Vanilla by Billy Merrell


A bold, groundbreaking novel about coming out, coming into your own, and coming apart. Hunter and Van become boyfriends before they're even teenagers, and stay a couple even when adolescence intervenes. But in high school, conflict arises -- mostly because Hunter is much more comfortable with the sex part of sexual identity. As the two boys start to realize that loving someone doesn't guarantee they will always be with you, they find out more abo...

Details Vanilla

Release DateOct 10th, 2017
GenreGlbt, Young Adult, Poetry, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction

Reviews Vanilla

  • Caidyn (BW Book Reviews)
    This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.DNF at 9%Hedwig disapproves.I’m reviewing this book so quickly after DNFing because I want it off of my currently reading shelf. I don’t want it there and I’m getting rid of it as fast as possible. So, this book is currently unpublished, however, I don’t have an author or publisher to thank. I was sent this book by a blogger who read it, found it aphobic, and now her review got blaste...
  • Michelle Schultze
    Hi, I'm Michelle, an teenaged asexual girl, who's struggling with being so.Asexuality is the state of being unable to feel sexual attraction. It is not a choice (which is the most frustrating thing about it). It can be quite difficult for one to know if they're asexual, due mainly to the lack of ace representation in today's media. I thought something was wrong with me for the longest time. While my friends talked about turn-ons, abs, body parts,...
  • Ariel
    I'm not the best at writing reviews but I can say honestly that this book was incredibly moving. As someone who identifies as asexual, I remember being constantly confused on why I wasn't feeling what everyone else seemed to. Finally finding a label -- which I know isn't necessary for everyone but that I wanted desperately -- was like reaching a stage of clarity I'd been grasping for since I was 14. 'Vanilla' evoked all these same feelings in me ...
  • Stacy Fetters
    "How can you do that to a person, fill them so up with love that they're full. And then let them go?" I absolutely adore books that are written in verse. It makes you appreciate the flow and love that it brings into your life. A lot of people were talking about this book and it's one of the most anticipated books coming out in October. I had to get my hands on this. From the cover to the synopsis, I already knew that I was going to fall in love w...
  • Hazel (Stay Bookish)
    I received an unsolicited review copy of this book among several and because I felt like I owed the publisher at least one review for all the books they sent me that I wasn't interested in, I decided to check this one out simply because it was a verse novel.Now, I've heard beforehand that this book is problematic and as someone who identifies in the ace spectrum, I agree that it definitely is. But having this information before diving into this b...
  • Kate
    DNF. I love the beginning of this book. It captures youthful love very well. But once the pressure for sex on an ace character built up, I didn't want to read anymore. Seeing other reviews mentioning that the book gets worse from there in terms of ace-phobic plot and language, I just decided to cherish the beginning of the book and back away.
  • Kelly
    Check out this, other reviews, and fun bookish things on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!Boy this is a hard review to write. Vanilla has been getting a bit of backlash from the book community lately, and I wasn't sure why - I mean, don't get me wrong, the book isn't perfect, but as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I can't say that I was incredibly offended by it as others were. I'm in no way invalidating their opinions on the b...
  • Melissa
    Many YA authors are tackling the issues, emotions, and journeys of teens as they discover their identity but asexuality is still rare in any character, let alone a protagonist. I was excited, nay, thrilled to hear there would be representation in the form of an ace teenager who is still figuring himself out with bumps in road, as with any LGBT+ experience. Overall, I hoped it could lead to a inspiring moment for readers who had never had someone ...
  • Cristina
    Vanilla is the story about a senior high school boy discovering that what the gayness that has always been a major aspect of his character has become multifaceted. It takes him an agonizingly long time to realize why he panics and stresses whenever his boyfriend Hunter wants to have sex--he's ace without the terminology. As someone who doesn't quite know where she is on that spectrum, it was refreshing to read this. Hunter is a hard character to ...
  • Carolina Herrera
    This is the first verse novel I've read, and I have to say I loved it. I hadn't read poetry in a while so I was a little uncertain how I would feel about this. I'm so happy I decided to give it a try.The characters were very raw, honest, and flawed, something I always appreciate in a novel. There were no perfect people, no saying the right things or even thinking the right things at all the right times. Vanilla struggles with understanding his se...
  • Samantha Lizzio
    This LGBTQIA+ YA novel flourishes with its beautiful poetry and lyricism. It really hit me hard in the heart! Its portrayal of the ups and downs of a long-term relationship between two gay teenagers is captivating in its language and story. I empathized with Vanilla and Hunter's pain and felt their happiness. Vanilla made me even more depressed that I'm single but also fueled my desire for love as profound as theirs. I appreciated the author's in...
  • Kevin
    Many people are saying this book is aphobic, and I have to say that I couldn't disagree more. I just finished this book today and found it to be powerful, evocative, and frankly quite good. I'd love to chat one on one with people who have actually read this novel and still find it aphobic, because while I don't doubt the genuine emotion behind the #ownvoices review I have trouble thinking that they were paying much attention to the text. I'm goin...
  • Vince Avila
    Vanilla is the fourth or fifth book that I have read that was written in verse and I enjoyed it more than the others. I liked the relationships that the characters have with each other. I thought it was a good story that dealt with a lot of diverse subjects. I know that a lot of readers DNF or say they will not read because it is ace-phobic and I don’t think that is the case at all. I have read reviews and talked to some people that identify as...
  • Bickering Book Reviews
    for a more in-depth review watch: interesting and well written look at asexuality and gender fluidity.
  • Enio
    Maybe I'm a little bias because I love the author, but this is one of the greatest LGBTQ-themed novels I've ever read that kept me completely engrossed and stayed with me long after I had finished it.
  • Nisha
    This book have lot of emotion. The essence of relationship is well define.....appreciate the author for writing such a beautiful story. Thank you
  • Rose Marie
    *EDIT FROM 6.28.17* I would like to add some very important points that were recently brought to my attention from some own voices reviewers. there are alot of very harmful aspects in this book. lots of aphobia, rape culture, and harmful remarks/actions. with fear of sounding ignorant or insensitive all I can really say is these parts were not completely lost on me and I didn't notice until the other day that I forgot to mention the harmfulness. ...
  • Barbara
    Love is complicated even for a long-time couple such as Hunter and Vanilla. The two have been friends and romantically entangled since their seventh grade year, and everyone around them is sure that their love is here to stay. And it is, oh, how it is! They spend many happy hours together, dreaming of the future, and becoming closer--until suddenly it seems that they are moving in two different directions. Hunter wants to take their physical rela...
  • Sarah
    This novel in verse describes the relationship between Vanilla and Hunter. These two guys went from being best friends to boyfriends. It has come to the point in their relationship and lives where sex becomes a hot topic of conversation. Hunter really wants to take their relationship to the next level, while Vanilla isn't quite so sure. This novel is about Vanilla's progression to his own identity, working in issues of homosexuality, asexuality a...
  • Alicia
    Hmm, not too into this title and then I came on to read some reviews, including links to other reviews from #ownvoices reviewers and confirmed some of my suspicions that I couldn't put my finger on. I certainly have learned from these reviews about aphobia, though I had a problem with the relationships between the characters and the lackluster use of verse. Had it been tighter and edited, there was some potential in that, but then there was the w...
  • Jakey
    This is not poetry; this is trash!