Crystal's House of Queers

Fiction - LGBTQ
332 Pages
Reviewed on 05/07/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jose Cornelio for Readers' Favorite

Crystal’s House of Queers by Brooke Skipstone is a sweeping and passionate romance with strong gay themes, following compelling characters. It is the second time that Crystal Rose wakes up drenched in sweat after dreaming of having sex with Haley Carson, a girl with whom she has previously had a thing. At school, Haley is assaulted by her abusive boyfriend and Crystal comes to her rescue. They renew a love that has been kept hidden in the past, and this time, with the help of Payton Reed, they are ready to face life and anyone who may stand in the way, including Crystal’s addicted parents. Follow these characters on a rollicking ride to transform Crystal’s home into a haven where they can be free to do what they want — free to be themselves and to love.

The setting is well-written in the small town of Clear, Alaska, and the author does a wonderful job of capturing elements of the weather, the locale, and social realities like the strain of the Covid pandemic. It is a small town in which many people think that Covid is a hoax, a reality that still persists in many small towns. The characters are well-written and the author explores their personalities and their qualities in depth. For instance, Crystal has a great gift for drawing and it is intelligently communicated in the novel. The world-building is excellently accomplished. The plot builds up with emotional intensity, and the characters develop throughout the story to a point where they realize it is time to override the prejudices of society, a time to fight: “Because we love.” This is an immersive narrative with a tense plot and characters that swept me away. Brooke Skipstone’s exploration of character and her gift for atmospheric writing are elements that augment the entertainment quality of this emotive and engaging tale.

Ruffina Oserio

Crystal's House of Queers by Brooke Skipstone is an interesting story that will appeal to fans of LGBTQ, a tale that features sophisticated female characters. Crystal Rose still dreams of sex with Haley Carson. At school, she intervenes to defend Haley from the violence of her abusive boyfriend. They had loved each other before, a love that was considered illicit at the time, but after this incident, their connection and love grow stronger as they move back into each other’s arms. But will Crystal’s parents accept this love? Well, Payton Reed may have an answer to defend Crystal and Haley from anyone who is riled at seeing gay love blossom.

This story is at once an intelligent homage to gay love and a startlingly original romance with a vividly described setting in the small town of Clear, Alaska. The characters are intelligently written, each with a history of past abuse, and that makes them genuinely flawed and believable. They have evolved as they explore each other and have decided to protect the fragile bond that society would, otherwise, break so easily. I found this book to be outrageously fun, frolicsome, and unbelievably tender. The author is never lacking in wit and she created characters that I still followed after turning the last page. While Crystal and Haley are humanely realistic and fleshed out, I loved the gutsy, out-going, and dare-devil character of Payton. Crystal's House of Queers has huge doses of humor, features dialogues that feel real, and plot points that are solidly imagined and executed with skill.

Christian Sia

Crystal Rose is a tomboy who has not moved on from Haley Carson. She still wakes up drenched in sweat after dreaming of having sex with Haley. In school, she finds Haley’s boyfriend molesting her and she comes to Haley's rescue. Haley feels safer around Crystal as they rekindle an old flame, but they see a threat in Crystal’s drug-using parents who might be returning home after fourteen years. While their love is still fragile, it might not survive the storms ahead, which is why they seek the help of Payton Reed, who will stand by them through thick and thin. Follow these characters as they transform Crystal’s home into a safe place for gay lovers.

There are many things to love in Brooke Skipstone’s Crystal's House of Queers and the first thing that grabbed my attention is the author’s great storytelling skill. The author has a gift of writing dialogues that are perfect and flow naturally, and it is interesting how these dialogues move the story forward while exploring and deepening characterization. The social life of the characters is well-portrayed in the narrative and the setting in a Covid-infested world is strikingly relevant and real. The characters are well-developed, fully drawn, and sophisticated, and I enjoyed the ambiance in Crystal’s home and the boisterous nature of the characters.

Crystal's House of Queers has good pacing and Brooke Skipstone comes across as a real entertainer. This is not just an engaging romance with coming-of-age themes but a swashbuckling adventure that is irresistible to fans of LGBTQ literature. It is bold and well-plotted and has a compelling relevance to our time and culture. One of those books I raced through and would pick up again, thanks to the lively narrative voice and the character depth.

Rabia Tanveer

Crystal's House of Queers by Brooke Skipstone is a coming-of-age story of young women who struggle with their sexuality and how the world perceives them. Living in rural Alaska, Crystal had no idea her sexual orientation would cause this much of an impact on her life. Her long-standing crush on the pretty Haley is a constant companion during the day and in her dreams as well. However, things between them change when Crystal saves Haley from her abusive boyfriend. Although the sparks fly between the two, Crystal's personal life is not going well. With both of her grandparents fighting COVID and her deadbeat parents making a comeback in her life, exploring her sexuality is not the best course of action for her. However, meeting the charismatic and fearless Payton is just the right nudge for both Crystal and Haley to be out and proud and help others like them feel the same.

Crystal's House of Queers is such an empowering and entertaining novel. Crystal, Haley, and Payton all prove to be strong characters with incredible characteristics and flaws that make them undeniably human. They all have an air of vulnerability around them, even if they try to be strong. The narrative is perfect for reflecting the chaos that goes on inside their brains. Crystal is a smart girl, and she knows she needs to be strong if she wants to survive the critical and almost cruel townsfolk. Her personal life and troubles are a good incentive for her to do better for herself and other gay kids like Haley and Payton. The narrative lays the perfect foundation for all girls to grow and mature. The author gives us the right amount of emotions to keep the story real and exciting. I loved every single moment of it.