Fans of queer YA romance should adore Steven Salvatore's second novel, the pitch perfect And They Lived. College freshman Chase is certain he will meet a cute boy on campus and become the next great Disney animator. At first, things seem promising: he befriends dreamy poet Jack and thrives in his animation class. Soon enough, though, Chase's idealized vision begins to crumble. His disordered eating and body dysmorphia creep back, and he is unsure about his gender identity and what pronouns feel best. Chase's animation class project, a gay twist on a fairy-tale trope, is woven throughout the narrative and parallels his own romantic heartache.
The book's realistic fast-paced banter, a lovable cast of LGBTQ+ characters and an achingly relatable fairy tale-inspired journey will likely leave a lasting impression. --Kieran Slattery, freelance reviewer, teacher, co-creator of Gender Inclusive Classrooms