Pulp
In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself—and Marie—to a danger all too real.Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity.In this novel told in dual narratives, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley weaves together the lives of two young women connected across generations through the power of words. A stunning story of bravery, love, how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go.

Pulp Details

TitlePulp
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 13th, 2018
PublisherHarlequin Teen
ISBN-139781488095276
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Lgbt, Fiction

Pulp Review

  • Em (RunawayWithDreamthieves)
    January 1, 1970
    It is with such a heavy heart that I must announce that I'm feeling sapped of any motivation to read this book so I'm calling it a DNF at 65%.I just really no longer want to force things. What flows, flows. What crashes, crashes. I only have enough space and energy for things that manage to seize my interest in a tight grip. Sadly, it wasn't all too difficult to squirm out of Pulp's grasp. With that being said, I think this is a Your Mileage May Vary kind of book, so all I can do is tell you wha It is with such a heavy heart that I must announce that I'm feeling sapped of any motivation to read this book so I'm calling it a DNF at 65%.I just really no longer want to force things. What flows, flows. What crashes, crashes. I only have enough space and energy for things that manage to seize my interest in a tight grip. Sadly, it wasn't all too difficult to squirm out of Pulp's grasp. With that being said, I think this is a Your Mileage May Vary kind of book, so all I can do is tell you what I felt and why. My initial excitment at Pulp's premise (a queer historical fiction that's “a celebration of 1950s lesbian pulp fiction”) quickly dissolved in a haze of total indifference within the few first chapters. I couldn't fully immerse myself in the story due to its slow build, lack of major plot movement and insufficience in characterization, its struggle to carry an onerously large web of interpersonal relationships and long, lonely stretches of thin motivations and unintriguing narrative details. The concept of stories within stories usually appeals to me but I found this book uneven in its pacing and structure, and the plot meanders between four different storylines making it hard to keep track of all four, and even more laborious to care. This all sort of bogged down the otherwise marvelous parts of the story: the parrallel lesbian love stories that are 62 years apart, how this book irradiates some important LGBTQ+ history, and how it illuminates the importance of representation and diversity in the media we consume.I don't think it's a bad book at all. I just wish I was all-consumingly passionate about it.❗️TRIGGER WARNINGS❗️ suicide, racial slurs (which I frankly don't think a white author should freely use).BLOG | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | TUMBLRbro-read with Mel!
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    It pains me to rate this so low, and infact I wasn't going to rate it at all, particularly because I thought this might be close to a four star read for the first hundred pages. But then there was another three hundred pages to get through..The premise around this queer, mirrored storyline, that bounces between the fifties and present day, with two lesbian MCs, dealing with very different but also some very similar situations, sounded brilliant. Throw in some relevant topics, some gritty awful t It pains me to rate this so low, and infact I wasn't going to rate it at all, particularly because I thought this might be close to a four star read for the first hundred pages. But then there was another three hundred pages to get through..The premise around this queer, mirrored storyline, that bounces between the fifties and present day, with two lesbian MCs, dealing with very different but also some very similar situations, sounded brilliant. Throw in some relevant topics, some gritty awful true-to-life events from our own recent past, and stories within stories about stories.. it should've been an easy thing to love. But the present day protagonist was a bit of a frustration, I got tired of the constant repetition (probably about a hundred pages could've been cut), and the only thing that kept me going was an unexpected plot twist slash mystery that I wanted to see through to the end.Talley has a great hook and a great idea, and both are very well written, that I think just loses traction as it tries to include one too many conflicts or situations. The history was fascinating, and horrible, and I learned so much. I'm very thankful for that experience. I just wish I could've been educated and entertained, too. ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    hey guys I don't know if you know this but I love queer historical fiction
  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    In 2017, Abby Zimet is struggling. Things are tough at home--her parents can barely stand to be in the same room together. Plus, Abby and her girlfriend, Linh, broke up in June. Abby thought it would only be temporary, but now school has started, and here they are: still friends, still broken up. Abby can't seem to concentrate on school or her senior project. That is until she discovers 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. In particular, a book called "Women of the Twilight Realm." Abby becomes obsessed In 2017, Abby Zimet is struggling. Things are tough at home--her parents can barely stand to be in the same room together. Plus, Abby and her girlfriend, Linh, broke up in June. Abby thought it would only be temporary, but now school has started, and here they are: still friends, still broken up. Abby can't seem to concentrate on school or her senior project. That is until she discovers 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. In particular, a book called "Women of the Twilight Realm." Abby becomes obsessed with the author, who wrote under the name Marian Love. If Abby can somehow track down Marian, maybe life won't be so bad after all. Cut to 1955, where eighteen-year-old Janet Jones is in love with her best friend, Marie. It's a huge secret: one that could destroy their lives and that of their families. Marie is trying to get her security clearance with the State Department, after all. But when Janet finds a book at the bus station by an author called Dolores Wood, which features women falling in love with women, she starts to realize she isn't alone. And Janet, an aspiring writer, begins to wonder if there's more out there than the life that's always been planned for her. "Janet had never understood, not until she turned the thin brown pages of Dolores Wood's novel, that other girls might feel the way she did. That a world existed outside the one she'd always known." I loved this book so incredibly much that I can't even really explain it. It was captivating and beautiful and tragic and just appealed to me on so many levels. I have always been interested in lesbian pulp fiction since doing a project on it for a Queer Studies class in college, so it was so fascinating to read about Abby's research within the pages of this novel. Talley effortlessly weaves so many narratives within this one that it sort of leaves you breathless at times. We have Abby's narrative, Janet's narrative, and then excerpts from the book by Marian Love that Abby grows to love so much, "Women of the Twilight Realm." The parallels are really striking between Abby and Janet, as each are discovering lesbian pulp fiction in their own era and using it to grow and learn about themselves. Even more, we see how much things have changed between the 1950s and 2017. It's horrifying to see what Janet (and the entire gay community) had to endure, and the book really serves to educate on how terrible things were then. While I knew bits and pieces about the Lavender Scare, its ties to our actual characters here really brings it home. I have to say, I just adored Janet. She seems so incredibly real, and I just fell for her and her incredible strength and bravery. I think she will remain one of my favorite characters in lesbian fiction (and all fiction) for all time. As for Abby, I really liked her too, although in some of her sections, I was more captivated by her research than her story. Still, she presents a poignant tale of a young bisexual trying to find herself, and I appreciated the diverse set of characters with whom she surrounds herself. Abby and her friends stand in stark contrast to Janet in their sexual freedoms, but, in many ways, they aren't so different at heart. "That was the best part of being in love. The way it set the rest of the world on mute." I just really really loved this book. It has so much of what I love--lesbians, diverse characters, passionate and realistic storylines, well-done research, literary references and ties. Reading Janet and Abby's stories took me back to a time when I wasn't yet out and when I had first come out--when the world wasn't yet so forgiving (not that it always is, but things were pretty different even 15+ years ago). I remember how much comfort books provided me, how wonderful it was to realize I wasn't alone in the world. I love how well this book shows that fact, and how the books-within-the book are almost their own characters. Overall, I can't recommend this one enough. It's just a beautiful, well-written story, and, to top it off, it's informative to boot. The characters are lovely, the story is amazing, and it really leaves you feeling a bit awed. Highly recommend. 4.5+ stars. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review (thank you!); it is available everywhere as of 11/13/2018. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+ ~ Instagram
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  • Faith Simon
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you sooooo much Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader edition of this title in exchange for an honest review. I'm just as obsessed with this book as Abby is obsessed with Women of the Twilight Realm. Seriously. This was my MOST anticipated 2018 read, and I'm so lucky and grateful to have gotten the opportunity to read it before it's released. This book by far exceeded my expectations, and from the moment I laid my eyes on it's synopsis, the highest expectations had already been set Thank you sooooo much Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader edition of this title in exchange for an honest review. I'm just as obsessed with this book as Abby is obsessed with Women of the Twilight Realm. Seriously. This was my MOST anticipated 2018 read, and I'm so lucky and grateful to have gotten the opportunity to read it before it's released. This book by far exceeded my expectations, and from the moment I laid my eyes on it's synopsis, the highest expectations had already been set in my mind. But this book turned out to be just as amazing as I imagined it would be. This book is about queer women, 1950s Lesbian pulp fiction, and growth and mourning. There is so much more here than the synopsis would have you believe. This book is brimming with character development. I can't even describe just how much I loved this book, but I can certainly make an attempt. We've got the main character, Abby, who's mourning the recent loss of her relationship with her "friend" Linh, as well as her unstable family dynamic and the clear tension and lack of presence of both of her parents. She one day discovers lesbian pulp fiction from the 1950s-1960s, and she is absolutely hooked on one book in particular, Women of the Twilight Realm by infamous author, Marian Love. Fuelled by so many other aspects of her life she cannot control, she begins an obsession with the book, and more importantly, with the author, who no amount of googling can dig up anything about. Marian Love has written nothing else since her first and only book, and Abby is determined to find out the real identity of Marian Love.Meanwhile, we've got a dual point of view with another character, Janet, who is a queer 18 year old in 1955, a time in which was extremely dangerous to be homosexual. Janet, too, finds solace and comfort in a lesbian pulp fiction novel she'd found at a local bus station, a book that showcases to her that there are other women just like her, she feels less alone knowing there are other women that feel the way she does, women who write stories of characters similar to her for all to read. Under pseudonyms, of course. Which is how Janet determines that she wants to write to the author of her favourite book, to let her know just how much her book his impacted her. After getting a letter back from her, she is encouraged to write a book of her own. And so that's exactly what Janet begins to do, with her father's typewriter, alone in the attic during the late hours of the morning. And so this is how the story intertwines Janet's story, Marian Love, and Abby's, dual points of view written in 1955, and one in 2017. The change of atmosphere between the two time periods is extremely present, we as readers get a look at just how drastically different it was living as a queer person in 1955 than it is in 2017. As usual, Robin Talley did her fair share of research for this novel, to bring a queer historical fiction to our eager hands once more. Thank you, Robin Talley, please never change. This book is full of culture reference, and I loved the presence of other queer identities, and not just lesbianism. It is increasingly important to be sure other queer voices are heard over the abundance of lesbian and gay voices who have steamrolled over trans, bi identities and the like for years, especially now that the demand for more diversity in novels is increasing. And I can see that this is acknowledged in this book, which I cannot begin to appreciate more than I do. The characters are a central part of this story, and every side character has a purpose and a personality, no character is out of place and barely any are not integral to the story overall, I really appreciated this. I liked that we were also treated to the trials of other characters besides Abby and Janet, and not only do the main characters go through changes and development throughout the story, but a lot of other characters do as well. (Except Janet's grandma, I'm not going to say I'm sad about how she ends up). There was just… so much to learn in this book. We got so much ample knowledge. It is also obviously unfortunate to read about how it was to be gay in the 1950s, and the necessary steps in order to be able to write lesbian fiction, now I see where the killing off gay characters trope comes from! It used to be the only way to be able to produce media revolving around queer people, tragedy had to strike, and in most cases the characters had to die, as referred to as "necessary resolutions." I like the way that love and loss is portrayed in this book. The big question seems to be if love is even real, and if it can survive. The theme explored throughout the book is mourning, and moving on. Change can be good, in some cases even life-saving. I love that most of the character development here revolves around changing life events, both characters have to deal with a life-shattering change of scenery, but both learn to grow and adapt towards it. I love the bigger, underlying message. This book was really enjoyable to read because of the many dynamics and themes explored, this book is so much more than what the synopsis entails. This is by far one of the best sapphic books I've ever had the pleasure of reading in my life. I'm so beyond grateful our world has adapted and changed for the better, for the most part. But it is still interesting and enlightening to read about what it was like years ago, even more so in a fictional sense. Think of all those who came before us, the lesbian pulp novels that were only allowed to be published at the promise of tragedy, the various people risking their lives every day just to live as their true selves, and be increasingly grateful that we are now able to read books like these with little consequence.
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  • mahana ✧
    January 1, 1970
    "This is still a harsh world we live in, but you're lucky you've found each other." ☆ review also on my blog ☆ Pulp is a book that will make you cry, clutch your heart, and scream all at once. Talley has once again blown me away with her meta-storytelling and exquisite character development. I can't wait for others to get their hands on this!When was the first time you felt seen in a book? How long did it take you to find a main character with the same identity or label as you? Which charact "This is still a harsh world we live in, but you're lucky you've found each other." ☆ review also on my blog ☆ Pulp is a book that will make you cry, clutch your heart, and scream all at once. Talley has once again blown me away with her meta-storytelling and exquisite character development. I can't wait for others to get their hands on this!When was the first time you felt seen in a book? How long did it take you to find a main character with the same identity or label as you? Which character made you realise that there were others out there just like you? That's what Pulp is about. Lesbians feeling seen for the first time through the literature they consume. It acknowledges the hardships that those in the 1950s had to endure while suggesting that we still have a long way to go in regards to inclusivity in 2018.I've never felt more acknowledged in a book. Talley truly hits the nail on the head with her social commentary about the experiences of sapphic individuals in two completely different eras. There's one line in the synopsis that I think encompasses this entire book: "A stunning story of bravery, love, how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go." I'm sure most of us can relate to reading a lesbian romance for the first time and seeing people like us depicted in a relationship. We're fortunate enough in this age to have mainly positive portrayals (though there are still some instances of detrimental tropes like bury your gays or fetishisation), but it's interesting to confront the experiences of those in the 1950s.2017: Abby has been reeling from her recent break up with her best friend and slow deterioration of her parent's relationship when she realises that she still hasn't chosen what to write for her senior thesis. One day, she's sitting in the senior lounge with her ex-girlfriend and they discover lesbian pulp fiction from the 50's. Upon acknowledging that Abby has nothing to show for her meeting with her supervisor, she decides to write her version of this pulp fiction. Except, Abby is going to turn the negative tropes (bury your gays, everyone was straight all along etc.) on their heads and research the mysterious identity of "Marian Love", who wrote one novel and subsequently disappeared.1955: Janet is visiting a bus stop when she notices a lesbian erotica novel on the shelf. After reading the book and feeling seen for the first time in her life, Janet writes to the author and thanks her for helping her realise that there were other girls who like girls in the world. When the author replies, she offers to help Janet write one of her own novels, who decides to base it off her experience with developing feelings for her best friend, Marie.I only have two complaints: the book was too long and there were some racial slurs that I don't think this white author should be using. I know this is a historical fiction novel that attempts to shed light on the experiences of African American lesbians in the 50's, but it's not the place of a white woman to tell (in my opinion). I know Talley has been under fire for doing this in other books, so hopefully, we can have the same commentary from an #ownvoices author in the future.Talley's writing isn't a stand out from the rest, but it is easy to follow. Despite being told in the third person, I felt a genuine connection with Abby and Janet, where their emotions and feelings were jumping off the page. Pulp also provides a statement on so many prevalent issues. As someone who is quite ignorant of the experiences of LGBT individuals throughout history, it was interesting to acknowledge the struggle they went through to get us where we are today. Being a lesbian in 1955 for Janet means always hiding. It means not being able to speak with the girl you're in love with because someone will report you to the government. It means finding literature with other lesbians represented in it and only ever reading tragic endings. We're also given a look at what it means to be an African American lesbian in 1955, where you can be a successful doctor saving lives, but the government won't let you sit in the same cafe as a white person. Flash forward to 2017, where our main character can do all of those things, but we still haven't reached inclusivity. Abby and her friends are activists that protest building the wall and the ban on immigration. They have the opportunity to speak out against their marginalisation now, except they still endure struggles for being a part of the LGBT+ community. For example, Abby's friend, Vanessa, explains to her parents that they prefer "they/them" pronouns relentlessly, but they refuse. This isn't a race to see who the most marginalised is, but it's important to acknowledge that we haven't reached the finish line yet.I fell in love with Janet and Abby at first sight. I knew this would be a phenomenal book as soon as I heard their voices. They're both distinct and the same at the exact time. I loved Janet and her ability to thrive, even in a time that tried so desperately to silence her. She's the definition of a brave and heroic main character. Abby is just an old soul. I sympathised with her so much. Whenever Abby cried, I cried. I completely understood her obsession with Marian Love and discovering the truth, especially when she got so attached to it and all of her friends were just writing it off as dumb. The respective journeys that these characters had to go through were inspiring to follow, especially with the bravery that each of them exemplified.This is a book you want to read slowly. You want to focus on each and every line to make sure you've fully absorbed the information. You pause at the end of each chapter and reflect what just happened to the characters. It's rare for me to tediously read books that I think are amazing because I want to finish it quickly, but I knew I needed to savour this one. Pulp has very long chapters that follow two different storylines so it can be difficult to remember each little detail that happens within each instalment.I can't find the words to summarise everything that I just said, but you can obviously tell that I loved this book. It's so rare to have a novel this powerful that invokes so many different emotions in it. I'd definitely recommend this if you're interested in F/F literature and want a unique, historical story that makes a statement. ARC kindly provided by Harlequin Teen in exchange for an honest review ☆ Twitter ☆ Blog
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  • E L E A N O R (bookishcourtier)
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 There is so much to love about this book, and I did really enjoy it and it did open up my eyes a lot, but some things fell a little flat for me. I think this is a really important book and I am so glad that such a diversely packed book is going out into the world. I hope you all read this when it comes out. And it is super cute as well! If you want to read a lighter contemporary still full of amazing representation which I believe is own-voices! There is also so much for any reader to love 3.75 There is so much to love about this book, and I did really enjoy it and it did open up my eyes a lot, but some things fell a little flat for me. I think this is a really important book and I am so glad that such a diversely packed book is going out into the world. I hope you all read this when it comes out. And it is super cute as well! If you want to read a lighter contemporary still full of amazing representation which I believe is own-voices! There is also so much for any reader to love in this book, so even with my criticism, this is still a really great book, and I still highly recommend it. I have read another book by this author - Lies We Tell Ourselves...and I definitely preferred that one. But anyway. This one is still good! T H O U G H T S - I absolutely ADORED the premise for this one. It is basically all to do with Lesbian pulp fiction in the 1950s, which I didn't even know was a thing? There are two threads to this story - one set in the 1950s, and the other in the present day, when Abby is majoring in Creative writing and is writing her own version of these lesbian pulp fiction, and reading the book of the character from the 1950s, while struggling with her own problems. So basically, this book is about girls who love girls, books, writing and authors. What more could you want in life? I found so much of it relatable, and I especially loved the writing element of it. - Okay, but I do think that the characters just needed a little more development. I started to see that more towards the end, but before that the two main characters were still a little one dimensional, and I felt that I never really got to know the side characters at all. I did lose interest a little towards the middle just because the characters were not very compelling. I definitely preferred Abby over Janet, mainly because Janet was so naïve and it kind of annoyed me sometimes? Like I understood, but it was still annoying . She did improve as the book went on, but, still.- I also found the writing a little cheesy in places? Like not cringy, just not that interesting. It was fine, but I really love to have interesting writing that makes something of every sentence. I think this was another of the factors that made my interest wane a little as I got to the middle of the book. For some reason I found it more cheesy in the '50s chapters, but, I mean, it wasn't terrible. It wasn't really a huge negative. Just something I picked up on. - The book was super slow in the first 60%. If it had been as good as the last 35-40% all the way through, I think my rating would have been a solid four stars. But nothing was really happening in the first half. The last half was actually really good and I was just starting to get into it when it ended. Janet's chapters became a lot more deep and interesting, and I do think that I could have grown to like her more. I wish we had started at a slightly later point in the book, and continued on in the characters' stories for a little longer. Overall I really enjoyed this book, and I really want everyone else to read it. Or read any of these authors books, because they all seem to have great diversity. There was other diversity in here aside from girl/girl romance - there was a non-binary character, and characters of different ethnicities. Again, I reiterate that I personally think that this is a really important book and I really hope that it goes places in this world. It deserves it. It has such a cool concept and I did really like it! I would definitely read more by Robin Talley. Arc receive via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*I've read a couple of Robin Talley's books and this one is hands down my favorite. It was so amazing! The characters were likable and interesting, the pacing of the story was excellent and I feel like I learned so much. Despite being queer myself, I feel like I don't know enough about queer history and this book was a really eye opening experience for me on that front.I've always known things aren't as good for queer *I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*I've read a couple of Robin Talley's books and this one is hands down my favorite. It was so amazing! The characters were likable and interesting, the pacing of the story was excellent and I feel like I learned so much. Despite being queer myself, I feel like I don't know enough about queer history and this book was a really eye opening experience for me on that front.I've always known things aren't as good for queer people as they are right now (and we still have a long way to go!), but reading about someone's life during a more repressive time really makes things more real. Especially when it's contrasted with modern life where it seems like most people are accepting and so many people are gay, queer, etc.Okay, enough of my queer history geek fest! Back to the story.The characters were fantastic! They really act like teenagers and think like teenagers. Abby really reminded me of myself a few years ago when I was eighteen and I loved seeing how she started to grow up in the story. The character development was really strong for both Abby and Janet. I also really liked Janet and how much she grew through the story.But what I loved most of all was the messages about love towards the end of the story. (This is where the spoilers come in!) The fact that Abby comes around to the fact that someone doesn't need to find a fairy tale romance to live a full and satisfying life just made this book for me. I almost cried. Honestly. It's such a good lesson and I'm so glad that YA books are finally getting around to teaching that being in love isn't the end all, be all.If you like queer books, history, and fabulous character development then this book is for you. Just be warned, you'll probably want to start learning a lot more about LGBT history in the USRating: 5 starsDo yourself a favor and read this book!my blog
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  • Emily (emilykatereads)
    January 1, 1970
    "As long as you had love, it didn't matter what else the world threw at you. You had something that mattered more." This book shows an incredible contrast between what it means to be queer today compared to being queer in the 1950s. The story follows the lives of Abby, a teenager from present day, and Janet, a teenager from the 50s. The two are connected through lesbian pulp fiction, and so we get two intertwining stories about the lives of each girl. This story just an incredible job at showing "As long as you had love, it didn't matter what else the world threw at you. You had something that mattered more." This book shows an incredible contrast between what it means to be queer today compared to being queer in the 1950s. The story follows the lives of Abby, a teenager from present day, and Janet, a teenager from the 50s. The two are connected through lesbian pulp fiction, and so we get two intertwining stories about the lives of each girl. This story just an incredible job at showing just how far we've progressed in less than one person's lifetime, but still shows us why we have to keep fighting. We also see different struggles of being a teenage in different generations, while we can relate to both characters. This book stood out to me in a huge way, because I could totally relate to Abby and how she was affected by her favourite book. Being a young queer girl and discovering books with characters you can fully relate to is an incredible experience, and I could understand the drive she had to learn more. The writing was easy to follow and hooked me in to each girl's life, really making it hard to stop reading at the end of a chapter. The dual perspectives were done really well, but I'll admit I did enjoy Janet's more, since it felt more constructed than Abby's. I didn't sympathize with her as much but I was hooked in her research and interested in the mystery element in her section. Talley did an amazing job with showing the past struggle of queer women. It was harsh, but it's important. This book, if anything, could've been a bit more powerful without as many characters and storylines all over the place, as we also get submersed into the different books within the story. It was a nice touch, but not always necessary, and without them it could've made the remaining story more impactful.Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange of an honest review!Review can also be found on my blog.
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.5 StarsTwo young women living in the nation's capital discover lesbian pulp fiction. Though their circumstances are quite different, they were both inspired by these books, which helped them gain a better understanding of themselves.• Pro: Talley expertly navigated the dual timelines, and the results were very successful. She achieved suspense, tension, and great impact via the story structure. • Pro: Abby's research grabbed me and kept me captivated. I wasn't completely clueless about Rating: 3.5 StarsTwo young women living in the nation's capital discover lesbian pulp fiction. Though their circumstances are quite different, they were both inspired by these books, which helped them gain a better understanding of themselves.• Pro: Talley expertly navigated the dual timelines, and the results were very successful. She achieved suspense, tension, and great impact via the story structure. • Pro: Abby's research grabbed me and kept me captivated. I wasn't completely clueless about the questionable things that went on during the 1950s, but I did learn quite a bit. • Pro: I hung on every word of Janet's story. It was so important for me, that she found happiness, and I shed tears for her, when I read of all the injustices and heartbreak she had to endure. • Con: That said, I did not feel as invested in Abby's part of the story. I felt like it wasn't focused, and I only seemed to care about her being successful with her research. • Pro: Books within books don't always work for me, but Talley deftly wove three different pulp fiction tales into this story. The excerpts were perfect and perfectly placed for impact and meaning. • Pro: There was something really awesome that happens at the end, which was nothing short of spectacular for me. I loved that Talley wrote the ending that way. Overall: An interesting and well executed look at one woman's struggle with identity, which shed a lot of light on LGBTQ history. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Parker Jensen
    January 1, 1970
    HOW HAD I NOT HEARD OF THIS???? I just got an ARC and I'm dropping all other reading plans to devour this! This sounds amazing!! I studied Lesbian Pulp fiction is past year in school and to see that iconic pulp author Ann Bannon loved this?? So exciting. I cant' wait!
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  • Kayleigh
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars.“Even more had read it and discovered, for the first time, that they weren’t the only non-straight people in the world. That there was a whole community out there. It was weird to think that being gay used to mean being that isolated, but it was exciting to think a book could be so important.”Pulp follows two different women in different eras, who have lives connected across generations. In 1955, eighteen year old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares for her best friend Marie a secret 4.5 stars.“Even more had read it and discovered, for the first time, that they weren’t the only non-straight people in the world. That there was a whole community out there. It was weird to think that being gay used to mean being that isolated, but it was exciting to think a book could be so important.”Pulp follows two different women in different eras, who have lives connected across generations. In 1955, eighteen year old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares for her best friend Marie a secret. It's not easy being gay in Washington D.C., especially in the age of McCarthyism, but when she finds a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in her. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself—and Marie—to a terrifying danger. Sixty two years later, Abby Zimet can't stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby's life are lost to the fictional desires and tragedies of the characters she's reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and is determined to track her down and find her true identity. Oh, I loved Pulp even more than I thought I was going to. This is the first book I've read by Robin Talley, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. It was a book that made me feel a lot of emotions, and I was far more connected to the characters than I thought I would be, which was wonderful. The writing was so engaging and easy to follow, and I really loved the third person—it ade the story a lot better to follow, especially considering the two narratives. “She knew pulp books had to have tragedy in them to get around the censors, but Abby had already read so many books and seen so many shows and movies where the gay characters wound up dead or distraught that the last thing she wanted to do was read about it again.”I connected with Abby and Janet almost instantly. I'm not a lesbian, but I am bisexual, so it was very easy to connect with their feelings and voices in this book. While they both had a lot of similarties, their voices were so distinct and fun to read about and fall into their respective worlds. It was so interesting to read about their journeys (especially Janet's, because she's from such a different time than the time I'm from), and to see how much their worlds were connected, despite the generation difference. On top of that, it was nice to see the differences in politics and what it means to be a marginalized person in 1955 vs 2017. I thought Talley did a great job at including those differences.I'm not a huge fan of dual narratives, but I really loved it in this book. It added so much to the story and to the overall effect, and made it even better than it would've been otherwise. My love for history probably plays a big role of why I loved having a narrative from 1955 so much, but it really did make for an even better story. As I said before, it was so engaging, and I think that has a lot to do with the characters and how developed and wonderful they all were. It was so easy to fall in love with them and get lost in each of their stories.Overall, Pulp was a fantastic, lovely read. There was so much history and wonderful characters and character development, and it was so well written. Despite the book being just a little too long for the story that was told, and I do think Janet's story should've been told by a black lesbian woman (since that's who Janet is), I'm definitely excited to read more from Robin Talley in the future. I also can't wait for this book to be released next month so everyone can read it.“This is still a harsh world we live in, but you’re lucky you’ve found each other.”ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Amy Bruestle
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate enough to have won this book from a giveaway a few weeks ago, and I am pleased to say that I absolutely LOVED it! The story was such a neat idea and I really enjoyed how each chapter went back and forth from two different time periods in such a clever way! The only thing that I noticed that needs correcting are a few minor errors within the text. Almost as if whoever typed it up went too fast. There were quite a few throughout the book that I stumbled upon, but each time I still I was fortunate enough to have won this book from a giveaway a few weeks ago, and I am pleased to say that I absolutely LOVED it! The story was such a neat idea and I really enjoyed how each chapter went back and forth from two different time periods in such a clever way! The only thing that I noticed that needs correcting are a few minor errors within the text. Almost as if whoever typed it up went too fast. There were quite a few throughout the book that I stumbled upon, but each time I still knew what the author was trying to say. So all in all, reading Pulp was a wonderful experience and I would absolutely recommend it to others!
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  • Sheri
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Robin Talley’s previous books and as soon as I read the synopsis for this I knew it was so far up my street that I was desperate to read it. A novel dealing with the lesbian pulps of the 1950s? Yes please! The genre was a fascinating one and with Robin Talley I knew it would be in safe hands.The books, with their lurid titles and covers, were marketed as titillation (many, though by no means all, were written by straight men and were pretty bad) but the better ones often meant a great de I loved Robin Talley’s previous books and as soon as I read the synopsis for this I knew it was so far up my street that I was desperate to read it. A novel dealing with the lesbian pulps of the 1950s? Yes please! The genre was a fascinating one and with Robin Talley I knew it would be in safe hands.The books, with their lurid titles and covers, were marketed as titillation (many, though by no means all, were written by straight men and were pretty bad) but the better ones often meant a great deal to women who discovered them and saw, perhaps for the first time, that they were not alone in their feelings. Unfortunately the “morality” of the time precluded happy endings for the lesbian characters, who almost invariably ended up dying or turning straight - exceptions were few and far between. A lot of the books referred to are real (including, believe it or not, Satan Was a Lesbian).Anyway, in the present day seventeen-year-old Abby, struggling after her breakup with girlfriend Linh and difficulties between her parents at home, discovers and is quickly captivated by the strange world of 1950s lesbian pulp novels, in particular one called Women of the Twilight Realm by the mysterious Marian Love, who apparently only published one novel and promptly disappeared. Abby becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Marian... Many years earlier in 1955, another young woman, Janet, is equally captivated by A Love So Strange, the novel she stumbled upon at a bus station bookstall, seeing in it a much-needed recognition of her own feelings for her friend Marie. But times are far more dangerous for Janet than for out-and-proud twenty-first-century Abby.The hysterically repressive political climate of the McCarthyist 1950s is very well evoked and it was fascinating (and terrifying) to read about the measures taken against anyone who was suspected of, well, anything, particularly anything communist-y or gay-y. At one point a female character comes under suspicion because “her voice is too low” - that’s the level of absurdity people were dealing with. Although clearly far too young to remember any of it, Robin Talley has definitely done her research (Senator Hunt was a real person for instance).There are lots of nods to real writers of that and other times - Bannon Press is clearly a reference to writer Ann, perhaps the best known of the lesbian pulp authors, and I felt Claire Singer’s name was a reference to the pseudonym under which Patricia Highsmith wrote The Price of Salt, Claire Morgan. (Also the Sheldon Lounge - Alice Sheldon?) I’m sure there were many I missed.I thought I knew where the plot was going in terms of what happened to Janet, but as it turned out, I was barking up an entirely wrong tree and the outcome was a big surprise. Let’s just say I did one character a major disservice.For me this book entirely lived up to its promise - I loved it.
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  • Tamara
    January 1, 1970
    "She hadn't needed a permanent, fairytale love to make it worth living. She was strong enough to be happy on her own terms." This wonderful novel about lesbians both now and in the 1950s is one of the most original and fascinating LGBTQ stories I've ever read. I cried and laughed and was just generally really damn emotional about this book. Thanks Robin.[Side note: I have no idea if this is a 4 or 5 star book for me but because I just can't decide I rounded up.]I was absolutely sucked into both "She hadn't needed a permanent, fairytale love to make it worth living. She was strong enough to be happy on her own terms." This wonderful novel about lesbians both now and in the 1950s is one of the most original and fascinating LGBTQ stories I've ever read. I cried and laughed and was just generally really damn emotional about this book. Thanks Robin.[Side note: I have no idea if this is a 4 or 5 star book for me but because I just can't decide I rounded up.]I was absolutely sucked into both Janet's and Abby's lives and I so desperately wanted to know if Abby figures her (love and everything else) life out and if Janet manages to be with Marie without endangering myself. Of course, nothing was solved easily. Both girls go through a lot and they develop so much over the course of this book.Pulp fiction - especially lesbian pulp fiction - is a very interesting topic and one I did not know a lot about. It is very obvious to see that Robin Talley researched this topic a great deal and Janet's life in the 50s feels exactly as vivid and real as Abby's in 2017. In parts, the novel slowed down a bit too much for my part and I sometimes wished it could be a bit more fast paced, all in all, I really enjoyed both plot and characters. The plot is enganging and original but especially Janet's story seems to be about things that really happened to a lot of people in the 20th century and I wasn't exactly aware of them I learned so much from this book.Abby and Janet are very believable characters with their own flaws and complications. Abby's relationships with friends and family were so relatable and Janet's naiveté amplified the differences between her upbringing and Abby's just so much. A lot has changed in the past few decades and this is obvious in very different and interesting ways in this book. I really liked how - as this story is told in alternating chapters by the two girls - the plot kind of flows together and each chapter reveals something about the past we don't know yet, even if it's Abby's turn. It made the story quite mysterious and I loved that.Pulp is a very interesting and fascinating book and it really shows how much changed since Janet's time (not everything 100% positive).I received a copy of this book via Harlequin Teen/Edelweiss.
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  • Maggie Needham
    January 1, 1970
    Cute af. I had no idea about the whole world of lesbian pulp novels. The casual protest culture that Abby lives in in DC is so relatable and 2017. Robin Talley writes the books I wish I'd had when I was 16 and I will continue to read all of them.
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Few books make me feel as giddy as I felt when I learned that Robin Talley penned a young adult novel set in the world of lesbian pulp fiction. Washington D.C. High School senior Abby Zimet struggles with a shaky home life, a complicated relationship with her ex-girl friend, and a nebulous future. When she stumbles across a lesbian pulp novel by Marian Love during research for a creative writing project, her thoughts become increasingly consumed by it and with finding the elusive woman behind th Few books make me feel as giddy as I felt when I learned that Robin Talley penned a young adult novel set in the world of lesbian pulp fiction. Washington D.C. High School senior Abby Zimet struggles with a shaky home life, a complicated relationship with her ex-girl friend, and a nebulous future. When she stumbles across a lesbian pulp novel by Marian Love during research for a creative writing project, her thoughts become increasingly consumed by it and with finding the elusive woman behind the story. Tracking down an author, especially a writer of 1950s lesbian fiction, is a near impossible task. Abby learns this lesson quickly: not everything is available online, but human connections remain a powerful channel. If you were a queer female author, you cloaked your identity behind a pseudonym. You didn't want to be found. Pulp shares the impact of lesbian pulp novels within the context of their time. Queer people were hunted out of government jobs, blacklisted from future employment, and exiled from families they were born into. Authors like Ann Bannon, who later revealed her identity as a pulp writer, wrote their first novels from dens of crumbling heteronormative domesticity.  Patricia Highsmith published The Price of Salt under the name "Claire Morgan", so as not to derail her nascent mainstream writing career.Told in parallel narratives, Pulp traces Janet Jones’ pivotal year in 1955 as a teenager in D.C., and Abby’s present-day travails and literary sleuthing. As the story builds, readers see more than just a chasm of differences between the modern teen’s openness with her family and friends as a lesbian, and Janet's furtive attempts at secrecy. Readers discover threads that not only connect the characters through time, but also reflects the continuity of history and social activism in our own lives. Robin Talley delivers an immersive and emotionally engaging novel that rewards repeat readers. Sprinkled throughout are Easter eggs for lesbian history enthusiasts and those eager to learn more about this period in our history. I believe that fiction can be a powerful draw in pulling readers of all ages into a deeper examination of historical events. Talley again creates a compelling story that intrigues and informs. I'll leave most of the trivia for you to discover when the book is released in November. Hint: Start with Abby Zimet's name.
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  • Hallie
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book – all opinions are my own.Pulp is a historical fiction and contemporary novel mashup. Told in two point of views, Robin Talley makes each main character come alive in alternating chapters. Abby is a high school senior in 2017 who is researching lesbian pulp novels and decides to write one of her own. Janet is a teen girl in 1955 who has just discovered lesbian pulp novels and finds out that there are other girls like her. Jan Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book – all opinions are my own.Pulp is a historical fiction and contemporary novel mashup. Told in two point of views, Robin Talley makes each main character come alive in alternating chapters. Abby is a high school senior in 2017 who is researching lesbian pulp novels and decides to write one of her own. Janet is a teen girl in 1955 who has just discovered lesbian pulp novels and finds out that there are other girls like her. Janet and Abby are both lesbian teens who have grown up in very different eras.This novel is an ode to those first, special books that change everything. Janet and Abby both find a lesbian pulp novel that they connect to and are inspired by. Talley beautifully captures the influence that books can have on their readers. When Janet discovers a lesbian pulp novel, it’s the first time she realizes that other women have the same feelings she has about her best friend, Marie. Janet is growing up during a time of paranoia and McCarthyism in the 1950s. Not only are possible communists being targeted, but anyone who seems potentially queer is fired, blacklisted, and shunned from the DC area where Janet lives. Janet has to hide her lesbian book and she definitely can’t tell anyone that she’s writing her own novel after getting a letter of encouragement from the author of her favorite book. Janet and Marie also must hide their relationship and face much heartache throughout the novel. However, Janet is so inspired by the tattered paperback novel she finds where two women have a possibility of being happy together that she decides to choose her own path.Decades later, Abby finds Janet’s long ago published lesbian pulp fiction novel and has an awakening of her own. Abby easily came out to her family years ago and she’s comfortable in her own skin. Abby is still trying to get over her best friend, Linh, breaking her heart and she finds comfort in Janet’s novel “Women of the Twilight Realm.” Abby becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Janet after the book was published. Abby is looking for any escape from her broken heart, fighting parents, and college applications for a future she is unsure about. After a lot of research, Abby starts writing her own novel that aims to overthrow the tropes that riddled the lesbian pulp genre. Abby is quick to point out that the original lesbian pulp novels seem to exist in an all-white world. Many of them were written by cis white men and the resolution usually included death or lesbian characters marrying men. Abby understands how isolating it was to be queer in the past. She’s had a very positive coming out experience and has a diverse group of friends who identify as queer and non-binary. While Abby hasn’t experienced the fear and shame that Janet felt, she knows that some of her friends still face struggles with acceptance.Talley excels at creating two realistic time periods and characters who shine within them. Readers will enjoy seeing the two stories collide. The heart of the story revolves around a love of books and how important they can be for readers coming of age. Pulp will make readers reflect on how LGBTQ+ literature has evolved throughout time. Janet feels so much fear when reading her favorite lesbian novel while Abby is very open about reading queer fiction. Talley, a favorite lesbian writer in the YA category, provides readers with the happy ending that Janet and Abby yearned for in their own favorite lesbian novels.
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  • PinkAmy loves 💕 books📖, cats😻 and naps🛏
    January 1, 1970
    ***Thank you to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of PULP by Robin Talley in exchange for my honest review.***2.5 STARSAbby chooses 1950s lesbian pulp fiction as her senior project and learns how past, present and future intersect.I love the premise of a protagonist learning about herself through history from last century. Closer in age to the 1950s story than the 2017, I’m more familiar with how far we’ve come than where a vision for the future, so I enjoyed the Abby’s aspirationa ***Thank you to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of PULP by Robin Talley in exchange for my honest review.***2.5 STARSAbby chooses 1950s lesbian pulp fiction as her senior project and learns how past, present and future intersect.I love the premise of a protagonist learning about herself through history from last century. Closer in age to the 1950s story than the 2017, I’m more familiar with how far we’ve come than where a vision for the future, so I enjoyed the Abby’s aspirational vision. My default position is gratitude for advances. The shout-outs to history were my favorite parts. Teen readers who may only be aware of the differences in societal expectations academically may learn a lot through the 1950s portion of PULP.Robin Talley’s writing was the weakest part of PULP. Her words never engaged me, as much as the plot interested me. I had to force myself to read and preserver through the pages. If PULP hadn’t been an ARC, I wouldn’t have finished. Because I’m older than the target audience, I rated up to three stars. I do recommend PULP to young people and older readers with an interest in early lesbian fiction.
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  • Kosoko Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful read, a unique tale, and something I didn't know I needed, but so happy I have.
  • Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)
    January 1, 1970
    (3.5 stars) *I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*This is a decently good book. I only sound a little disappointed in it because with that amazing premise I expected SO MUCH from it — I've been looking forward to this book for quite a while.The story follows two plot lines. Janet, in 1955, discovers a lesbian pulp fiction book and begins to understand her sexuality, write her own book, and begin a tenuous romance with her best friend. Abby, in 2017, dis (3.5 stars) *I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*This is a decently good book. I only sound a little disappointed in it because with that amazing premise I expected SO MUCH from it — I've been looking forward to this book for quite a while.The story follows two plot lines. Janet, in 1955, discovers a lesbian pulp fiction book and begins to understand her sexuality, write her own book, and begin a tenuous romance with her best friend. Abby, in 2017, discovers the book Janet wrote and becomes obsessed with finding its mysterious author, while dealing with still being in love with her ex-girlfriend.I like the mirroring of the story lines and the sense of hope it gives. While Janet's life is constricted with the fear of anyone finding out she's a lesbian, Abby is an out and proud activist with an entirely queer friend group. Her part of the book is a lot of fun in that respect, and I think would appeal to any fans of Leah on the Offbeat.The book also emphasizes getting what you need in the end, even if it's not what you thought you wanted. Neither plot line is free from heartache but both girls learn more about themselves and what they want.But the skipping back and forth can get confusing. There's two plot lines in two different time periods, with excerpts from both the book Janet writes and the book Abby writes for her project. Sometimes it took a second to get my bearings from chapter to chapter. The writing also could be more polished. But other than that, I'm pleased with the book, its diversity, and the vibrancy of book Janet and Abby's lives.
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  • R
    January 1, 1970
    Pulp, a historical fiction novel, was not only well written, but extensively researched- which made it fascinating to read-especially the stories within the story. There was so much going on within this novel that you cannot help but become invested in the characters’ lives and their actions, both in the present and the past. I also loved how the students were encouraged to protests, along with teachers, to have their voices heard, just as many are doing now in terms of gun control.
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  • Ruthsic
    January 1, 1970
    Warnings: homophobia, use of racial slursPulp's main draw is the parallels between the coming of age stories of two lesbian teens, more than half a century apart, and the juxtaposition of fights for civil liberties at that time and in the present. Abby lives in Washington DC and is a social justice warrior; for her Creative Writing project, she stumbles upon lesbian pulp fiction novels and gets interested in how to subvert their tropes for the modern era. Meanwhile, she also gets obsessed with t Warnings: homophobia, use of racial slursPulp's main draw is the parallels between the coming of age stories of two lesbian teens, more than half a century apart, and the juxtaposition of fights for civil liberties at that time and in the present. Abby lives in Washington DC and is a social justice warrior; for her Creative Writing project, she stumbles upon lesbian pulp fiction novels and gets interested in how to subvert their tropes for the modern era. Meanwhile, she also gets obsessed with the story from one particular author, Marion Love, and starts to wonder what life may have been like for a lesbian living during the Lavender Scare. On the historical side, we see Marion Love, AKA, Janet starting to discover lesbian fiction, and realizing her first love and coming to terms with what she wants for her future. The book, through both their stories, explores the violation of civil rights - Janet's is during the time when gay people were ostracized from working in government in particular, and being outed would spell the end of their career anywhere in the town. There is a pervasive sense of dread and fear underlying the later parts of Janet's story, especially since her sort-of-girlfriend Marie is scared she will be found out. Janet's earlier story parts are about her being conflicted with internalized homophobia, and the certain banishment from her family, as well as her heartbreaks. Through a couple of black lesbian characters, it also discusses the particular struggles queer POC faced during that time. Abby's story discusses the civil rights violations of the current times - having a racist president, the immigration laws, the border wall, the fight for trans rights, and voter engagement. Her personal life development is about getting through her parents' imploding relationship, her disillusionment of the future, the pressure of college (she is in her senior year) and realizations about love and relationships. Pulp does justice to the stories of these two girls, and gives them realistic arcs, and discusses their life in the context of being gay, but also just being a teen at an age where you have to make big life decisions, where heartbreaks seem momentous, but you still have the hope of a life you love. It acknowledges, more than once, that their protagonists both being white, also are a little privileged while staying in its lane. Bisexuality, however, wasn't discussed as much as I would have expected, especially in the past parts, and it was more of same-sex relationships only. It did feel like it was going around the same parts for Abby's story as she continued being singularly obsessed over Marion Love's story, while everyone else looked on with exasperation, and thus felt like it stagnated for the most part; Janet's arc was more dynamic, exploring much more of the topic it wanted to. This is why I was finding it difficult to keep going during Abby's parts: I ended up putting the book down often, which took this book longer to finish than it would have. Ultimately, I did feel Abby's arc was not as well-written as Janet's. On the whole, it is a well-written book exploring the experiences of queer teens in both historical and contemporary aspects. Is it diverse? This is an ownvoices book, and has several queer and POC secondary characters, including a couple of bisexual teens, a nonbinary teen, in the present, while many lesbians and minor gay characters in the pastReceived an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Harlequin Teen, via Netgalley.
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  • Mya Alexice
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.PULP is a story told across two timelines. One in 1955 and one in 2017. One of the best aspects of this book is that it compares how truly far we have come (though we obviously have a long ways to go) in terms of LGBTQ equality. PULP sheds light on the 1950s Lavender Scare (which I didn't even know existed), where the government tracked down and ruined the lives of gay and trans people. They would blacklist them from jobs, resources Thanks to NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.PULP is a story told across two timelines. One in 1955 and one in 2017. One of the best aspects of this book is that it compares how truly far we have come (though we obviously have a long ways to go) in terms of LGBTQ equality. PULP sheds light on the 1950s Lavender Scare (which I didn't even know existed), where the government tracked down and ruined the lives of gay and trans people. They would blacklist them from jobs, resources, housing, etc. Because this is something I didn't know much about, the historical storyline of PULP is what kept me going.The current day storyline felt a little eh. The stakes didn't feel tangible to me. So, your parents are divorcing and your ex doesn't like you back. It's tough but it's not exactly the most compelling issue for a character to have. So I didn't feel that intrigued. BUT Janet's story in the 1950s is mesmerizing, and the stakes are so real and terrifying, reminding us that we haven't always had it this easy.
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  • Rebecca Kim Wells
    January 1, 1970
    (From Twitter:) Abby (in 2017) and Jane (in 1955) discover the world of lesbian pulp fiction. I didn't know much about lesbian pulp or the Lavender Scare, and learned a lot! Really engaging writing and subject matter. Can't wait for this to be out!
  • Kelly Hager
    January 1, 1970
    I've been a fan of Robin Talley's since I read an ARC of her first book, Lies We Tell Ourselves. I've read and loved her others, but this one became my favorite. BY A LOT.It's got dual narrators in dual time frames, which I always love. But this also shows just how far we've come as a society. Yes, we have so far to go (SO FAR, you guys) but seeing how much better things are than they were in the 50s has left me completely grateful to be here, in this time.It also reminded me of when I was a lit I've been a fan of Robin Talley's since I read an ARC of her first book, Lies We Tell Ourselves. I've read and loved her others, but this one became my favorite. BY A LOT.It's got dual narrators in dual time frames, which I always love. But this also shows just how far we've come as a society. Yes, we have so far to go (SO FAR, you guys) but seeing how much better things are than they were in the 50s has left me completely grateful to be here, in this time.It also reminded me of when I was a little bit older than Abby and finding all these stories that reflected my life. I mean, OK yes, they were all smarter and cooler and funnier than I was but still. It was a revelation. Today's kids are so lucky that they've got Robin Talley books to do the same for them.Highly recommended.
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  • Dev
    January 1, 1970
    if this doesnt have butch/femme dynamics i think ill just stop reading forever
  • Christine Stamper
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsThis book has EVERYTHING. Historical fiction, contemporary realistic fiction, lesbians, a struggling marriage, first love, heartaches, and lots of 50s pulp fiction. Talley weaves together multiple time periods, characters, and plots and skillfully makes you care about ALL OF IT. A beautiful and heart-warming book for fans of Kindred or Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
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  • Nicole Hanson
    January 1, 1970
    **This review may contain spoilers**Rating: 3 starsI want to give a thank you to NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review!"That was how it was supposed to work. You fell in love with someone, and they loved you back, and that made everything okay. As long as you had love, it didn't matter what else the world threw at you. You had something that mattered more."This book had so much potential. I really did enjoy the overall concept of this story, but unfortunately, the execution of **This review may contain spoilers**Rating: 3 starsI want to give a thank you to NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review!"That was how it was supposed to work. You fell in love with someone, and they loved you back, and that made everything okay. As long as you had love, it didn't matter what else the world threw at you. You had something that mattered more."This book had so much potential. I really did enjoy the overall concept of this story, but unfortunately, the execution of it it could have been better.I felt as though Janet's story was more developed and was the main part of the entire book. Abby's story felt like hers was a subplot and wasn't developed as fully as it should have been, which I don't think was the authors intent.I also saw a lot of repetition and repeating between the two sides of the story. For example, Abby would find a piece of something that had happened in the 1950's and then switched over to Janet's perspective to basically explain more of what she found, which gets tiring reading about the same thing."She wanted to believe that Gladys would always be there when she needed her. But if there was one thing Henrietta learned, it was that you could never really count on anyone but yourself."Abby's story with her friends was interesting because they are mentioned, but we don't really know too much about them, especially about Linh, who plays an important role in her life. As to that point, we don't really know what kind of person Abby is either, we get a glimpse every now and then or some kind of character trait from her. I think her story is more so based on her senior project with the writing of Lesbian Pulp Fiction, which sometimes can get confusing at times.Janet's story is more driven forward of her life and her feelings with her sexuality. I did tend to enjoy her story a lot more than I did Abby's because I felt that there were more connecting elements to the environment and background. I did, however, feel that there was no real chemistry between her and Marie, to begin with. She was mentioned and then all of a sudden they were basically in love.As I'm saying a lot of negative things about this book, the overall message of this story is really good, and it is conveyed well. I also appreciated that this was not a romance novel, but it deals with a lot of romance elements instead. The displaying of snippets of Janet's novel and Abby's novel was creative, which I enjoyed reading about.Also, the secrets that are hidden in Abby's life with her parents, tied in with the overall message which was quite clever because she was able to relate some of the stories to her own life, which I liked. The novel that Janet wrote was pretty well written, well the parts we did get to read, which I enjoyed reading about.Overall, this book had the potential to be an amazing book, I'm not saying it's terrible because I still enjoyed a lot of this book. I just felt that this book was lacking in some major areas, and I'd still recommend this book, especially if you like the 1950's era."You didn't have to be in love for your life to matter. Maybe all you really had to do was care about someone. Or even something. Caring might not make the world go around either, but maybe it was enough to at least give it a push in the right direction."Check out my blog: somethingtofathom.blog
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  • Angelica
    January 1, 1970
    As posted on Angie Reads Harder: https://angiereadsharder.wordpress.co...If you want to grab my attention, write a book about lesbian pulp fiction, and write it well. Which is what this book does, mostly. At the very least, I left it entertained and much more intrigued by the subject matter than I even was before.Pulp follows the stories of two young women in very different, yet somehow similar, eras. In 1955, Janet Jones is 18 years old and dealing with her complicated feelings toward her best As posted on Angie Reads Harder: https://angiereadsharder.wordpress.co...If you want to grab my attention, write a book about lesbian pulp fiction, and write it well. Which is what this book does, mostly. At the very least, I left it entertained and much more intrigued by the subject matter than I even was before.Pulp follows the stories of two young women in very different, yet somehow similar, eras. In 1955, Janet Jones is 18 years old and dealing with her complicated feelings toward her best friend Marie. She stumbles upon a lesbian pulp novel at a bus station and devours it in one sitting, realizing slowly that she’s not the only girl out there who likes other girls. After writing to the author, Dolores Wood, Janet becomes taken with the idea of writing her own novel and being free to love her friend openly one day. But under the suffocating control of her family, and with the Lavender Scare threatening Marie’s job, she realizes being herself and living out her dreams is harder than she ever would have believed.Meanwhile, in 2017, 18-year-old Abby Zimet is dealing with the current political climate, her parents’ dissolving marriage, her brother’s moods, and her ex-girlfriend Linh’s seeming indifference toward her. Her grades are slipping, and she finds herself increasingly distracted by the pulp fiction she finds on the Internet. Soon, faced with the prospect of not being able to graduate high school, she haphazardly comes up with the idea of writing her own lesbian pulp novel for a grade, which turns into an all-out quest to find the author of her favorite novel, Daughters of the Twilight Realm (written by one Marian Love). The task becomes an obsession, and through it all Abby works through pining for Linh, dealing with her parents, and finally, figuring out exactly what she wants and needs most.First of all, the book is so well-researched. I did some digging of my own and realized everything had its reference, even the current-day protagonist’s last name (Jaye Zimet is the author of a compilation of pulp fiction covers called Strange Sisters). The dedication Talley showed to the subject is admirable, as is the recreation of the 1950s. In fact, I think the flashbacks from Janet’s perspective may have been stronger than the present-day bits from Abby’s. Janet is a strong character overall — impulsive, curious, and determined to live her own life away from the oppression of her parents and grandmother. She’s definitely not perfect by any means — she is naive at times and fails to realize the consequences of her actions before she makes them — but I feel like she’s overall true to the personification of a teenage girl living in that time period.So, too, is Abby, as she deals with everything she has on her plate while also diving headfirst into the world of Marian Love and lesbians in the ’50s. Abby is someone who doesn’t know how to deal with her problems yet, so she looks for escape wherever she can get it, almost single-mindedly and to the detriment of her relationships with her friends and family. Which is why she throws herself into writing her own pulp novel and finding out the secret of what happened to Ms. Love. That’s pretty much what a teen would do in this instance — hell, what any human being would do under that kind of pressure. Obviously, the problems she has aren’t as dire as Janet’s (though she is living in the new era of Trump), but they’re still enough to make anyone buckle.Unfortunately, I wish we got a bit more development to the characters around Abby and Janet. Their love interests, Marie and Linh, have some characterization but not enough for me to wonder exactly what brought them together other than them just being there. Marie is a bit more worldly and reluctant to embrace her sexuality, while Linh is focused on school and her future, but that’s about as much as we get.I do think Marie works a little bit better for Janet’s storyline because she’s obviously trying her best to fit in and not make waves. She’s a government employee at the height of the Lavender Scare, which was essentially a witch hunt targeting and purging gay and lesbian government employees. Less talked about than its Communist-minded sister, the Red Scare, the Lavender Scare actually affected more people in the long run. Marie is terrified of losing her job and dying to be normal, yet she cares for Janet in a way she can’t explain. The precarious relationship they share is heartbreaking to read about as a result.Linh, meanwhile, is a bit flatter. She’s essentially looking ahead to her future while Abby is stuck in the past, hoping desperately to get back together with her. The result is a lot of disinterest in Abby’s new passion and a lot of nagging her to focus on looking at colleges and focusing on next year (which isn’t fun to read). I remember wanting to yell at her on multiple occasions, so the eventual resolution between them is a relief (to me at least).As for the other characters in the mix, Abby’s friends are kind of just there to provide backdrop, though I do enjoy the range of identities they encompass — they provide a welcome contrast to the world of the 1950s, showing how far we’ve come in the 62 years since Janet’s time. Abby and Janet’s parents are pretty much on the periphery as well, though Janet’s grandmother provides some out-of-nowhere tension after happening upon Janet’s stash of literature. The Zimet family storyline could have stood with a bit more development too, as we don’t get a whole lot of sense as to what went wrong with the marriage until over halfway through the book.As for plot, it’s pretty straightforward — Abby is trying her best to reclaim her life after everything falls apart, looking to the past in order to figure out her present situation. While the present-day theme of identities, protests and politics is a bit heavy-handed and may date the book, I understand why it’s there. Meanwhile, Janet in the past is forging ahead a new future, contributing to a world where Abby and her friends feel completely comfortable being themselves (or at least, more so). The act of connecting past and present makes for a really compelling read as you realize just how instrumental (even if flawed) these books were in contributing to LGBT pop culture. At the same time, there is some critique on the predominant whiteness of the books, as well as the fact that they overwhemingly contribute to the “gay tragedy” trope (one that Abby and Janet each looked to turn on its head). The ending is hopeful, but not what I expected going into this novel.Overall, I enjoyed Pulp quite a bit. It’s a quick, simply written, and entertaining read. There are definitely things I would change, but I at least hope those things were strengthened in the editing process. I’d definitely buy and read it again — and I can’t wait to do some of my own lesbian pulp fiction reading as well.3.75/5 stars
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