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
GenreLgbt, Young Adult, Poetry, Romance, Contemporary

Reviews Vanilla

  • Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his)
    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 So, this book is currently unpublished, however, I don’t have an author or publisher to thank.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 ...
  • Evil Little Chocolate Chip
    Second book of 2018, second one-star review of 2018! We're off to a great start.A one-star rating typically means one of two things: either the book was not for me or the book sucked.Vanilla was not for me.And it also happens to suck.Before I get to my actual review, I would like to clear something up. With countless negative reviews calling out the aphobia, why, pray tell, did I decide to read this? For one, I was just damn curious. This review ...
  • Bárbara
    This was not an easy book for me to read. First of all, it was really, really hard for me to get into it at first- to the point where I DNF-ed initially, picking it up only after about three months. I'd been toying with the idea of picking it back up for a few days before I actually plucked up the courage to do it. It was tiresome at first, a chore. I didn't care for the characters, I wasn't invested in the story, everything seemed bleak and awfu...
  • 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 ...
  • Jennifer
    Full disclosure: I initially picked up this book because of the beautiful cover. I’m so glad that I did, because it was such an interesting read. It’s told in verse, from multiple perspectives, and the primary focus is a young gay couple experiencing some growing pains in their long-term relationship. Loved the perspective I gained in reading about Vanilla, Hunter, and their friends... and I also loved how often I saw aspects of my own experi...
  • ✒ Noora
    loved this book. it played with my emotions and i loved itas for the "its aphobic" comments, all i can say it that they literally, LITERALLY, judged the book by its cover. this is an amazing book that shines a light on asexuality and gender fluidity in ways I've never seen before. I'm very glad i read this and if you're interested in some one-shot lgbtq+ lit, this is a good one.
  • 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...
  • Jeninne
    My goal this year, in absolute honesty, is to try and step out of my comfort zone. I'm a predictable reader. I like YA, I like Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Classics, and I like nonfiction. I tend to not stray out of what I like, and I think overall that hurts me as being a comprehensive reader. So I decided I was going to give this book a try. Written in prose that resembles poetry more than any kind of traditional narrative structure, I thought hey, if I lik...
  • Galaxy
    The only sound in the room is the monotonous hum of the computer cart. Everyone’s head is stuck in their books or doing homework. The room is stuffy like usual with wisps of outside air cutting through the classroom. I turn the page, mad, but wanting to read more. I feel a tap on my shoulder from behind. I turn around and the kid who taps my shoulder speaks.“What happened in Vanilla now?” they say. This has been the 5th time in six minutes ...
  • 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 Gunderman
    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...
  • 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 ...
  • Caro 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...
  • zapkode
    {My thoughts} – When I started reading this book I walked into it with a sort of expectation. I assumed it would be mushy and I probably would have zero interest in finishing it. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. It did take me until halfway through the book to want to find out the outcome though. A warning that it truly has a slow build up.Vanilla and Hunter have been friend since Middle School. They’d been exploring their sexual i...
  • Brandon Will
    Being bi, I've experienced that certain disgust that comes from reading a representation that's offensive at best and always falling somewhere on the scale of adding to the misconceptions that harm members of the bi community through isolation, mental trauma, and sometimes physical harm. I'm not ace, so could not read this book on that level. There are plenty reviewers here who are, and offer a range of views on why one should or shouldn't read t...