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Author: Mike Curato (Author, Illustrator)

Award-winning author and artist Mike Curato draws on his own experiences in Flamer, his debut graphic novel, telling a difficult story with humor, compassion, and love.

I know I’m not gay. Gay boys like other boys. I hate boys. They’re mean, and scary, and they’re always destroying something or saying something dumb or both.

I hate that word. Gay. It makes me feel . . . unsafe.

It's the summer between middle school and high school, and Aiden Navarro is away at camp. Everyone's going through changes―but for Aiden, the stakes feel higher. As he navigates friendships, deals with bullies, and spends time with Elias (a boy he can't stop thinking about), he finds himself on a path of self-discovery and acceptance.

Author Q&A

You've shared that FLAMER is a personal story for you. Can you talk a bit about the inspiration and how important it was for you to tell this story?

When I was a kid, I didn't see anyone like me in books or on screens. I was relentlessly bullied just for being who I was, which was short, chubby, half Asian, effeminate, and clueless. And while I maintain that I've always been queer, I didn't understand what that even meant back then. I just knew I was OTHER, all the time. It was hard being torn down by people because of the things that brought me joy. I was also devoutly Catholic, and I wanted to be a good person more than anything. But, if what others said about me was true, it meant I was going to hell. Meanwhile, scouting provided a lot of opportunities for me to build my self-confidence and make some guy friends. Summer camp in particular was a liberating experience, and always proved to be the highlight of my year. Flamer is both an homage and examination of everything I went through as a teenager: fear, joy, self-hatred, self-discovery; and it is told via the medium that saved me as a reader when I was that age: comics.

FLAMER shines a light on bullying and its potentially devastating consequences for LGBTQ+ youth. Why do you think it’s important to turn these topics into a graphic novel for young people?

Often those who are bullied don't fit into typical social circles. Sometimes they’re loners who don't have anyone to share their experiences with, and no one to turn to for advice or understanding. Having books in which they can see themselves reminds them they have a right to exist and take up space in this world. It's important to have a book in which you, the outsider, finally feel centered.

What do you hope readers will learn or take away from FLAMER?

I want queer/questioning readers to know they are loved. Loving yourself can be hard, so if this book can step in and say "but I love you," that could be a source of hope. We need more queer stories told by queer voices. I also want non-queer identified people to get a taste of what it's like to be marginalized. I hope Flamer brings people closer together, and closer to themselves.

Stock: Only 1 unit left Out of stock


Publisher:Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publish Date:Sept. 1 2020
Edition:Illustrated edition
Author:Mike Curato (Author, Illustrator)
Amazon Breadcrumb:Comics & Graphic Novels

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