future leaders of nowhere

I was kindly provided Future Leaders of Nowhere by Netgalley. All of the opinions expressed are my own.

Finn and Willa have been picked as team leaders in the future leader camp game. The usually confident Finn doesn’t know what’s throwing her more, the fact she’s leading a team of highly unenthusiastic overachievers or coming up against fierce, competitive Willa. And Willa doesn’t know which is harder, leaving her responsibilities behind to pursue her goals or opening up to someone.

Soon they both realise that the hardest thing of all is balancing their clashing ideals with their unexpected connection. And finding a way to win, of course.

Future Leaders of Nowhere is a sweet YA novel written by Australian author Emily O’Beirne. Featuring a F/F inter-racial romance, this is an adorable summer romance that made me squee, hard. Finn and Willa are both great characters – their personalities are clearly drawn, and they both have their own individual backstories that added a certain realism to their interactions.

Unfortunately, the writing wasn’t great. Emily O’Beirne is clearly still a debut writer, and although the characters were sweet, the plot and pace was just a bit…rocky. The chapters were very short, and they kept jumping over key points which I would’ve liked to have seen. The novel is also split in exactly half between Willa and Finn’s point-of-view. If O’Berine was going to do this, I wish that she could have gone back and forth between their two characters, as she does right at the end.

There is also a mention of bisexuality on page, which still makes me very excited! However, I wasn’t totally happy with how O’Beirne defined bisexuality:

Look, I’m perfectly happy to help you out with difficult concepts. Like that time I explained anaerobic respiration to you, but I do not have the time or energy to explain really basic stuff. Especially when the meaning is in the actual world. Bisexuality. Hear that? Bi.

This really makes bisexuality sound transphobic, especially because Finn is explicitly talking about men and women. I understand the want to get away from making this an issue novel, but a little bit of an explanation would have been great, in my opinion.

Finally, there is a sequel coming out – All the Ways to Here – which I might read if it is available on NetGalley. I think that the story could be more interesting when we are seeing Finn and Willa’s real life problems, rather than talking about them in the abstract. Also, I think being back in the real world will make their relationship and characterisation more interesting.

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9 thoughts on “future leaders of nowhere

  1. Sarah says:

    A lot of people do describe bisexuality as “attraction to same and other genders” so “two” does kind of make sense, but I also don’t know the context for that line aand there is a lot of cissexism/binarism when it comes to certain people talking about bisexuality, so I totally get you on that point! Bummer that the writing isn’t great because the story sounds cute, but understandable if it’s the author’s debut. Thanks for the review! 🙂

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    • whatthelog says:

      Yeah, I’m bisexual and that’s basically how I define it 🙂 There’s so many misconceptions about being bi – I was hoping the author would smash a couple of those.I’m hoping that the next novel will allow her to do that! Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dina says:

    Sounds like a cute story, and I am so happy that it has an interracial couple. Hopefully, the author will be able to create more nuanced explorations of terms used to describe one’s sexuality next time.

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  3. justanotherloststudent says:

    I wrote a whole massive reply and then my browser crashed. Boo. In a quick summary:

    – It’s sad that this book doesn’t seem well-written because it has a super cool title and sounds like a really cute book. I don’t think I could read it though if it’s not well-written as I always end up getting distracted by how badly written something is.

    – On the topic of bisexuality. The term bisexuality is not inherently transphobic, nor is the writers definition of it. The term bisexuality does literally mean ‘two’, but is not exclusively reserved for cis men and cis women. It can be used to express attraction solely to two genders, for example women and NB people, etc. In the case that it was all genders or more than two it would usually be pansexual (or some other variation of), or in some instances bisexuality is still used by some to denote attraction to multiple genders. I, personally, do not find anything wrong with the way that the author has written that section. As a bisexual trans person, I would really urge people to err on the side of caution when using the term transphobic (particularly in regards to other people’s identity) as it is usually used to take issue with something that trans people often have no issue with themselves.

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    • whatthelog says:

      Annoying!!!

      That’s absolutely fair – thank you for making that observation. I need to stop assuming that the ‘two’ will be cis men and women, and for that I apologise. I think what I should have said is that there are so many misconceptions about bisexuality, that I feel like a lack of explanation could accidentally further these. When I’ve got access to a computer I’m going to edit the post to say that I find that passage problematic rather than transphobic.
      I’m bisexual too, and I define bisexuality as attraction to people of a similar gender identity, and to people of different gender identities. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • justanotherloststudent says:

        Hey, that’s cool. I think I understood what you were getting at, I think sometimes it just needs to be reworded and explained a bit more in depth rather than just saying something is ‘transphobic’.

        Also yay bisexuality club

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  4. Grab the Lapels says:

    It sounds like this book did a lot of telling instead of showing, which I sometimes feel is a big problem in YA. I’m not sure if writers feel like young adults aren’t mature enough to get imagery and metaphors and make something of them?

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