Hey, Cis!

"I don't care how folks read, I care that you read."
In this episode, Cyn and Isaac kick off summer with their book reviewer friend, Abbey Campbell (she/her), who shares some of the most exciting new publications to hit the world of Queer literature. Looking for a good novel to take on vacation, or something to read with your morning coffee? Then tune in, because Abbey and the team at Hey, Cis! have you covered!

Did one of the books we talk about in this episode catch your interest? 
Featured Texts (with appropriate content warnings):
  • The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
    The Girl from the Sea is a sapphic coming-of-age story about a young rural Nova Scotian girl named Morgan, who kisses a selkie one night after being saved from drowning in the sea.
    Content warning(s): Outing, near drowning, divorce (mention)
    Find the author on these socials:
    Twitter: @MollyOstertag
    Instagram: @molly_ostertag
    Website: www.mollyostertag.com

  • This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
    Two time-traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters—and fall in love.
    Content warning(s): Self-harm, descriptions of dead bodies and body parts, blood-drinking, murder & attempted murder, gun violence, poisoning, torture, imprisonment, animal death, war
    Find the authors on these socials:
    Twitter: @tithenai & @maxgladstone
    Instagram: @amalelmohtar & @max.gladstone
    Website: www.amalelmohtar.com & www.maxgladstone.com 

  • Us by Sara Soler (out July 25th, 2023)
    Originally written in Spanish, Us by Sara Soler tells the true love story of Sara and her girlfriend, Diana. Sara illustrates their shared past as a heteronormative couple and guides the reader through the ups and downs of coming out and accepting yourself. For Sara, it was finding out that she was bi. For Diana, it was finding out she was trans.
    Content warning(s): Gender dysphoria, transphobia, homophobia, biphobia
    Find the author on these socials:
    Twitter: @Hammer_moon
    Instagram: @sarasoler_art

  • A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon
    Standalone prequel to The Priory of the Orange Tree. It’s set just shy of five centuries before Priory and covers the period known as the Great Sorrow.
    Content warning(s): Cancer (implied), childbirth, child loss, child marriage, mass death, mind control, miscarriage (mention), pandemic, parental death, postnatal depression, pregnancy, reproductive coercion, violence, vomiting
    Find the author on these socials:
    Twitter: @say_shannon
    Instagram: @say_shannon

  • Ander & Santi Were Here by Jonny Garza Villa
    Aristotle and Dante meets The Hate U Give meets The Sun Is Also A Star. A stunning YA contemporary love story about a Mexican-American non-binary teen who falls in love with an undocumented Mexican bisexual boy.
    Content warning(s): racism, xenophobia, ICE, deportation of a character, death of a family member, underage drinking, use of drugs, sex (mention off-page), vomiting
    Find the author on these socials:
    Twitter: @JONNYescribe
    Instagram: @jonnyinstas
    Website: www.jonnygarzavilla.com 

Hey, Cis! Connected Communities Summer Reading Give-Away:
We’ve shared a few of our picks, now let’s hear from you!
What Queer reads are on your list for summer 2023? Have a recommendation for Hey, Cis! Listeners? Share it here for your chance to WIN a gift voucher for $25.00 CAD to one of our favourite Queer bookstores, Venus Envy.

To Enter:
Share one of your Queer Summer Reading recommendations, along with your name, address and contact details on the entry form below between now and June 30, 2023 at 12pm.
Winner will be randomly drawn and contacted within 24 hours of the draw to receive their virtual gift voucher.  No purchase necessary. No cash value and not redeemable for cash.
Check out the contest page for more information.

Contest runs 12 a.m. June 7, 2023 to 12 p.m. on June 30, 2023.
Entry Form Link: https://forms.gle/qxLc9YikFn7kzSc29

Hey, Cis! thanks musical artist Craymo for our intro/extro song: Be Myself
Written by: Craig Stephen Raymo/Brandon Jarrett/Joshua Daniel Hershfield (c) (p) 2015 Craymo Music, BMI/Moho Music, ASCAP
Website: http://www.Craymo.com

This podcast is created by Simply Good Form, with production assistance and editing from Podstarter. 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/simply-good-form/ 
Linktree: https://linktr.ee/SimplyGoodForm 
Hey, Cis! Season 3 is proudly partnered with TD Bank Group.

Hosts: Cyn Sweeney (She/Her) and Isaac Cook (They/He)
Producer: Connor Sampson (He/Him) podstarter.io

For more beyond binary conversations on being better humans, tips for being an inclusive leader in your field and connecting with trans folks from coast-to-coast, subscribe to Hey, Cis! on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

What is Hey, Cis!?

A beyond binary journey to being a better human. Join our head-on conversation about current affairs and gender-based issues affecting transgender and non-binary youth, students, and adults within Canada.

Hosts Cyn (she/her) and Isaac (he/they) give arts, culture, doers & dreamers a beyond binary twist in this Atlantic Canadian conversational talk show; breaking down cis-normative bias, smashing stigma, and fostering a greater connection between cisgender and trans, and non-binary communities.

Isaac Cook:
Hey, Cis!

From coast to coast, we're bridging the gap between

the cisgender and transgender community, creating

meaningful dialog and space to learn and grow.

Cyn Sweeney:
Join us as we connect with our community, Break down

tough conversations and get comfortable being better

humans. Are you an avid summer reader?

Is there a must read book out there for you or a

precious past read which you recommend to friends as

something that literally changed your life?

But wait, there is a caveat.

The book has to be an LGBTQ2+ book.

If you don't have any on your current list, whether

you're cisgender, trans, straight, gay or bi, we

hope to inspire you this hour.

I'm Cyn. I use she her pronouns and I'm originally

from treaty territory of Mississaugas of the Credit

First Nation and before then the traditional

territory of Haudenosaunee, Huron and Wendat, also

known as Brampton, Ontario.

Don't think I've ever shared that on the show

before. I moved to the Maritimes in 2012 with my

husband and three children.

One of them is transgender and I wholeheartedly

attest that it was an LGBTQ fiction novel read in

elementary school that altered his life and quite

possibly saved it.

Isaac Cook:
I'm Isaac. I use they he pronouns and I'm a queer

trans social scientist.

I reside in Nizahon outside of the Truro area in

Mi'kma'ki. Do you know where make make you live and

are you interested in learning the name of where you

reside? Check out mi'kmaw place-names.

Okay. The link is in the show notes.

So although I don't consider myself to be an avid

reader over the summer months, I do certainly

appreciate some good quality queer romance novels as

well as the feeling and smell of a book in my hands.

In this episode we are flipping pages and seeing

where our bookmarks are going to land this coming

summer, and we have guests Abby Campbell to help

narrate our Queer Summer reading list and chat with

us about the importance of representation between

the pages. Abby uses She/Her pronouns and is a

passionate and enthusiastic queer youth worker in

Booktok. When she isn't reading, playing tabletop

role, playing games with her friends, or getting

lost in a video game, you'll most likely find her

spending time with her girlfriend and their service

dog, Oliver. Welcome to Hey, Cis!

Abby. Thanks for.

Abbey Campbell:
Having me. Happy to be here.

Isaac Cook:
So diving into we'll call this maybe chapter one.

We'd love to hear maybe where you're from, where you

call home. And also, most importantly for me, what

kind of dog is Oliver?

Abbey Campbell:
Yes. So I am from just outside of the city of

Dubuque, also known as Halifax in Nova Scotia.

Born here and raised here.

And, you know, I plan to stay here for a very, very

long time. So Oliver, his full name, Oliver Twist,

his nickname Ollie.

His little baby name Dippis Mippis Owie Dowie.

Et cetera. Et cetera.

Cyn Sweeney:
On Yeah. Love it.

Abbey Campbell:
He is a black lab, so just a purebred black lab.

He's actually American, and he's been a part of my

girlfriend's life for the past three years now.

And I've been very lucky to also have him in my life

for the past two years and a bit.

And yeah, I love him so much.

Isaac Cook:
It's always the perks of being with someone with a

dog. Me and my husband, we got our dogs when we were

together, but he had a family dog and I was like,


Abbey Campbell:
Is this is now.

Isaac Cook:
My dog too.


Cyn Sweeney:
Your house is full of dog hair, isn't it?

You got the big fluffy dogs there.

I have.

Isaac Cook:
Three dogs.

Two of them are double coated and are very, very


Cyn Sweeney:
Yeah, well, I have to chime in.

I have a whippet, and she's fabulous.

And it's like, is it Santa's little helper in The

Simpsons or the It's always the ugly dog, but

they're they're great runners and.

Yeah. And he came over with us from Ireland so born

in Waterford up in guess towards where your doggies

came from. Isaac A little bit.

Isaac Cook:
Yeah. Yeah. All of our dogs are world travelers.

My goodness.

Abbey Campbell:
Yeah, Yeah. Look at that.

Cyn Sweeney:
I love that Abbey gave the the thumb little wave when

you said the smell of books and that.

Oh, yeah, yeah.

We wanted to have you in because you're an avid

graphic novel reader, queer graphic novels, and you

also do reviews.

Is that right? You want to tell us a little bit

about that?

Abbey Campbell:
Yeah. Um, so I read a lot of different books.

I read a lot, primarily just queer books in general,

and definitely a lot of queer graphic novels.

And I started reviewing books back when I worked at

a local bookstore.

And sometimes publishers would send books and say,

Hey, we need some beta readers or Arc readers as

abbreviated advanced reader copy arc in order to get

some feedback to see how this book is going to do

market wise. If there needs to be more editing, if

there has to be revising that sort of stuff.

I was one of the lucky people to actually receive an

arc of Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give, and I was

also able to meet Angie Thomas when she came up here

with Becky Albertalli and Julie Murphy, who are two

other young adult authors.

And it was so cool to meet them and also to give

feedback to their book, even like to their face and

to hang out and talk about ketchup chips because

they don't know what they were.

So now I just continue to do that through kind of

more of a online path rather than a physical.

Like, I will write down something and send it to

you. I will type something down and send it to you

online. So I just continue to review lots of

different books. Primarily, those of my choosing are

usually always queer books.

Cyn Sweeney:
Why? Graphic novels?

To just curious.

Abbey Campbell:
I find that the like avenue of graphic novels can be

read by so many different people because it's

accessible in a way that sometimes regular fiction

novels aren't, because it also gives a visual for

folks who may have trouble with kind of the

imagining what's happening in the book scene sort of

process. It's one thing to read a description of

something on a page out of letters, but it's another

thing to kind of get out of your.

Your space that you're actually in and kind of delve

into this world that this author is bringing you

into. And graphic novels help mean me for sure, but

they also help a lot of other people visualize the


Isaac Cook:
Yeah, and just jumping in there to kind of to to come

back to what you were saying about like some folks

leaning more towards graphic novels and then other

folks leaning more towards I don't want to use the

word like stereotypical like consumption of novels

where it's just text, but it kind of reminds me of

folks that are like really, really excited for like,

movie adaptations because it's not that they don't

want to do like the brain work, but sometimes, you

know, you just want to like, see and be able to

like, watch everything unfold or be able to see what

the author intended for characters to look like or

for what scenes to look like.

And I've met a couple of those people, and sometimes

those are also the same people that are like graphic

novels are for children or like, you know, I can't

enjoy graphic novels.

And I'm like, That's ridiculous.

Because you love movies and like, it's the same

thing, just a different format.

And a lot of times books can be a little bit more

accessible for people because there's a lot of

technology that has to go into watching a movie.

It's an interesting format that a lot of people,

especially adults, don't consider.

And I think now in, you know, 20, 23, I find there's

so many adult graphic novels coming out, which is

really, really exciting. Yeah, it's.

Abbey Campbell:
Really nice to see that kind of like resurgence, I

suppose, or maybe just kind of a, I don't know,

increase we can say in like graphic novels, not

necessarily only targeted for children.

I found working at a bookstore, I'd get a lot of

parents saying like, I'm trying to get my kid to

start reading because they need it for school and I

think it's good for them.

But they have such a hard time with traditional

books. Do you have any recommendations?

That kind of stuff.

And usually when I first bring up graphic novels,

they're like, Oh no, I can't do comic books.

That's not reading.

And then instead of taking a very kind of offensive

approach, it's more of a, Oh, well, here's one that

really spoke to me and it's actually really deep.

And sometimes words escape us in a way that we can't

really explain. And sometimes it's best to just even

illustrate it or words don't explain what the

illustration is saying in one panel of a graphic

novel, for instance, on a page, and then the next

page will elaborate on maybe what we're physically

seeing on the page.

There's definitely a graphic novel out there for

everyone, I believe.

Cyn Sweeney:
I love it. Well, you've got a few books that you're

going to take us through, and that's why we thought

we would break down this podcast into chapters

because it is generally segmented.

And so thought maybe why don't we kick it off with

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag that

you want to tell us a little bit about that graphic


Abbey Campbell:
Absolutely. And I will quickly show it here.

Cyn Sweeney:
That's a nice cover, actually.

Abbey Campbell:
It's gorgeous.

And it is fully like color illustrated as well.

Oh, I love, um.

Oh, it's one of my prized possessions on my shelf.

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox.

Ostertag is a coming of age story about a young,

rural Nova Scotia girl named Morgan who kisses a

selkie one night after being saved from drowning in

the sea. And to kind of, like, sum up, like, who

would I like this sort of book?

What's in it? What should I be expecting?

I've kind of written down a like if you like this

sort of stuff. So if you like folklore, a story on

learning to embrace who you are.

The sea cute little art with the actual graphic

novel format, adorable sea creatures and a little

bit of environmentalism.

I think that this book would be for you as well as

if you are from Nova Scotia.

Yeah, it's also just a fun read.

You see some references from a few rural places, and

it also mentions Djibouti, also known as Halifax,

inside the book as well.

Cyn Sweeney:
What if you just always wanted to know what it's like

to kiss a selkie?

I mean, like, is it dangerous?

I mean, do they like what happens?

What's it like.


Abbey Campbell:
Read it to find out?

Yes, there was definitely a lot of care that went

into why the author chose this, setting this place,

and also the different folklore that she put into

it. A little back story, I suppose, on the author.

So Molly Knox Ostertag is the wife of Andy

Stevenson, who is also the creator and producer and

showrunner of the New Shira, which is one of my

favorite shows. Yeah.

So they are a married couple.

They're one. All together and they both have come to

Nova Scotia over, you know, countless summers

because they have family that lives here.

And I believe that they have moved away now, but

they still come back because they love coming up to

Nova Scotia, even though they're American.

So they have physically been in this space.

They have explored the different cultural

significance of, you know, a typical Nova Scotian

stuff, whether it's like the lobster traps that are

everywhere, sometimes littered around rural Nova

Scotia to, you know, some of the environmentalism

crises that we face here.

There was a lot of care and thought and passion that

went into making this graphic novel, which it makes

me so happy as not only a fan of these two partners

together, but also as a queer girl from Nova Scotia.

Like it's it's a place that I know deep in my heart.

And it's also a identity that I feel and know also

deep in my heart. And it's seeing this story.

If I had this when I was like their age, because

this is more of a kind of I like to call it a middle

grade. So I would say, you know, 10 to 14, maybe it

was the ideal, but anyone can read it.

Cyn Sweeney:
Really think also trying to get into your head

sometime of your kids and everything.

I like to actually read like a and that sometimes so

you have me sold. I will put that on my summer

reading list.


Isaac Cook:
And is a graphic novel like is it just a single novel

or is it part of a.


Abbey Campbell:
In the genre in general?

It would depend.

So for The Girl from the Sea, it's just a one

standalone, one standalone.

So it's a it's a one and go, You're not going to

have to buy more series for it.


Cyn Sweeney:
Oh that sounds awesome.

So I'll have to put that one on the list there.



Abbey Campbell:
And I will like to mention hopefully that I have

provided some content warnings on the books that I'm

going to be mentioning and I believe that they're

going to be in the show notes.

So before you pick them up, if you want to take a

look at the content warnings, see if you're going to

be all good and safe reading these books, Go for it.

Isaac Cook:
Yeah. And maybe what we'll do just for ease of access

and accessibility, maybe we'll put everything into

maybe like a Google doc so that folks can easily,

like control F if there's any sort of, you know,

items that might be triggering for some folks that

they can easily do that search.

But yeah, so jumping in maybe to chapter two, I feel

like I need some like I need a sound board.


Cyn Sweeney:
Sound effects.

Isaac Cook:
So going on to the next book and you know, to try and

link it afterwards, if possible, to the past.

Let's talk about why books like these are important.

And, you know, why are we talking about queer

novels? Why the emphasis on queer novels?

Um, and then also to, you know, link it to history

and what has happened in the past in terms of

eliminating novels and unfortunately what's

happening today.

Abbey Campbell:
Yeah, it's really disheartening and discouraging to

even like just open up Twitter every morning.

There's some sort of news that.

Is rough to read.

However, I think it's still important to know what

is going on so that we can actively fight against it

and combat it.

Isaac Cook:
Saying it's unfortunate is very much of a disservice

of what is actually going on in the world.

But that's the best word that I can think of on the

top of my head, keeping things a little PG.

But you said it even yourself just moments ago, and

I definitely feel the same way as a trans person.

Is that, holy smokes, I wish I had these stories

when I was younger, like when I was younger.

I don't even know. Like, I don't even think there is

anything really that I could, like, relate to.

And I mean, I was during these peak ages in like

2006, 2008, like that's not that long ago other than

like me reading stories.

And I'm like, the authors know what they're doing.

Those characters are definitely gay or like queer or

whatever, but like, it wasn't nothing was actually

like, written down.

It's it's incredible that suddenly, well, not so

suddenly because this is, you know, folks have been

pushing for more, better representation in media and

literature forever.

But now in recent years, because we are finally

getting proper representation, we are also getting a

lot of pushback in the form of legislature and bills

and laws and yay!

Oh God.

Cyn Sweeney:
Yeah, I know. It's like one of those things that I

know people that like know or have done like a

workshop with me has heard me go on about the book.

George, which has now been renamed to Melissa's

story about a trans girl who was always Melissa, but

the author had entitled it George originally.

And just how like having a book like that gave

language to a child who was grappling with these

feelings did not make a child anything that they

weren't already but validated them.

And I just I had a copy of this one, which is

actually similar to George, probably the same age

range, but it's about a trans boy and it's called

the Other Boy by MJ Hennessy.

And after my kiddo transitioned, um, I had found

this book. I wanted to they had heard George, but I

wanted to find one that had a trans boy in it.

And so I got it and I read it myself.

And then I gave it to him.

And I loved it so much because it was, you know, you

just you learn learn so much from it.

And I know it's just one story in that.

But they they really loved it and was surprised that

there was a book out there like that.

Not a graphic novel, but.

Abbey Campbell:
I always say little side tangent.

I always say, I don't care how folks read.

I care that you read, whether it's audio books,

whether it's comic books, graphic novels,

traditional reading, whether you can only read quick

little novellas or whether you're reading a

children's picture book to a Webster's dictionary.

I don't care how you read, you are reading.

And I think that is wonderful.

And there's many different avenues to read.

Like I even kind of count TV shows and movies and

that kind of media almost as reading, uh, just to

make it kind of more accessible because I sort of

think of reading more as storytelling or story

consuming, I suppose.

Cyn Sweeney:
Hey, Cis! is all about connecting communities and

thanks to support from TD Bank Group, here is this

episode's connected community moment.

Isaac Cook:
Now that you've heard some of our favorite queer

reads, we want to hear from you.

Is there a thrilling action novel with a lesbian

protagonist that stole your heart?

What about a collection of poetry and prose written

by transgender artists?

No matter what type of story it is, we want to know

what's top of mind when you think of queer

literature. Jump over to our Facebook and Instagram.

Follow us. Subscribe to the Hey, Cis!

podcast and comment on our post to let us know what

your top picks are.

At the end of June, we will randomly draw one winner

to receive a $25 gift card to one of our favorite

local queer bookstores.

Venus Envy. And yes, they do ship worldwide.

We can't wait to explore your faves.

This has been a Hey, Cis!

and TD Bank group Connected Communities moment

because inclusion matters.

So yeah, jumping back to chapter two, as we're

talking about the past present moving into the

future. One of the novels you have to share with us

today is a sci fi with forbidden love and time

travel. So maybe take us there with you.

Abbey Campbell:
Absolutely. I also have a physical copy of this book.

So this is How You Lose the Time War by Amal

El-mohtar and Max Gladstone.

So it's written by two authors.

Cyn Sweeney:
This is how you lose the Time war.

Okay, Tell us about this book.

Abbey Campbell:
So this is basically about two time traveling agents

from warring futures working their way through the

past, and they begin to exchange letters, which is

how the book is actually formatted.

It's through writing like letters to one, back to

the other, to the other, to the other, and they fall

in love. So if you like a enemies to lovers,

forbidden Love Sapphic yearning time travel Thinking

about the innate pain and humiliation of desire.

Creative writing styles and probably also crying

because I did a lot of that.

You will really like this book.

I will say that it is definitely an adult book, not

in the themes of what we traditionally think as an

adult book, but more in the themes of war.

It's about, you know, time, time travel in the sense

of there's past wars, there's future wars, all that

fun stuff. So I just want to give content warnings

for this one because there's either mentioning not a

specific actual depicting of self-harm descriptions

of, you know, bodies, dead bodies, some blood

drinking murder, like some heavy stuff.

This is an.

Cyn Sweeney:
Adult adult graphic.

Abbey Campbell:
Yes. Yeah, It's and again, it's told through writing

letters back and forth to each other.

So it's not as if you're getting a play by play of

these things happening.

It's more of a mentioning.

And I like to keep most of this plot very hidden, or

at least I don't talk too much about the plot

because I find it's best to go in with very little

to expect out.

Of a mind. Yes.


Abbey Campbell:
An open.


Isaac Cook:
I just wanted to to chime in, too, as well.

Also mostly as you get both of your thoughts as

you're talking about kind of different writing

styles. And we chatted a bit about poetry and the

different types of literature that exist.

But I don't know if maybe I'm the only person,

probably not. But I love books that have like really

creative, like pages, like in terms of like

textures. I'm the person that was like obsessing

with like the smells earlier.

So that's probably not a, you know, a surprise that

I also like the textures, but like, that's why I

love physical books so much.

So like I find often with the, um, like letter

writing style, I can't remember the book off the top

of my head, but it was, it was written in the style

of also letters sending back and forth between

individuals and how they had it written.

Now, mind you, a lot of cases for this in terms of

accessibility, it's not the easiest to read, but

just visually it looked like someone actually

handwriting notes and then the leather, like the

pages were kind of like worn out and like had almost

like coffee stains and stuff on them.

So it really felt like someone just, you know,

binded together a bunch of letters.

So there's some really creative ways that people

have like, done that.

Cyn Sweeney:
Can you show us just a quick peek inside this book

and we can maybe describe it because I'm curious as

to what it would look like as well.

Abbey Campbell:

Cyn Sweeney:
Just making sure it's not a giveaway scene.

Yeah. Yeah.

A spoiler alert.

Yeah, this is good.

Cyn Sweeney:
So. Oh, yeah.

So okay.

So yeah, so.

Isaac Cook:
It's like standard pages and then it has your kind of

stereotypical like sign off and signature and then


Ps Yes.

Abbey Campbell:
And the sign offs, they change and they add like a

deeper meaning to the context of the story.

Oh, there's my heart burst.

Abbey Campbell:
Yeah. And it's very, I don't know, I guess it's, it's

a very unique story in the sense.

Of like I mentioned in the if you like, this

thinking about like the innate pain and kind of

humiliation of desire sometimes.

And that's not it's not a good nor bad thing.

I wanted to include that to say like sometimes like

loving someone so much can, you know, feel

humiliating sometimes because you're so head over

heels, especially if it's like an enemies to lovers,

sort of forbidden love.

Like there's all these other contexts that make it

so high risk and deep.

I suppose you can say it's very good.

I really love it.

Cyn Sweeney:
Oh, that sounds great.

And yeah, I think, you know, was we were talking

about before, just about like the past and the

present and the important of the storytelling and

the idea of like this being like you're going back

in time and, and it's a well as soon to be queer

couple because they haven't met in the beginning you

know just having these books out there is so

important as we were preparing to to record this, I

a news article had popped up just like yesterday or

the day before on the Washington Post about

objection to sexual LGBTQ content propels Spike in

book challenges. And so, you know, when we look back

to I think I had mentioned to Isaac, it was like May

6th, 1933.

So 90 years ago was like the that first like the big

book burning in Nazi Germany, which was targeted at

LGBT books along with Un-german books.

But you know, 90 years down the road and, you know,

the headlines are are scary, you know, they're kind

of like the more we change, the more we stay the

same. And so I do think that this, you know,

surgeons in LGBTQ, two plus fiction, nonfiction,

graphic novels, all of that is so great.

And, you know, no matter how hard I think people try

to ban it, it's not going to go away.

It'll just, you know, it'll make it it'll make them

more, more sought after, hopefully.



Isaac Cook:
And it's it's definitely an experience that's being

felt, you know, in particular in the United States

right now. I know I think it was Florida.

God love Florida that there was a teacher that

showed a movie that it didn't directly have a queer

character, but like there was a character with like

a same sex attraction or that was mentioned maybe

briefly once. I can't remember the movie name.

It was relatively new.

And now she is like facing jail time for showing a

movie to like her class.

Like just as like, this is a rated G movie.

It's a Disney movie, I'm pretty sure.

Or I've heard that story.

Cyn Sweeney:

And it's just.

Isaac Cook:
Like, Come on.

People. Yeah, We're.

Isaac Cook:
Really, you know, reaching at grass here.

Cyn Sweeney:
Yeah. And it's happening right here in Canada, too,

like Brandon, Manitoba, New Brunswick.

And then, you know, with drag queen story times, I

think there's one being organized in the Valley.

And some of the comments on Facebook are like, it's

a call to arms come out.

You know, it's almost like grab your pitchforks.

People don't let don't let you know these lovely

dressed, beautiful queens come and read to children

and make them happy.

And, you know, it's just it's really, you know, and

it's misinformation.

I think it's people that are being so fueled by this

sort of misinformation out there.

If you maybe picked up a book or two and actually,

you know, took a look at it first and had a read of

it, you could actually probably a lot of it would

resonate with you whether, you know, you're

cisgender or whether you're queer.

Just like before these kinds of books were out

there. I imagine as a you know, as a queer person,

you could pick up a book and read it and still it

could resonate with you, right?

You know, I think we find what we need from the

stories that we read.

When I was.

Abbey Campbell:
Younger, I read and like in school, I read about

countless characters that are straight and cis and I

watch movies. It was the norm.

It didn't I wasn't being pressured into being

straight or cis.

No one's forcing me.

It didn't. Reading these sort of stories didn't make

me a certain way.

It's so weird when folks say like, Oh, if we let

children read about gay representation, it's going

to turn them gay.

Like what? That's not how this works.

Cyn Sweeney:
No. And as I actually from our office had said the

other week, we were talking about this and she said,

you know, like, look, it's shown from conversion

therapy that you can't make somebody not gay, so you

can't make somebody gay.

Like it's just yeah, you know, I said it yesterday.

I was doing a reading of the Pink Balloon, my

children's inclusive school book to elementary

school classes. And we were talking about, you know,

how, you know, the innate ability to know if you're

left handed or right handed.

How do you know? You just you just know and somebody

can force you and make you write right handed.

But it doesn't mean that you're right handed.

It doesn't mean it's comfortable. It means that you

can do it. You can, you know, you can do it and get

away with it so well.

Isaac Cook:
And even on that same same train of thought too,

there's all that like data coming out being like,

there's so many like trans or queer people or

whatever. And then there's also there was a someone

posted on Twitter. It was like, there's the same

parallels of that with like people now comfortably

identifying that they're like left handed and like

because it used to be exactly that, that you have to

write with your right hand, you have to do it.

That's the normal thing to do.

You know, a very, very minor comparison in the grand

scheme of things. But just to, you know, help

connect the dots to folks who may not have thought

of these things. Right. Like that's this is a normal

conversation that we're having in today's world that

people are able to be left handed.

People are the way that they are.

Let them live their life.

Exactly. Yeah.

Abbey Campbell:
And there's not like one thing that made them left

handed, like, oh.

It's a.

Abbey Campbell:
Failure on my part.

It's failed as a parent.

Oh, no.

Cyn Sweeney:
I should have eaten more ice cream when I was



Cyn Sweeney:
What's happening? Well, let's let's dive into this

memoir now. So we've had a sci fi and now we've got

a memoir, graphic novel called Us by Sarah Soler.

And this one is not even out yet.

So. But you've had a sneak read of it.

Abbey Campbell:
Yes. So the original language that it's in is

Spanish. However, the English translation is going

to be coming out on July 25th this summer.

Cyn Sweeney:
So an August read.

Maybe tell us a little bit about about what you what

you liked about it and about it.


Abbey Campbell:
So again, this is a graphic novel that is a memoir

about Sarah Soler and Sarah Solas, Sola's wife,

Diana. It's about their love story.

And Sarah illustrates their shared past as a

heteronormative couple and guides the reader through

the ups and downs of coming out and accepting

yourself. So for Sarah, it was finding out that she

was bi and for Diana, it was finding out that she's

trans. And if you like, realistic depictions of

relationships like the ups and downs, sometimes the

hardships and the absolute funny little moments or

the joy.

If you love humor, if you love reading about

characters who embrace who they are and who their

loved ones are, if you love expressive art, if you

love communication between characters, if you love

nerdy things and also general shenanigans, I think

you're going to absolutely adore this book.

It is so full of heart and it is also very like it

knows about what time it's written in, as we were

just talking about, with everything happening across

the world, especially in America, for instance, it

also touches on like the world of graphic novel

publishing. And, you know, is this story actually

going to take off the ground with all of these new

restrictions that are happening?

Is it better to stay safe rather than be who you

are? It is a very fun book and a very important book

as well, because while it still has humor, it also

has it's truth hitting moments and it's a very good

balance. The illustrator who is also the author,

Sarah, um, she made the colors of all the book,

different shades of the trans flag.

So it's just.

Like that little like.

Abbey Campbell:
One of those little intricate ways of showing pride,

showing, like this is the essence of the book and

like embracing her wife and who she is.

And oh, it's so good.

Isaac Cook:
I love that. I love that it's written from her own


Cyn Sweeney:
I think it'd be a whole other level actually, to kind

of try and do a graphic novel to write it and then

illustrate it because you're illustrating, you're

like, Yeah, I, I think that sounds fabulous.

And when you read it.

Abby Then it wasn't the Spanish copy, was it?

Did you have an English copy or had.

Abbey Campbell:
The English translation?

So I sent, I read it.

I was able to send feedback of it and it was a lot

of positive feedback, honestly.

And I'm very excited for the English translation to

be released because I'm grabbing that so fast and

I'm going to throw it at all my friends.

Gently throw it.

Isaac Cook:
Yeah, yeah. Birthdays, Christmas, any holidays this

year? This is what you're getting from Abby.

A good.


Cyn Sweeney:
I just love that you put general shenanigans into

just because that word is in there.

I'm like, okay, I've got to pick that one up too.

So you'll have to remind me then when you're going

to get your copy, I will come and get a copy with

you. Is it a lot of pictures with little words per

page, or is there like, what would be the balance of

like pictures? Two words per page?

Abbey Campbell:
There's a really good balance between the art and

also the lettering.

I suppose I can say, because it's not like a

generated. It's the author like wrote out every

word, but it is legible.

It's not hard to read.

It's like an accessible font, almost.

And there's also some times where the author will

add like a certain emphasis to a word in an artistic

way that, you know, it signifies the importance of

it. And then they'll go on to maybe draw like a very

dramatic, angry face of passion.

Cyn Sweeney:
My head just went to Batman and Robin cartoons when

they go pow bang.


Cyn Sweeney:

Expressive. And that's like.

Abbey Campbell:
The background of the traditional, like, comic and

graphic novel industry coming out.

And like, that just shows the history and how you

can even make it inclusive or make it your own.

And as time evolves, we do too, and stories evolve.

I love it.

Cyn Sweeney:
So let's let's go into the final chapter of your your

next Wish List book.

You've done a high fantasy Day of Fallen Knight by

Samantha Shannon.

Let's hear about this one and why it's on your wish



Abbey Campbell:
So a day of Fallen Knight is actually very popular

right now, especially in the sort of subcategory of

Sapphic queer literature, especially on something

called like book talk, which is just TikTok, where

folks talk about books.

And this is a brick of a book, let me tell you.

Holy smokes.

Cyn Sweeney:
I was gonna say, like, how many pages is that?

Abbey Campbell:
Nearly 900 pages.

Woo hoo!

Cyn Sweeney:

Okay, so.

Abbey Campbell:
This book is the standalone prequel to Samantha

Shannon's first book in this sort of world or

series, which is a priory of the orange tree, which

is also a brick.

Isaac Cook:
Easy way to fill up a shelf, then?

Abbey Campbell:
Oh, yes. Both of these side by side are.

Just they're.

Cyn Sweeney:
Stunning. Yeah, really nice.

Abbey Campbell:
So again, it's the standalone prequel to the Priory

of the Orange Tree, and it's set just shy of five

centuries before the prior of the orange tree and

covers the period known as the Great Sorrow.

So if you like again Sapphic love I read a lot of

Sapphic love intricate and immersive worldbuilding

and I mean that in every essence the description and

the the writing style it is so immaculate and it

just breathes life whenever you read it.

It's so good.

If you like queendoms, if you like diverse, strong

and emotionally complex women with swords.

I think you like this book.

And if you also like political theater and dragons

because dragons make everything better.

Cyn Sweeney:
Yes, it's true.

It is true for listeners that maybe like when you're

describing Sapphic, do you want to just dive a

little bit deeper if for somebody, you know, that

maybe hasn't is not familiar with that description?

Abbey Campbell:
I like to describe Sapphic as it's another way to

sort of say like women love women or women who love

non-binary folks.

It's basically just a way to say that these women

are in relationships that are primarily between two

women or more femme presenting or one woman, one

non-binary person, strictly just saying lesbian

relationship. It kind of brings into the context

that one of them could be bi and one of them could

be lesbian, or both of them could be bi or both of

them could be pan or one or so on and so forth.

It's a way to describe more of a relationship rather

than a specific identity.

Isaac Cook:
It kind of reminds me of like the bisexual versus

pansexual thing. Like people are like helping to

create new language to describe how people are

feeling, even though a lot of probably the

definitions are very similar.

Like, for instance, like a lot of people used to

make the statement that like saying you're bisexual

is transphobic, which isn't the case.

And identifying as lesbian doesn't make you

transphobic by any degree either.

I love your description that like, Sapphic is just

like a softer way of like, describing it, and it

helps create that more community essence, which is

also kind of how I feel about like being pansexual

is that there's like another community with that.

Abbey Campbell:
It's definitely a something that is ever evolving as

most language is.

As someone who identifies as a lesbian.

I also embrace the term Sapphic, just because in

some cases it's easier to explain complex like

gender identities that are still included in like my

romantic and sexual attractions to folks.

My girlfriend, for example, she uses He/They

pronouns isn't necessarily nonbinary, but also isn't

isn't necessarily a binary woman.

So I describe us as a Sapphic relationship.

I would also still describe us as a lesbian


It could be.

Abbey Campbell:
Difficult because of again, you were saying, like a

lot of people have these preconceived notions that

all lesbians are transphobic or all bi people are

just blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, which is not the case whatsoever.

It's it's just stigma.

Isaac Cook:
It's very important for people to talk about, though,

because I think like, as I said, I think a lot of

folks have these questions that they hear these

words or like, you know, if someone says this is a

Sapphic centered space, you know, if I don't

necessarily identify with that, like, is that still

a space that works?

I'm not talking about me directly, but.


Isaac Cook:
Who identify as non-binary mean, which is myself.

But for individuals who identify as non-binary, if

they're like it's a Sapphic centered space, like is

that a space for me?

Is that where I should feel comfortable and to each

their own, you know?

Cyn Sweeney:
Yeah. I mean, it's good to have these conversations

and you know, the first time I had met, I was at an

event and there was a couple there that was

together, um, a lesbian couple and how they would

self-describe. And when I was talking to them about

gender identity and what we do and like the

experiences and that they were like, it was a light

bulb moment too. They're like, Oh, we didn't really

know about, you know, the trans experience like in

that the gender identity and how, you know, but

we've never really asked about it.

So, you know, even within community, there's still

always opportunity to, to learn and grow.


Isaac Cook:
And there's still, you know, like discrimination and

such within the community or biases towards certain

identities or, you know, how people talk.

But the beauty of having not necessarily new

language, but different language is that people are

able to find what best represents themselves.

You know, if we're making more words within the

community, doesn't mean there's less community for

other people. It just means that there's sacred

spaces for people who need that.

That is.


Isaac Cook:
That'll be my quote of the day.

Yeah. That's all you're getting.


Cyn Sweeney:
Good stuff.

Oh, well, I've really you know, I've enjoyed hearing

about these books.

And I think we're kind of we're probably getting

short on on time to dive into your complete wish

list. No, but we can.

Why don't we? We could run through the some of your

wish lists that might be, you know, might go on to

other people's lists for the summer as we're

approaching into warmer weather shortly.

Isaac Cook:
Yeah. And we'll also make sure to include the full

wish list in the Google doc or wherever this full

wish list will live because I know I have some some

additions to as well.

Abbey Campbell:
I will just mention the one book that I'm looking

forward to reading over the summer that is on like

the tippy tippy top.

I want to read it so soon.

It is a contemporary young adult novel called Ender

and Santi were here by Jonny Garza villa.

And to describe it, it's kind of a um, Aristotle and

Dante meets the Hate U Give meets The Sun is also

star. All of those are young adult books, by the

way. So this is like a stunning contemporary love

story about a Mexican-American non-binary teen who

falls in love with an undocumented Mexican bisexual

boy. So if you like supportive family members,

Latinx representation, urban art, there's lots of

fun graffiti art moments, apparently, and I'm just

excited for it.

Good food. There's lots of food description and

character driven stories.

So not necessarily plot, but more like focused on

the characters. You will love this book Again,

content warnings are going to be in the show notes

for this one.

Cyn Sweeney:
Thank you. That sounds great.

Urban art and good food.

I'm like, I'm there.


Already sold. Yeah.

Cyn Sweeney:
Oh, well, thank you so much, Abby, for joining us

today. It's been super exciting.

And for me that, you know, it's hard to get me into

a book, but everyone that you've said here, I'm

going to write down, I'm going to go out and search


Yeah, no, absolutely.

Isaac Cook:
As I said, I don't necessarily identify as an avid

reader, but some good queer novels.

Love it, love it.

More lists.

Isaac Cook:
Like this. Yeah.

But yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

Abbey Campbell:
It was a blast.

Isaac Cook:
Yes. Thank you so much.

It was lovely learning, you know, about not only

your personal experiences, but also, you know, your

journey as a reviewer or how would you identify


Just like book.

Abbey Campbell:
Reviewer, I suppose it's like a little side gig that

I don't I don't necessarily get paid.

I just get sent a book sometimes and then I review


Isaac Cook:
Yeah, nice. Well, you get paid in the enjoyment of

reading, so there you go.

Heck yeah. But thank you so much, Abby, for for

joining us today. It was a real pleasure.

Cyn Sweeney:
The last episode of the season is will be coming up

next in a few weeks and then we'll be breaking for

the summer. So don't know, maybe if any of you do

pick up some of these books that Abby's recommended.

We would love to hear from you in September on what

you thought.

That's all the time we have today, folks.

Thank you for joining us for another episode of Hey,


Isaac Cook:
The conversation doesn't have to stop here, though.

If. You would like to get in touch with us to ask us

a question or share your story on a future episode,

you can email us at Connect at Simply Good Form dot

com or visit us on our website at Hey, Cis!

dot com.