This book is written completely in a series of emails and text messages between best friends Gen & Ava who are now living in different cities, pursuing jobs, after having been friends since high school. TW: Employee/employer relationship, gaslighting, mild sexual content, threats against the government, badmouthing of a religious organization, and homoerotic ideations.
Genevieve (Gen) is living in Florida. She self-identifies as Queer (yesss LGBT+ rep) and is a journalist a paper and her big story is about a church-run homeless shelter that claims to be a home for all* but is not. [*all meaning: non-LGBT+ persons. If you are in said category, you must agree to undergo (what is basically) conversion therapy to be eligible for shelter. ]
Ava is in New York. She is interning at a television show and she kind of hates it a little but it’s still enjoyable? Ava has depression and anxiety and seeks therapy part way through the story (again, pockets for mental health rep!)
Ava starts a relationship with the boss of the interns (of which she is one) and contracts herpes from him. After confronting him, she then decides to disclose this information to his new flavor-of-the-week so that the new girl can know because HE DIDN’T TELL AVA. SHE DIDN’T KNOW. HE KNEW HE HAD HERPES AND DIDN’T DISCLOSE! Ava and her roommate Dana then decide to start a YouTube channel and the first video is Ava talking about contracting herpes and ways to engage in safer sex practices and protect oneself (P O C K E T S. down w/slut-shaming, up w/education).
Gen tried to force a character to come to terms with their sexuality when they maybe weren’t ready or didn’t necessarily agree with it. She also catfished a whole person so that’s a thing.
Also, general point here, the Open Doors ministry. It’s a homeless shelter, ran by Gen’s local Methodist church and they don’t allow LGBT+ persons to receive the free shelter unless they agree to (what basically amounts to) conversion therapy. While I am not Methodist, I am Christian so this one kinda hurt a little bit. Yes, I know that religious groups think this way, but the fact that Gen is more or less on a vendetta against this one organization — without researching the REST of the organization’s beliefs/policies……bad form. Ava’s own good intentions came to bite her more than once. But Gen was always there with ice and a bandaid so it’s cool.
This book was cute and quirky and fun! I’ve never read a book that was told completely in text messages and email exchanges. It was an interesting change from a traditionally written book. Ava and Gen are all of us and none of us. I’m 24 in my 6th year of undergrad. I have been in Gen’s situation where I didn’t have the money for school, and I HAVE to get this job because it’s the difference between food and none. I’ve also been on Ava’s side: my parents are very supportive and help me in anyway they can…but I also have a strong desire to succeed coupled with anxiety. I loved this book. I was so pissed at Ben and I was totally on Gen’s side when she offered to fly out and string Ben up. We all need a Gen in our lives. We also need an Ava to help us make sane decisions and recognize our faults.
I was provided with this eARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley. I am deeply thankful for their generosity. Please Send Help is the second novel by writing duo Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin. This book releases July 16, 2019.