Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Release Day!- Review, Guest Post, & Giveaway: Jacob, King of Portalia by Casey Clubb

Hello my beautiful readers. I am so excited to share a guest post with you today from Casey Clubb, author of the middle-grade LGBT fantasy book, Jacob, King of Portalia. Keep scrolling and reading to see her post on writing mid-grade level LGBT books, my glowing review of the book, and enter to win an ebook copy for yourself!

Title: Jacob, King of Portalia
Series: The Pillars of Life
Author: Casey Clubb
Release date: September 16th, 2014
Genre: YA/MG Fantasy, GLBT story
Published by: Booktrope
Source: Booktrope


Jacob is the only one who can protect us all from a vengeful lunatic.

But Jacob’s a tiny sixth grader who’s scared of his own shadow. And his only known talent is hiding.

A misfit in his own home, a boy out of place in his own skin, Jacob has been hiding all his life—in his head, or behind his only friend.

His kind of different just isn’t accepted.

He thought hiding would keep him safe. But he was wrong.

For Jacob’s hiding has buried more than one truth, more than one secret. Including a destiny and a duty that are his to fulfill.

And a powerful talent. One that could doom his people.

Or save them…if he can find the courage to stop hiding from the thing that terrifies him the most—the truth about who he is:

A boy who likes boys.
A boy with a destiny foretold in an ancient legend.
A boy whose love could save us all.

Buy it now on Amazon | B&N | iTunes

About the Author:
Casey Clubb lives near Portland, Oregon with her husband and her ever-growing collection of stuffed Tiggers.
For news and updates on Book Two—Jacob, Portal Master, visit
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Guest Post with Casey Clubb:

Why LGBT For Middle Grade?

Many thanks to Jillyn for having me as a guest!

When I tell people what my middle-grade fantasy, Jacob, King of Portalia is about, the most common question I get is: “Why did you make Jacob gay?”

It’s a valid question I suppose. But wouldn’t it be great if it wasn’t?

Nobody ever asks why the hero has blue eyes or curly hair or freckles. Or why the girl fell in love with the boy, or why the boy fell in love with the girl.

Sometimes I think there’s this perception that there are no gay children in the world, only gay adults. A societal consensus that prior to the age of eighteen children are either heterosexual or confused.

But the truth is that gay adults are people who were once gay children. Yet despite the fact that there are many gay adults in the world, and as such it stands to reason that there are many gay kids in the world too, none of the heroes in children’s fiction are boys who fall in love with boys or girls who fall in love with girls.

Why is that?

Reading is a HUGE part of growing up.

We read to dream.

We read to escape.

And we read to identify with a fictitious character. We want to read about heroes who are different from us, and heroes who are like us.
LGBT kids who read hundreds of books are not going to fail to notice the fact that none of the heroes are like them.
Kids don’t need anyone to tell them what that means—our society believes that gay people should stay in the closet until they are adults. Just like they do in fiction.

Being a kid is a hard gig. And middle school in particular is rough. It’s a time of finding your way in the world. Kids want to fit in and be loved and accepted. Heck, we all want that.

But until the heroes in children’s stories are as diverse as the children who read about them, LGBT children will continue to grow up with a pervasive sense that something is wrong with them, a sense that society confirms with their actions if not with their words.

I didn’t set out to write a story about a gay boy. Like all of my stories, Jacob started as a kernel of an idea and grew from there.

Jacob is a lot like many other kids. He’s an ordinary boy with big dreams and high hopes. He’s a boy who feels out of place in his own home and in his own skin. He’s a boy who is looking for love and acceptance.

He’s also a boy who likes boys.

And like many LGBT children, Jacob hides the truth about who he is, from others and from himself, in order to find that love and acceptance.

Why did I write a story about a gay middle-school boy?

Because Jacob is gay.

He falls in love with a boy.

And if he finds the courage to come out of hiding he might just save us all.

Like heroes do.



Five amazing stars.


I am not sure I have enough words in my vocabulary to explain to you how much I loved this book, but I will try my hardest. In case you don't want to read my fangirling that will follow this introduction paragraph, here's the nutshell version: I loved this book to all of Portalia's moons and back and you should buy it and read it immediately.

When I was contacted to read this book, I was curious. I am a huge, huge fan of LGBT literature, being a member of the community myself. Then I read that it was not just middle grade LGBT, but a fantasy story too. I love all of those things, so I really hoped that I would love this one.

Love isn't a strong enough word.

First, let's talk about Jacob. He is so realistically portrayed and no more flawed than any one of us. His ears are a bit too big. He loves music and wants to be an intergalactic musician. He dreams big, even though he's not great at playing an instrument and has no way to leave our galaxy. But what struck the closest for me was the lies he told himself- that he wasn't really gay. He knows he looks at boys the way other boys look at girls, but he lies to himself and convinces himself that the kids teasing him for being a queer are wrong, that he's not. I lived "in the closet" so to speak for almost eight years. I knew I liked girls when I was 12, but I was too scared of losing my friends and family to admit it. Jacob feels the same. He's lost his father already, and he doesn't make friends so easily, as quirky as he is. He saw his bestest friend Sam make a gross face at two boys holding hands once, and he's terrified of losing him too. I could relate to him, and his story had me hooked from these beginning confessions.

But, let me just add, that his being gay is not the only story. I have read a lot of LGBT books that are about being gay and finding love, but little else. That's not a bad thing, per se, but I was blown away at how much plot was in here that wasn't directly tied to sexual orientation. The fantasy plot in this book is stellar. Jacob accidentally opens a portal to a new world, one of which he learns he is King. He is thrust into this new universe, where everyone knows him and the fate that has been set out for him, and he has to decide if he is brave enough to stand up for what he believes in. I adored watching Jacob grow into himself. He starts out as a quiet, shy, not-so-confident kid in the closet, and throughout this book turns into a determined leader who isn't afraid of letting our world or his know how he feels. It's admirable. I'm still working on being able to shout that I love my girlfriend from the rooftops, and Jacob's triumph gives me hope that I will get to that point.

The world building is great. Every detail and every sense is described, so that you will feel like you too are there with Jacob, learning and exploring the new lands of Portalia. Colors are brighter, the sky is differently colored, boys who love boys are no big deal, there are more moons and different foods and drinks and Casey Clubb details all of them so that you become sucked up into this magical sci-fi fantasy land. I read this book in one go. It's like a really cool middle grade pro-gay mix of Alice in Wonderland and Inkheart.

The message that this book carries is an important one: that you can believe in yourself and no matter what makes you different, be it who you love or what you wear- makes you awesome. Never be afraid to be yourself. I wholeheartedly agree and wish that I could somehow personally shove a copy of this book into every child's hand who has ever thought "Why am I such a freak? Why can't I be normal? Why can't I like girls/boys instead?" I can't say that this novel would have made me burst from the closet, but it definitely would have boosted my self-esteem and made me feel a little less alone.

I recommend this to fans of ya, middle grade, fantasy, and LGBT book. This book is clean and appropriate, and it reached me as an adult so it's for more than just junior high grade level. Casey Clubb has gained a new fangirl, and I will be waiting very, very impatiently to continue the next story that Jacob has to offer. Thanks to Booktrope for a copy in exchange for my honest review.


-This giveaway will run from September 16th to September 24th, 2014
-This giveaway is open to those 13+
-It is open to ANYONE over that age who can legally enter, receive, and use their prize.
-Five (5) winners will win a copy.
-This giveaway is sponsored wholly by the publisher. I am not responsible.
-This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity.
-Winner will have 48 hours to reply, or a new winner will be chosen. Winner will be chosen using
-Invalid entries will be removed, so please don't cheat.
-Void where prohibited. Odds will vary. No purchase necessary.
-My opinions are my own. Information will not be stored or sold, and will be used only to contact the winners.

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  1. Well it's hard to pick just one quirk. But I suppose the first one that comes to my head is that I have to separate any multi-colored candies (M&M's, Skittles, SweetTarts, fruit snacks, etc) into their separate colors, in even numbers, and I'll eat the piles from largest to smallest, or by the colors of the rainbow if possible.

    1. I knew that! To be fair, I do that too, haha. Especially with M&M's and fruit snacks.

  2. First, separating M&M's is essential, not quirky! :) I wear a belt with my Kindle in a pouch, earbuds in, EVERYWHERE...makes grocery shopping tolerable, yardwork go faster, oh, and I have 8 Kindles for various uses, I don't think its quirky, but I have heard different! :) Great post! thank you!

    1. That sounds brilliant, actually. I wear earbuds almost constantly because certain noises physically hurt me, thanks to a condition called misophonia.

  3. Oh my god this is a thing that exists?! I don't think I know of a single MG book that
    1. Has a LGBT character
    2. Has a LGBT main character.

    Let alone that I don't know have any fantasy with a main character that's LGBT! Ok, that's a lie. But knowing of like two series totally doesn't count. So to have a MG fantasy LGBT book?! I was seriously reading the summary this what I think it is? Wait...really? REALLY?! I'm so freaking excited!

    1. That is EXACTLY how I felt when I got the email request to read it! It's amazing.