly captured first love, the pressures of high school and all the emotions that go along with the experience with beautiful words that show the true heart of her characters and I could not have loved it more & I played the flute for less than a year back in high school and had ALL the nostalgia from the Friday Night feels in this one🤣 With a unique political family dynamic that I hadn’t expected but worked so well for this story, anyone who’s ever been caught up in family expectations and wants to break free of those pressures should read this title. Written for the band geeks and self-proclaimed nerds who miss the music and community feeling of marching as one, this book’s for you! Similar to the setting of Ashley Schumacher’s Full Flight with the added element of the young adult queer love story you didn’t know you needed, FORWARD MARCH will blow you away. “Her eyes are the prettiest shade of brown, and I feel like a book she’s trying her hardest to decipher, to peel apart the pages and read between the lines like no one else ever has.” Are you someone who falls for lines of a book and just wants to go back and read them over and over? This was my favorite sentence and just 😍 Read this one and remember what it’s like to feel that pressure and expectation of everything being so BIG and important, as these incredible characters find out just who exactly they are as they get ready to graduate and go out into the real world. Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours, the author, and Page Street Publishing for having me on the book tour, check out my post from 3/9!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Harper's coming out as an asexual lesbian was the most developed and engaging part of the story. Much of the rest was underdeveloped, including her father's political work, the media scandals, the fact Harper goes to a boarding school (her mom works there but that wasn't enough to cut it for me), the tinder catfishing subplot, and the completely underdeveloped friendships. I thought the relationship between Harper and Nadia was done well, until it fell off about half-way through. In no way is th Harper's coming out as an asexual lesbian was the most developed and engaging part of the story. Much of the rest was underdeveloped, including her father's political work, the media scandals, the fact Harper goes to a boarding school (her mom works there but that wasn't enough to cut it for me), the tinder catfishing subplot, and the completely underdeveloped friendships. I thought the relationship between Harper and Nadia was done well, until it fell off about half-way through. In no way is this a bad book, but rather, it reads like a debut novel. Quinlan's got a lot of potential so I'll be picking up her next title.

  9. 4 out of 5

    atlas ♡

    i have very mixed feelings on this book. at first i assumed it would just be a cute romantic comedy but that wasn't the case. i loved the romance and thought the main couple was very sweet but i hadn't expected all that came with it. positives! - diverse cast, there are many queer characters as well as people of color. this doesn't feel forced or tokenized which is great to see. - exploration of queer identities!! the lgbt+ representation in this novel was wonderful and definitely a highlight. - i have very mixed feelings on this book. at first i assumed it would just be a cute romantic comedy but that wasn't the case. i loved the romance and thought the main couple was very sweet but i hadn't expected all that came with it. positives! - diverse cast, there are many queer characters as well as people of color. this doesn't feel forced or tokenized which is great to see. - exploration of queer identities!! the lgbt+ representation in this novel was wonderful and definitely a highlight. - the adorable romance. i already mentioned them but < harper & margot 3 negatives, (mostly just things i personally didn't love.) - the political aspect of it all. there are some scenes where this is well done but it felt very unneeded. her mom being dean and the dad running for president just felt very over the top. - the writing style was too simple? i don't really know how to explain it but it did - the forgive and forget trope was very annoying and most of the people in this book are utter assholes for no reason. overall, i mostly enjoyed this book so if you're looking for a quick and easy sapphic book (and don't mind some frustrating side characters) definitely pick this up! thank you for page street ya for sending an arc for my honest review! content warnings: anxiety, depression, mentions of self harm, alcoholism, being outed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eva B.

    1.5 stars DNF halfway through. I wanted to love this but unfortunately I hated every character (except for Bellamy, though based on other reviews that would've changed) and the fact that there was really no plot at all did not help in that aspect. I was also pretty confused by the political aspect--was Evelyn's dad a democrat or a republican? I'm almost certain that it was explicitly stated that he's a democrat, but Evelyn made a comment about how he'd be up against Harper's dad in the primaries, 1.5 stars DNF halfway through. I wanted to love this but unfortunately I hated every character (except for Bellamy, though based on other reviews that would've changed) and the fact that there was really no plot at all did not help in that aspect. I was also pretty confused by the political aspect--was Evelyn's dad a democrat or a republican? I'm almost certain that it was explicitly stated that he's a democrat, but Evelyn made a comment about how he'd be up against Harper's dad in the primaries, so he has to be a republican. And then Harper comments that "Evelyn's dad wants to build a wall", which...okay so he's a Trump analogue then, right? And he's got to be farther right than Harper's dad? But Evelyn--Evelyn, who's FWB with a nonbinary person--is going to vote for him anyways, despite the fact that he's absolutely got to have platforms that will make their life actively worse. Like yeah, she's established to be an asshole, but from what I read she seems to genuinely care about Bellamy so that doesn't really check out for me. Anyways political rant aside, I liked the rep (ace lesbians! whoo!) but besides that, not much else.

  11. 5 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    NGL, I was hesitant to pick this one up after I realized it was not by Kelly Quindlen (somehow, I got the two authors confused—I blame the covers, kinda similar plots and the Qs), and also when I realized that it had a Republican president dad plotline from an author I did not know. ANYWHO, I am pleased to report that this was a really, really strong debut! Ace rep! Lesbian rep! Bi rep! Nonbinary rep! POC rep! Gay men! Questioning rep! Fuck the Republicans/homophobes/shitty parents rep! Two fishie NGL, I was hesitant to pick this one up after I realized it was not by Kelly Quindlen (somehow, I got the two authors confused—I blame the covers, kinda similar plots and the Qs), and also when I realized that it had a Republican president dad plotline from an author I did not know. ANYWHO, I am pleased to report that this was a really, really strong debut! Ace rep! Lesbian rep! Bi rep! Nonbinary rep! POC rep! Gay men! Questioning rep! Fuck the Republicans/homophobes/shitty parents rep! Two fishies! ...yes, actual fishies that's not code for anything the book has literally two goldfish. So, lots of trigger warnings: public outing, panic attack/anxiety, homophobic parents, homophobia, catfishing of a minor, depression, self-harm (off-page), addiction (off page), estranged parents/sibling Full RTC I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review

  12. 5 out of 5

    Demi

    Thank you to NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review. DNF this book at 43%. Safe to say, unfortunately, I’m never going to want to finish this. And actually, if it wasn't for my weird sense of commitment to reading NG books fully before offering the review I'd have walked away at 20% in. As it happens, the book archives today and I can’t be bothered. When I saw this on NetGalley I was tumbling over myself trying to get it so I could live out my queer band American high school fantasy Thank you to NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review. DNF this book at 43%. Safe to say, unfortunately, I’m never going to want to finish this. And actually, if it wasn't for my weird sense of commitment to reading NG books fully before offering the review I'd have walked away at 20% in. As it happens, the book archives today and I can’t be bothered. When I saw this on NetGalley I was tumbling over myself trying to get it so I could live out my queer band American high school fantasy 💅 …sigh. I have to cut it a bit of slack because I know nothing of being in Band, or American high schools in general really, so a lot of the jokes and cleverness may have gone over my head. It's definitely a book that is solidly YA. I love YA, but actually I probably would have enjoyed this more if I was still around school age—it felt a little juvenile. I did however really like the exploration of sexuality and the asexual spectrum, nice rep. However, is the plot wafer thin? Yes. But does it still somehow manage to be needlessly convoluted? Also yes. The fact that she's the Dean's daughter AND the potential Presidents daughter just kind of felt like this book was doing the most to make the storyline as dramatic as possible. The President bit just... never quite fit. Some bits were also a little repetitive. I definitely think it could have been shorter, maybe a novella and it would have been fine? Maybe then I would have finished the thing. I’m not going to give it a star rating on goodreads because I don’t want to judge it too harshly when I think this book just… wasn’t meant for readers like me. I did, however, learn a shit ton about Band. EDIT (03/02): a friend has explained to me the rest of the plotline and the ending and I have to say I'm quite happy I didn't force myself to finish, sounds like the plot gets even more frustrating and unsatisfying.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Deja

    This book was utterly charming, and and excellent addition to the ever growing collection I have of coming-of-age queer stories that thankfully include ace and non-binary representation, which is always a plus from me! The writing style was perfectly appropriate for the setting and age group this book centered on, albeit a little heavy on the swearing, which isn't particularly a bad thing. Quinlan's debut captures the high school experience very well in terms of tone and overall flow. As far as This book was utterly charming, and and excellent addition to the ever growing collection I have of coming-of-age queer stories that thankfully include ace and non-binary representation, which is always a plus from me! The writing style was perfectly appropriate for the setting and age group this book centered on, albeit a little heavy on the swearing, which isn't particularly a bad thing. Quinlan's debut captures the high school experience very well in terms of tone and overall flow. As far as plot goes, it left a bit to be desired from me. I was hopeful for this book, but I really wish there had been a lot more romance and exploration of Harper's queer identity and band antics, and a little less backstabbing and political scandal. My main gripe - Harper's friends are awful. From the very start, they seem to be generally unlikable people, and as the story progresses and Harper experiences more personal downfalls, they all seem to blame her for her own misfortune and lack any empathy whatsoever, to the point where the reading experience while they were on the page was irritating at best and anger-inducing at worst. I thought Margot and Harper's romantic storyline was cute, and Margot is definitely a standout character here. Her patience and understanding of Harper's situation is truly the highlight of the book. Overall, Forward March was an enjoyable, quick, and delightfully queer read that may frustrate or overwhelm at times with the way emotion flows, but it's a story very worth telling and I know that many readers will find solace in Harper's identity.

  14. 4 out of 5

    LGBT Representation in Books

    Trigger Warnings: Sex, teen pregnancy, cursing, underage drinking, panic attacks, separation anxiety, homophobia, parental rejection, masturbation, oral sex, past off-page death of aunt, past self-harm, depression, outed, panic attack, ambulance/hospital, coming out Representation: POC: Indonesia, They/them pronouns, Non-binary, Autism, Vegetarian, Bisexual, Lesbian, Asexual, Gay Forward March is the story of Harper and Margot who develop an unexpected relationship after Margot swipes right on Har Trigger Warnings: Sex, teen pregnancy, cursing, underage drinking, panic attacks, separation anxiety, homophobia, parental rejection, masturbation, oral sex, past off-page death of aunt, past self-harm, depression, outed, panic attack, ambulance/hospital, coming out Representation: POC: Indonesia, They/them pronouns, Non-binary, Autism, Vegetarian, Bisexual, Lesbian, Asexual, Gay Forward March is the story of Harper and Margot who develop an unexpected relationship after Margot swipes right on Harper’s dating profile. The only problem is Harper never made a dating profile. The two girls become close while trying to figure out who made the profile with many twists and turns along the way! This ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. I love romance books, but they tend to be pretty predictable. This book had some predictable moments but there were quite a few that I didn’t see coming and I loved it! The story was cute and enjoyable. The dialogue is sincere and witty! I loved Harper and Margot, as well as all of the other side characters (minus Harper’s mom lol). I wish we had a chance to learn more about Christian. The students were also relatable and not as whiny as some teenage characters. I also loved the Easter egg! Overall, this was a great book and I highly recommend it for any queer romance fans!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diane Billas

    Where has this book been my entire life? It’s my new favorite 2022 read. Honestly, it had me at queer band geeks. The characters are so well-developed and I love too that politics are a part of the storyline. I couldn’t put this down and this story’s going to stay with me a long time. Amazing debut!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: anxiety attacks, homophobia, mentioned substance abuse & addiction, forced outing, mentioned self harm 4.2 Harper McKinley doesn't like being in the spotlight, but she doesn't get much of a choice thanks to her politician dad, a presidential hopeful. As much as she'd love to avoid the media, she knows anything she does could get back to her parents- or worse, the news. Which is why it's so horrifying when she finds out about the dating profile using her name I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: anxiety attacks, homophobia, mentioned substance abuse & addiction, forced outing, mentioned self harm 4.2 Harper McKinley doesn't like being in the spotlight, but she doesn't get much of a choice thanks to her politician dad, a presidential hopeful. As much as she'd love to avoid the media, she knows anything she does could get back to her parents- or worse, the news. Which is why it's so horrifying when she finds out about the dating profile using her name and her face to catfish girls. Harper isn't trying to date- and definitely not trying to date girls, that's not even an option- so talking to the catfished, fellow band geek, Margot, makes no sense. Except that Margot is persuasive as hell, and determined not to let Harper self-isolate in shame and anxiety. And, okay, Margot's actually pretty cool. And cute. Not that matters... I have a rule, which is not to ever trust a blurb that compares a book to Red, White & Royal Blue because it is a lie 99% of the time and will just disappoint you. However the comparison kind of works here! If you enjoy political scandal, secret dating, and queer realization then you're definitely getting the vibes you want from this book! And, I have to say, those things are all done really well! The concept of this book was a good one, and it's executed in a way that really works. You feel all the tension and the confusion, you never forget the stakes, and yet there's so much room left for the soft. I'm also personally a fan of secret dating, and I loved the secret dating in this so much! It's just the right levels of tense/dramatic and fully sweet. Honesty, the romance as a whole is really nice. It's paced well, the characters are fleshed out prior to getting romantically entangled and their chemistry is good. I also love so much that this book has an ace main character whose queer realization arc includes her realizing she's on the ace spectrum. And that rep manages to avoid all the problematic, exhausting, and just plain depressing pitfalls and cliches a lot of asexual representation doesn't! Plus, Harper is allowed to not particularly enjoy physical as a whole, which is rare in these books. Too often the ace-ness feels like it's attempting to be softened, or the characters get "fixed" in some way. It's also really cool to have two trans characters! I will say, though I liked the plot concept, this book doesn't lean into the presidency stuff nearly as much as I expected. The politics and media are looming and used well, but I forgot the details a few times because it's kept pretty vague for most of it. This book is also a bit "neat" for me, personally. Though there are heavy parts and themes and standard complications, I tend to like things complex and nuanced. This isn't a fluffy book, but it still keeps it light and a bit more surface level, which isn't my personal preference. This is a cute secret dating romance of self exploration! I thought this book was a lot of fun.

  17. 5 out of 5

    tessie

    covid is making me nice and give every book i read 5 stars but this was actually very good and characters who use lesbian on page absolutely love that for them

  18. 5 out of 5

    Randi (Rampant Reading Reviews)

    Content Warning: Forward March includes scenes of anxiety, panic attacks, asthma attacks, depression, mentions of self-harm, alcoholism, being outed, homophobia (from peers and parents), and toxic family relationships. One of my single favorite things about this book was the representation included on-page. The protagonist discovers and explores her own identity as an asexual lesbian on-page, allowing readers to witness and relate to her process of self-discovery and finding labels that fit. Ther Content Warning: Forward March includes scenes of anxiety, panic attacks, asthma attacks, depression, mentions of self-harm, alcoholism, being outed, homophobia (from peers and parents), and toxic family relationships. One of my single favorite things about this book was the representation included on-page. The protagonist discovers and explores her own identity as an asexual lesbian on-page, allowing readers to witness and relate to her process of self-discovery and finding labels that fit. There are not nearly enough stories about asexual characters available right now, so Forward March is a welcome addition to the cannon! Though I personally don’t have any experience being in a marching band (tragically cellos don’t really work for marching) I had a wonderful time reading about the character’s experiences while in a band environment! My Recommendation- If you enjoy YA sports stories, but would rather read about the marching band than the football team, you should pick up a copy of Forward March! I would especially recommend this book to fans of She Drives Me Crazy and Like Other Girls!

  19. 4 out of 5

    lyraand

    From Publishers Weekly: Tamara Grasty at Page Street has bought world English rights to Forward March by Skye Quinlan. When band geek/potential First Daughter Harper McKinley discovers that out and proud, drumline punk Margot Blanchard might be into her, she's forced to figure out if she even likes girls, if she might be asexual, and if a relationship with Margot is worth losing her best friend. Publication is slated for winter 2022; Moe Ferrara at BookEnds Literary brokered the deal. From Publishers Weekly: Tamara Grasty at Page Street has bought world English rights to Forward March by Skye Quinlan. When band geek/potential First Daughter Harper McKinley discovers that out and proud, drumline punk Margot Blanchard might be into her, she's forced to figure out if she even likes girls, if she might be asexual, and if a relationship with Margot is worth losing her best friend. Publication is slated for winter 2022; Moe Ferrara at BookEnds Literary brokered the deal.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

    This was a super cute read, but not for anyone who knows anything about American politics. At one point, a girl who’s dad is running as a democrat says “my dad is going to beat your dad in the primaries” or something like that, to our main character…who’s dad is a republican. The romance was cute, but growing up in a very politics centered household, the lack of realism just kinda ruined any scene with her dad in it lol 3.5/5 rounded up

  21. 5 out of 5

    Of Pens and Swords

    Forward March, by Skye Quinlan, follows Harper McKinley, the daughter of the principle of her boarding school and a Republican senator who is running for president. When Margot Blanchard, another girl in band, tells her at the start of the school year that somebody has been impersonating Harper on Tinder and that Margot had been sexting with her, Harper is forced to face the question of who, if anybody, she's attracted to. As the two grow closer, and Harper's friends turn on her, she finds herse Forward March, by Skye Quinlan, follows Harper McKinley, the daughter of the principle of her boarding school and a Republican senator who is running for president. When Margot Blanchard, another girl in band, tells her at the start of the school year that somebody has been impersonating Harper on Tinder and that Margot had been sexting with her, Harper is forced to face the question of who, if anybody, she's attracted to. As the two grow closer, and Harper's friends turn on her, she finds herself torn between her parents' agendas for her and her own. I liked Harper as a character, but she was kind of bland. She's very passionate about band, which I appreciated; she talks a lot about how it's the only thing that she's ever chosen for herself, which helps to tie in that part of the narrative with the wider political and sexuality narratives. I will say that she surprised me in the ways that she is willing to stand up for herself, showing more backbone than she appears to have at first glance. One thing that I did really enjoy was the asexuality rep, particularly since I didn't know about it going in. As a demisexual person, I found Harper's struggle with that aspect of her identity to be very relatable and well-written. It's been a year or two since I've red such good ace representation. While the wlw rep was also good, the ace rep was what really stood out to me about the book, and is definitely its saving grace. All of the secondary characters are really only okay, Margot, the love interest, did absolutely nothing for me other than being significantly better than all of Harper's friends, who were complete jerks. Their romance was somewhat cute, but nothing extraordinary, and I really didn't find myself caring much one way or the other whether they got together. I did really appreciate her for how kind and considerate and supportive she always is with Harper, which is especially important in comparison with every other character's treatment of the protagonist. Harper's friends are all horrible. Nadia, her best friend and roommate since they were 7 (who sends their kids to boarding school at 7?), was particularly bad, but her other friends were awful as well. One thing that I didn't understand was the fact that one of Harper's friends, Evelyn, is the daughter of another presidential candidate who is openly rude to Harper about her dad's campaign, and yet they still seem to be at least relatively close. It felt very odd and contrived. Honestly, the contrived aspect of that plot point really extends to the entire book. It's unclear why everything has to be so dramatic; while Harper's parents are honestly the most interesting characters in the book, it just feels like a bit much that one of them controls Harper's school and the other is running for president, which influences her life in a number of other ways. The entire presidential campaign part felt a little odd to me, and, while key to the plot, felt strangely in the background for the first half of the book, which feels particularly odd because that seems like it ought to have an impact on almost every aspect of Harper's life. Regardless, while Harper's parents aren't lovable characters by any means, they do feel human, and I enjoyed their scenes more than almost any of the other characters. The worst thing about the book for me was the ending; without spoiling anything, it definitely has too much of a tone of "you have to forgive people who have hurt you no matter what, or else you're a bad person," which just... isn't a good message, and really rubbed me the wrong way, particularly with the sorts of topics that are depicted in the book. Overall, I did enjoy Forward March, particularly the ace rep. If you're just looking for a cute romance or good queer representation, and don't mind a couple of characters who will anger you or a somewhat-contrived plot, then you should definitely give it a go. I will say that one should look at the trigger warnings before starting, because it does deal with a few topics that I wouldn't have expected it to that could be an issue for some readers. Overall, I'm giving this book 3/5 stars. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a free eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian Taylor

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. **ARC provided by NetGalley** As a queer person and a former band geek, I was so excited when I saw this book. I was ready for some sweet sapphic love between two nerds and I wouldn't say I was disappointed in THAT regard. However, there were many other areas in which I was disappointed. Forward March follows Harper, a senior saxophonist who finds out that someone has been posing as her on Tinder and sending risque messages to a member of the drumline. This is a great story idea, and this is the **ARC provided by NetGalley** As a queer person and a former band geek, I was so excited when I saw this book. I was ready for some sweet sapphic love between two nerds and I wouldn't say I was disappointed in THAT regard. However, there were many other areas in which I was disappointed. Forward March follows Harper, a senior saxophonist who finds out that someone has been posing as her on Tinder and sending risque messages to a member of the drumline. This is a great story idea, and this is the plot that I was looking forward to. Unfortunately, it feels like the Tinder profile plotline gets sidelined in favor of focusing on her father's political campaign, as he is planning to run for President. This information, for me, is where this author seriously jumped the shark. It went from a "haha semi-relatable" romantic romp to someone trying to skate on the coattails of Red, White, and Royal Blue's success. The political plot simply never meshed with the bit I was actually interested in, and it would have been even more interesting to see Harper and Margot's relationship blossom throughout some investigation of that delicious mystery. There were moments that I enjoyed, all of the little inside marching band jokes were spot-on. Yes, trumpets ARE obnoxious and the percussion section can NEVER find the beat. I also liked the pop culture references at first, as Harper's favorite shows are also all of my favorite shows, but even those got old by chapter four. The relationship that we finally see between Harper and her brother, Christian, and his boyfriend, Ben, was amazing as well. I wished we had gotten that earlier, but alas, it was a sweet tie-in at the end at least. My favorite thing about this was definitely the solid, well-handled asexual representation that Quinlan gave us. And Harper and Margot's relationship was fun to watch grow and blossom. However, there were so many parts of this book that either frustrated me to no end or that I simply couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy. As I said, the entire political side to this book, which ended up being a good 60% of it, did not mesh into what I thought was going to be the main plot. Similar stakes could have been made simply by Harper having conservative parents, one of which runs the school. Harrison, the Vice President's son that is apparently desperately in-lust with Harper, also felt like a pointless character. He added nothing to the plot, except as something small to fuel Evelyn's jealousy. Speaking of characters who did nothing more than annoy me, Nadia absolutely sucks. It was obvious that her jealousy over Margot was because of feelings she harbored for Harper, but even having gleamed that subtext, all of her outbursts and arguments felt unnecessarily amplified. Even by the end, when you know the full story, it never feels justified. That happens with a lot of the emotional upheavals of the book, they never really feel deserved. From Harper's arguments with her mother to Harper and Nadia's multiple fights, even Bellamy's final outburst of apology feels terribly over the top and unnecessary. The emotions of the book were hard to follow and I could never quite tell if I was supposed to be mad at someone or not because I couldn't tell how Harper was feeling. Finally, the ending. The "forgive and forget"-ness of the ending drops this book an entire star for me. What Bellamy, Nadia, and Evelyn did to Harper and Margot was absolutely horrendous. I'm glad Evelyn was expelled, and I can even accept that Nadia and Bellamy were just dumb teenagers making poor decisions (though I would have preferred hearing that from Harper's voice than Ben's), but making up with Bellamy and Nadia at the very end felt extremely uneared and unsatisfying. If it had been handled differently, it might not have hit so badly with me, but the idea that Harper has to forgive Bellamy and Nadia otherwise Evelyn "wins" is not an idea that I vibe with. Harper doesn't have to forgive people that hurt her like that, and I can't imagine someone forgiving even their best friends that quickly after such a betrayal. Overall, I had a lot of feelings about this book. It's not the best thing I've ever read, and I'm still disappointed that it wasn't the story I thought I'd be getting from the first couple of chapters. However, the love story, the ace representation, and the sibling interactions were enough to at least get me through the end.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jaye Berry

    Forward March is about a band geek named Harper whose mother is the dean of her boarding school and father is running for president. When someone makes a fake gay dating profile posing as her, she can't afford for it to get out. Once she meets Margot, the girl who swiped right, Harper thinks it might be worth the trouble to get to know her though. I wasn't really into the set up actually. It just felt weird to me like yeah obviously Margot was into Harper but for them to start a thing from the cr Forward March is about a band geek named Harper whose mother is the dean of her boarding school and father is running for president. When someone makes a fake gay dating profile posing as her, she can't afford for it to get out. Once she meets Margot, the girl who swiped right, Harper thinks it might be worth the trouble to get to know her though. I wasn't really into the set up actually. It just felt weird to me like yeah obviously Margot was into Harper but for them to start a thing from the creepy fake dating profile just felt weird. There was so much in here that was underdeveloped. Like most of the book. I do understand this is a debut though! Then some things were just completely unnecessary like why was her father running for president? It was so over the top and not actually relevant to what we were already doing here. Maybe if it was the main thing or actually went anywhere but it didn't. We have some LGBT questioning and a nonbinary character!! Harper also discovers she is ace which was cool. But besides that I want to hit every character in here with a frying pan. Seriously everyone was an asshole for NO actual reason. Her "friends" were complete dicks and she just... took their shit? Maybe I'm the bitch here but if my friends talked to me and did these things to me they wouldn't be my friends anymore. Sure as shit wouldn't forgive either but okay. There were WAY too many pop culture references which I always hate but this time they had to literally talk about Criminal Minds multiple times and it just annoyed me so much. Harper and Margot were cute but that's it. I didn't like any of the rest of it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Athira

    I loved Forward March, a sapphic YA contemporary with an ace lesbian main character! Margot and Harper are really cute and I enjoyed seeing their relationship progress from friends to more. I didn't really like Harper's friends, they annoyed me a lot but Margot's were amazing! Sarah was such a great friend and I love her so much. It was great see Margot and Sarah support Harper, as most of her friends and her parents didnt. It also has great non binary and bisexual representation. I loved the ba I loved Forward March, a sapphic YA contemporary with an ace lesbian main character! Margot and Harper are really cute and I enjoyed seeing their relationship progress from friends to more. I didn't really like Harper's friends, they annoyed me a lot but Margot's were amazing! Sarah was such a great friend and I love her so much. It was great see Margot and Sarah support Harper, as most of her friends and her parents didnt. It also has great non binary and bisexual representation. I loved the band and music aspect and it was so much fun. Also really loved  Christian and Ben, though they only appeared for a short time. Overall I really enjoyed this novel. *ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley and TBR Books and Beyond in exchange for an honest and unbiased review

  25. 4 out of 5

    Selina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. TW: Non-consensual and extremely public outing, Homophobia, Toxic Friendships Listen I rated this 5 stars because of my personal taste. I can see why this can be 4 stars or lower to some. I love it because: 1. We have an asexual MC who's also realizing her queer journey. 2. Add a couple of friendship troubles, miscommunication within parents, and overall feelings?? Alam na dis Is the book perfect? Of course not because the characters were really teenagers dkdkd I am also a bit wary how the author portr TW: Non-consensual and extremely public outing, Homophobia, Toxic Friendships Listen I rated this 5 stars because of my personal taste. I can see why this can be 4 stars or lower to some. I love it because: 1. We have an asexual MC who's also realizing her queer journey. 2. Add a couple of friendship troubles, miscommunication within parents, and overall feelings?? Alam na dis Is the book perfect? Of course not because the characters were really teenagers dkdkd I am also a bit wary how the author portrayed Harper's parents with the mom being so difficult, while the Republican Dad as the 'better' one. I think Harper forgot that their family was so high profile because of her father's job smdmd Nonetheless, I did appreciate how Harper is aware of her white privilege and some of her unawareness about important things were pointed out. Moreover, the audiobook narrator, Justis Bolding, did a good job! Overall, I enjoyed this story but march slowly!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emily Meehan

    Hooray for queer marching band lit!!! I loved the book, but I think my favorite part was in the Acknowledgments where Skye Quinlan mentions she remembers picking the clarinet in 4th grade because she wanted to be like Squidward. I have never felt more seen because that is literally the same reason I picked the clarinet when I was in 4th grade. 🙂

  27. 4 out of 5

    Beauregard

    This book couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Political family drama? Coming of age? Fun band shenanigans? Nothing felt resolved and it all felt hollow and stupid. And no one has ever thought of reporting an account on an app? Easy fix. Also now I'm just being petty but I was really hoping for a more marching band focused book but this really felt like a pep band book? This book couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Political family drama? Coming of age? Fun band shenanigans? Nothing felt resolved and it all felt hollow and stupid. And no one has ever thought of reporting an account on an app? Easy fix. Also now I'm just being petty but I was really hoping for a more marching band focused book but this really felt like a pep band book?

  28. 4 out of 5

    AR

    3.5 Cute! Really great ace representation which I loved and we don’t see enough of. Would definitely read more from this author.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amy Kanney

    3.5- Got to love a marching band story! A bit too predictable for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Trigger Warning Database

    Trigger & Content Warnings Homomisia Forced outing Anxiety & panic attacks Substance addiction mentioned Self-harm mentioned Alcohol consumption Asthma attacks

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