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In this bewitching debut novel, a sensitive teen, newly arrived in Alabama, falls in love, questions his faith, and navigates a strange power. While his German parents don’t know what to make of a South pining for the past, shy Max thrives in the thick heat. Taken in by the football team, he learns how to catch a spiraling ball, how to point a gun, and how to hide his inne In this bewitching debut novel, a sensitive teen, newly arrived in Alabama, falls in love, questions his faith, and navigates a strange power. While his German parents don’t know what to make of a South pining for the past, shy Max thrives in the thick heat. Taken in by the football team, he learns how to catch a spiraling ball, how to point a gun, and how to hide his innermost secrets. Max already expects some of the raucous behavior of his new, American friends—like their insatiable hunger for the fried and cheesy, and their locker room talk about girls. But he doesn’t expect the comradery—or how quickly he would be welcomed into their world of basement beer drinking. In his new canvas pants and thickening muscles, Max feels like he’s “playing dress-up.” That is until he meets Pan, the school “witch,” in Physics class: “Pan in his all black. Pan with his goth choker and the gel that made his hair go straight up.” Suddenly, Max feels seen, and the pair embarks on a consuming relationship: Max tells Pan about his supernatural powers, and Pan tells Max about the snake poison initiations of the local church. The boys, however, aren’t sure whose past is darker, and what is more frightening—their true selves, or staying true in Alabama. Writing in verdant and visceral prose that builds to a shocking conclusion, Genevieve Hudson “brilliantly reinvents the Southern Gothic, mapping queer love in a land where God, guns, and football are king” (Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks). Boys of Alabama becomes a nuanced portrait of masculinity, religion, immigration, and the adolescent pressures that require total conformity.


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In this bewitching debut novel, a sensitive teen, newly arrived in Alabama, falls in love, questions his faith, and navigates a strange power. While his German parents don’t know what to make of a South pining for the past, shy Max thrives in the thick heat. Taken in by the football team, he learns how to catch a spiraling ball, how to point a gun, and how to hide his inne In this bewitching debut novel, a sensitive teen, newly arrived in Alabama, falls in love, questions his faith, and navigates a strange power. While his German parents don’t know what to make of a South pining for the past, shy Max thrives in the thick heat. Taken in by the football team, he learns how to catch a spiraling ball, how to point a gun, and how to hide his innermost secrets. Max already expects some of the raucous behavior of his new, American friends—like their insatiable hunger for the fried and cheesy, and their locker room talk about girls. But he doesn’t expect the comradery—or how quickly he would be welcomed into their world of basement beer drinking. In his new canvas pants and thickening muscles, Max feels like he’s “playing dress-up.” That is until he meets Pan, the school “witch,” in Physics class: “Pan in his all black. Pan with his goth choker and the gel that made his hair go straight up.” Suddenly, Max feels seen, and the pair embarks on a consuming relationship: Max tells Pan about his supernatural powers, and Pan tells Max about the snake poison initiations of the local church. The boys, however, aren’t sure whose past is darker, and what is more frightening—their true selves, or staying true in Alabama. Writing in verdant and visceral prose that builds to a shocking conclusion, Genevieve Hudson “brilliantly reinvents the Southern Gothic, mapping queer love in a land where God, guns, and football are king” (Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks). Boys of Alabama becomes a nuanced portrait of masculinity, religion, immigration, and the adolescent pressures that require total conformity.

30 review for Boys of Alabama

  1. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Well, Genevieve Hudson's Boys of Alabama definitely made me think! Max and his family move from Germany to small-town Delilah, Alabama. It’s a far cry from what they’re used to, but Max is quickly enamored by the oppressive heat and humidity, the easy camaraderie he finds with his football teammates, and the area’s obsession with God and religion. But Max has secrets, too. He had a relationship in Germany that scarred him, and he has a strange ability that both obsesses and frightens him. When Well, Genevieve Hudson's Boys of Alabama definitely made me think! Max and his family move from Germany to small-town Delilah, Alabama. It’s a far cry from what they’re used to, but Max is quickly enamored by the oppressive heat and humidity, the easy camaraderie he finds with his football teammates, and the area’s obsession with God and religion. But Max has secrets, too. He had a relationship in Germany that scarred him, and he has a strange ability that both obsesses and frightens him. When he meets Pan, a fellow student who believes he is a witch, and Pan discovers his ability, Max feels both unburdened and more frightened of discovery. But the two embark on a relationship of sorts, which fulfills the both of them, even if it makes them vulnerable at the same time. Boys of Alabama is a beautifully written, thought-provoking book that raises questions about religion, sexuality, paranormal abilities, racism, and prejudice, but it also is a coming-of-age story at its heart. I’ll admit I read this book almost with one hand over my eyes, as I was worried something bad would happen to one of the characters. (Plus the references to animal cruelty and the depictions of dead animals were a little much for me.) I struggled, though, with what this book meant, and as much as I enjoyed the characters I didn’t feel connected. I also found the lack of quotation marks off-putting because if a sentence didn’t say, “she said,” I couldn’t always tell it was dialogue. This debut novel definitely shows Hudson has a true storytelling talent. It was an interesting addition to my stack of Pride Reads this month! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eugenia

    I loved this book! But......this is a tough book to review. Why? First, it's a unique blend of a paranormal, a coming of age, and a cultural exchange book. It sets our protagonist from Germany in a small town in Alabama. Back in Germany, he was nothing special, but here as a student in an Evangelical Christian school, he is very popular. Taken in by the football boys, he begins a stereotypical American teen high school indoctrination: parties. Different from other typical tales is the strong evang I loved this book! But......this is a tough book to review. Why? First, it's a unique blend of a paranormal, a coming of age, and a cultural exchange book. It sets our protagonist from Germany in a small town in Alabama. Back in Germany, he was nothing special, but here as a student in an Evangelical Christian school, he is very popular. Taken in by the football boys, he begins a stereotypical American teen high school indoctrination: parties. Different from other typical tales is the strong evangelical wave moving this story along. I'm not sure what to make of it. How much is playing off of stereotypes? I mean, we hear tongues. We see snakes. We see boys talking about being saved while they drink by a bonfire. Along with this odd clash of German and Southern evangelical cultures, the author brings in a touch of the paranormal. I would not call it magical realism as the blurb decries. This is straight up magic and there is nothing realistic about it. Our protagonist can bring things--dead things--back to life. What this talent had to do with this tale is something that I'm still pondering. Was is there only for the final scene? Was it there as another source of "otherness" in this tale? Was it there to woo his love interest? Something to confide with someone? I'm not sure, and it's for this reason that I don't know how to review the book. It felt as if two tales were presented and they never really came together. Both storylines simply came to an abrupt end after much buildup. An end that, perhaps was inevitable, but as to what purpose I'm not sure. But maybe that's the point. That being said, I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. It felt fresh. We saw no quotations for dialogue and after a bit of adjustment, I didn't notice their absence. The style also reflected some of the cultural clash between Germany, Alabama, and the paranormal. How, I can't really explain except to say that it felt as different as bringing these three things together could be. My rec? If you love coming of age books, I say go for it!! **This book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purposes of an unbiased review.**

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laxmama

    ARC Generously provided by Netgalley I finished this book a few days ago, this book had me thinking days after finishing yet still not an easy one to review. Writing style was unique, at the start a bit of an adjustment (no punctuation or quotation) and it took me a bit to get into but once it picked up I could not put it down. Max , a teen moves to Alabama from Germany, he feels the cultural changes, language difficulties, figuring out where he fits in socially, and exploring his sexuality. Ther ARC Generously provided by Netgalley I finished this book a few days ago, this book had me thinking days after finishing yet still not an easy one to review. Writing style was unique, at the start a bit of an adjustment (no punctuation or quotation) and it took me a bit to get into but once it picked up I could not put it down. Max , a teen moves to Alabama from Germany, he feels the cultural changes, language difficulties, figuring out where he fits in socially, and exploring his sexuality. There is a heavy gothic southern feel to this book due to the paranormal/powers Max is learning to deal with. I enjoyed so much of this story, boys coming of age, falling for someone, unrequited feelings, heartbreak, the story of being young, confused and finding your place with your fiends, figuring out who to trust. I was also taken by how well she wrote about football, you could feel how a boy could love the game and the bond of being a team. For me If felt as the author tried to put too many messages in the book and much of it had holes or felt unresolved. There was the storyline of the Judge and his cult-like following, Max’s relationship with his dad mentioned a few times, the southern religious town culture, homophobia - Max ‘s mother who appears to be the only redeemable character. The uncle ? Max’s powers and lastly the.very strange and abrupt ending I enjoyed this overall I was both confused and irritated by all the excess and unanswered.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    I don't know what was worse, the horrendous attempt at writing a German protagonist moving to Alabama who is apparently fluent in English but would then go around saying sentences like "I will like you to come over. please yes." (like, girl, you could have at least TRIED to research common mistakes Germans make when learning a foreign language instead of making up shit like "sex butterfly") or the fact that there was an actual rape scene in this and no one thought to mention that. "Exploring you I don't know what was worse, the horrendous attempt at writing a German protagonist moving to Alabama who is apparently fluent in English but would then go around saying sentences like "I will like you to come over. please yes." (like, girl, you could have at least TRIED to research common mistakes Germans make when learning a foreign language instead of making up shit like "sex butterfly") or the fact that there was an actual rape scene in this and no one thought to mention that. "Exploring your sexuality. Experimenting." - yeah, that's not an excuse for putting rape into a book that's geared toward young adults who might pick this up thinking it was about a boy discovering sexuality. I am so done.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paris (parisperusing)

    Outstandingly original. Unlike anything you’ll ever read today. RtC

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    "Boys of Alabama" is a unique take on Southern Gothic; Genevieve Hudson uses her debut novel to rewrite and queer the rules of a classic genre of American literature. Max and his family have recently relocated to Alabama from their home in Germany. On top of the task of learning English, with a Southern twang, Max struggles to understand and control this odd power he possesses: anything he touches that has died is suddenly brought back to life. Combine these powers with his new burgeoning queer d "Boys of Alabama" is a unique take on Southern Gothic; Genevieve Hudson uses her debut novel to rewrite and queer the rules of a classic genre of American literature. Max and his family have recently relocated to Alabama from their home in Germany. On top of the task of learning English, with a Southern twang, Max struggles to understand and control this odd power he possesses: anything he touches that has died is suddenly brought back to life. Combine these powers with his new burgeoning queer desire in a cultural context that is overflowing with Pentecostal fervor, and the scene is set for a strange tale of teen love, paranormal powers, and theological questions. Unfortunately, Hudson tries to do a bit too much in her book: a majority of the books characters, encompassing people from conservative, Pentecostal backgrounds in Alabama, lack depth and seem rather to be the exact caricatures you'd expect to populate a book that is a bit too on-the-nose in its critique of the deep South. The shallowness with his the characters are painted means that emotional connection readers would normally feel to someone from a Southern gothic tale is missing: there's no queen to make you pity and sigh, no man who is destroyed by his own masculinity. There are attempts at these characters, but, lacking depth, they leave you wishing you got to know them a little more. "Boys of Alabama" is trying to do something really unique and important: make Southern gothic explicitly queer and tell stories about a region that is perpetually, culturally forgotten. It misses the mark a bit, but the tale is one worth telling.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Iris

    ***edit: There are trigger warnings at the bottom of this review! I think you can enjoy this book if you are prepared for the dark themes. I don't know what I thought I was getting into, but it definitely was not that. This is a weird book to review, because so much is happening, and points aren't dwelled on for long. I feel like this book traumatized me, and not in any sort of cathartic way. It was written well, sure. But the characters just kept escalating the situation, and there was no cathars ***edit: There are trigger warnings at the bottom of this review! I think you can enjoy this book if you are prepared for the dark themes. I don't know what I thought I was getting into, but it definitely was not that. This is a weird book to review, because so much is happening, and points aren't dwelled on for long. I feel like this book traumatized me, and not in any sort of cathartic way. It was written well, sure. But the characters just kept escalating the situation, and there was no catharsis, no relief. While I don't have a problem with the plot per se, the inner world of the main character did not feel developed or true. Nothing felt rational. I found it hard to care about the main character when everyone he loved was telling him he was doing the wrong thing, and he still followed through. Yes, the southern gothic feel was there sometimes, but other than that the characters annoyed me to bits. I leave this book horrified. I should have just put the book down, but by the time you realize where the book will go you are already past the halfway point. I read this to support the nonbinary author, but damn, I don't know about this one. TWs: homophobic slurs, Christian based homophobia, gay-bashing, rape, hate-crime, Christian based cult

  8. 5 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray Genevieve Hudson’s debut novel, Boys of Alabama, beautifully weaves together an authentic picture of the American South with a coming-of-age of story involving two characters who absolutely capture the reader’s heart. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray Genevieve Hudson’s debut novel, Boys of Alabama, beautifully weaves together an authentic picture of the American South with a coming-of-age of story involving two characters who absolutely capture the reader’s heart. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  9. 4 out of 5

    T Madden

    Phew. Obsessed with this novel and all things Genevieve Hudson. BOYS OF ALABAMA is a shapeshifting story of queer witchy love in the American deep south. This book is creeping vines and verdant desire. It’s a study of belief systems both true and terrifying. Hudson dismantles and spins a new category of fairy tale for us, one that’s equal parts dirt and splendor; a glinting, dark beauty; an incantation. This will surprise you at every turn, destroy you by its end, and make you believe in magic. Phew. Obsessed with this novel and all things Genevieve Hudson. BOYS OF ALABAMA is a shapeshifting story of queer witchy love in the American deep south. This book is creeping vines and verdant desire. It’s a study of belief systems both true and terrifying. Hudson dismantles and spins a new category of fairy tale for us, one that’s equal parts dirt and splendor; a glinting, dark beauty; an incantation. This will surprise you at every turn, destroy you by its end, and make you believe in magic. Astonished, as ever, by Hudson's language, her lens, and the sheer playfulness in these aching pages. It's everything at once.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received an ARC from the publisher, opinions are my own. [very mild spoilers ahead] I've been a big fan of Genevieve Hudson's writing for a while. PRETEND WE LIVE HERE is one of my all-time favorite books, as is A LITTLE IN LOVE WITH EVERYONE, and I usually make a point to track down her stories in lit mags because there's something about the style and imagery in her work that just vines around my heart and linguistic soul and blooms flowers in my chest. BOYS OF ALABAMA does this too. It is bot I received an ARC from the publisher, opinions are my own. [very mild spoilers ahead] I've been a big fan of Genevieve Hudson's writing for a while. PRETEND WE LIVE HERE is one of my all-time favorite books, as is A LITTLE IN LOVE WITH EVERYONE, and I usually make a point to track down her stories in lit mags because there's something about the style and imagery in her work that just vines around my heart and linguistic soul and blooms flowers in my chest. BOYS OF ALABAMA does this too. It is both like and unlike the other writing of hers I've read, and wholly unlike any other novels I've read. It's told (in close third person) from the perspective of Max, a German teen who moves to Alabama with his parents for his father's car manufacturing job. The ways in which Max navigates the culture and landscape of this new place, which is both like and unlike his home, are explored in the halting, haunting, gorgeous prose of someone who comes to understand the language of a place -- both literal and figurative -- as an outsider. Max has histories and secrets he struggles to reckon with; the boys he befriends have the same. Max's inner life is so engrossing, it's hard to look away from; I read this book in 2 days (for me that's really fast). As he falls in love with Pan, a goth witchy kid (and a character that shatters any early glimmers of manic pixie dream person vibes), and simultaneously feels the irresistible pull of the cult-y evangelism of both football and the Judge (an actual evangelist with political aspirations), Max becomes increasingly unsteady. He grasps for things that will ground him with growing desperation. The climax and ending of this book is so unsettling and surprising, written with such fire, that I had to sit quietly and stare into space for like 10 full minutes. In this book, the prose is as hot and melty as an Alabama summer, an abundance of life and death at the same time. There are SO many layers that no review can do it justice. Queerness, secrets, the inheritance of evil, the burdens and sweetness of choosing life and what that even means are all major themes. I'll just leave it here and say, I am floored and I can't wait to read more Gen Hudson writing forever. Highly recommend!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tess

    I so wanted to love BOYS OF ALABAMA by Genevieve Hudson, but it just wasn't the book for me. I was completely intrigued by the premise of a high school teenage boy moving from the cosmopolitan Germany to a small town in Alabama, and how he integrates himself into the football scene while, at the same time, coming to terms with his sexuality and grieving a best friend he left behind. It has all the makings of a wonderful novel that is right up my alley, but I just couldn't fully get into the stor I so wanted to love BOYS OF ALABAMA by Genevieve Hudson, but it just wasn't the book for me. I was completely intrigued by the premise of a high school teenage boy moving from the cosmopolitan Germany to a small town in Alabama, and how he integrates himself into the football scene while, at the same time, coming to terms with his sexuality and grieving a best friend he left behind. It has all the makings of a wonderful novel that is right up my alley, but I just couldn't fully get into the story or accept these horrible characters who push for things I would never agree with. I know, it's fiction and it's important to read stories about people whose views you do not agree with, but perhaps since I'm reading it in May of 2020, it just doesn't sit well for me right now. There's a lot going on: religion, the supernatural, sexuality, coming-of-age, politics. Hudson backs a lot into this short book which is extremely admirable. It just wasn't my cup of tea, the way it was presented. I had a hard time following what was going on and didn't connect or fall in love with any of the characters. There should be a few trigger warnings (assault, violent death, fatphobia, animal abuse, etc). The end was a nice surprise, though one I could kind of see coming, and I loved the allusions to the southern gothic tradition. It's an admirable first novel, just not a book for me personally.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Garan

    This book was incredibly well written. The prose was absolutely beautiful. Helming from Alabama, I really appreciated how well she captured this place can feel sometimes. Reading in depth about how religion and football truly do run things for some people in this state was mildly difficult for me sometimes. I was also sent back to the uncomfortable mindset of growing up here as a boy who didn’t play football. I loved what the author did with relationships in this book. How fickle love and friend This book was incredibly well written. The prose was absolutely beautiful. Helming from Alabama, I really appreciated how well she captured this place can feel sometimes. Reading in depth about how religion and football truly do run things for some people in this state was mildly difficult for me sometimes. I was also sent back to the uncomfortable mindset of growing up here as a boy who didn’t play football. I loved what the author did with relationships in this book. How fickle love and friendship can be aren’t often written as honestly as they are in this book and that was incredibly refreshing to see characters I was rooting for end up being flawed and sometimes assholes. There is a brief rape scene in the third act of the novel so be prepared if that is a trigger for you.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dominic

    Some reading experiences feel like a revelation, and that's exactly what reading Boys of Alabama was. I had high hopes for it, but honestly I didn't know exactly what to expect. What I got was a story I felt in my gut, that dug under my skin, rather than just "having read." If I had to compare it to something, I'd compare it to Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones, both in its deft understanding of adolescent hunger and its expert, gritty representation of the American South that is both a critique a Some reading experiences feel like a revelation, and that's exactly what reading Boys of Alabama was. I had high hopes for it, but honestly I didn't know exactly what to expect. What I got was a story I felt in my gut, that dug under my skin, rather than just "having read." If I had to compare it to something, I'd compare it to Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones, both in its deft understanding of adolescent hunger and its expert, gritty representation of the American South that is both a critique and a letter of promise. I remember reading Bones for the first time and thinking, damn I've not seen something quite like this before. The prose has an energy to it that also reminds me of Ward's work, and Hudson is able to mix the literary and the experimental with a story that would appeal to teenagers as well as adults. I also really enjoyed the supernatural element; one of the teenage characters must reckon with the gift/curse of being able to bring animals (and maybe humans) back from the dead. Apart from this one element (which is still enough to intrigue scifi or fantasy fans, I think), the book explores very real concerns—the chains of masculinity that weigh boys down, the promises both mystical and false of evangelical religion, and the pain of burrowing out of the cocoon of adolescence. Several scenes floored me—particularly one between the protagonist who has a moment of doubt about his sexuality and a female friend—a scene like nothing I've seen before. I appreciate the originality at the heart of this novel, and the way it lets the reader find magic in all the many crannies of its story. I haven't felt this bereft at having to let go of a character in a long time. Both Pan and Max are wonderful queer characters, but oh Max, he seemed so pure and real! It reminded me of that first time I read Perks of Being a Wallflower, and I was like, damn, I feel so much for Charlie and his pain. I usually don't like sequels to books, but I make an exception for this one! I did not want to let this story end—and yet, the finale was extraordinary in its beauty and its ambiguity. This ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Beth M.

    This is another book that is joining my collection of favorite reads this year! ❤️ Y’all! I couldn’t put this one down. Seriously. Can’t believe this is Hudson’s first novel! Boys of Alabama beautifully weaves together an authentic picture of the American south with a coming of age of story involving two characters who will absolutely capture your heart. Max has just moved to Alabama from Germany and like any high schooler he wants to fit in. He leans into the local culture of football, fried foo This is another book that is joining my collection of favorite reads this year! ❤️ Y’all! I couldn’t put this one down. Seriously. Can’t believe this is Hudson’s first novel! Boys of Alabama beautifully weaves together an authentic picture of the American south with a coming of age of story involving two characters who will absolutely capture your heart. Max has just moved to Alabama from Germany and like any high schooler he wants to fit in. He leans into the local culture of football, fried food, and God ... that is, until he meets Pan. Described as the “local witch,” Pan captivates Max with his Walmart dresses and fishnet stockings. As Max shares the special power he possesses, he grows closer to Pan and struggles to balance this love with the pressure to be the church-going athlete he is expected to be by the surrounding community. I am an absolute sucker for a novel about identity and Hudson had me from page one here. I’m still thinking about Max and Pan and this is one I will definitely read again down the road! Boys of Alabama is out now. Go get it! Many thanks to Liveright Publishing for gifting me this galley.

  15. 4 out of 5

    W.

    Boys of Alabama is a well-written , poignant, relevant and realistic told story. My husband is from a small town in Alabama . While reading Boys of Alabama , I pictured that town and some of the inhabitants as the perfect setting for this story. I just reviewed Boys of Alabama by Genevieve Hudson. #BoysofAlabama #NetGalley

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brianna

    ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This story was so strange and intriguing, I still don't really know what to think of it because it's so unique. The novel follows a teenage boy, Max, who has moved from Berlin to Alabama. Max has the secret power of being able to heal animals and bring them back from the dead, however, Max views this power as a curse. The story follows Max's experience moving to Southern USA, his friendship with a witch at his school ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This story was so strange and intriguing, I still don't really know what to think of it because it's so unique. The novel follows a teenage boy, Max, who has moved from Berlin to Alabama. Max has the secret power of being able to heal animals and bring them back from the dead, however, Max views this power as a curse. The story follows Max's experience moving to Southern USA, his friendship with a witch at his school named Pan, his emerging sexuality, along with a religious cult whose leader is brainwashing the town. It was ... a lot. A lot of plot lines and themes that would have worked a bit better if the ending was a bit more fleshed out and if the book was longer in general. I thought the book was going to go one way, but near the end, things just took such a big turn and happened so fast. I don't think I fully understood the meaning of this story or the point it was trying to make. Maybe I'm just dumb but I sort of wish I had someone to explain it to me. Besides a bit of confusion near the end, I genuinely enjoyed this book and was so interested in what would happen, solely because I had never read a book like this before. There were no chapters, which made the book flow a bit like a dream sequence, which is what reading it felt like. It was a weird combination of magic, sexuality, desire, religion, and uncertainty, and I thought it was really interesting to read! I would recommend it to anyone, simply because I want everyone to experience the uniqueness of it. Check out my Bookstagram!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mairy

    "I love how en vogue dead bodies are around here." -Boys of Alabama, by Genevieve Hudson This book was my introduction to Genevieve Hudson. The writing and technique were fine but I just did not click with the characters. None of them. I did not understand Max, I did not agree with him on most of his opinions and choices. This story was not enjoyable to me. The beginning of Part 3 got exciting with the ghosts, paranormal, the visiting of the haunted asylum, but it was short-lived. The story had a "I love how en vogue dead bodies are around here." -Boys of Alabama, by Genevieve Hudson This book was my introduction to Genevieve Hudson. The writing and technique were fine but I just did not click with the characters. None of them. I did not understand Max, I did not agree with him on most of his opinions and choices. This story was not enjoyable to me. The beginning of Part 3 got exciting with the ghosts, paranormal, the visiting of the haunted asylum, but it was short-lived. The story had a lot of potential; I particularly enjoyed reading about seeing the South through a foreigner's eyes. I patiently waited to see where Max's power was going to take me; I was hoping it was going to lead to something exciting, something big, but the resolve was a let-down. I am still giving it a 3-star for the writing quality. Thank you Net Galley and Liveright for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hayden Eubanks

    A weird but great read. First off, there's no dialogue punctuation; no quotation marks when someone is speaking, and the monologue is written a little weird. I was thrown off at first but once I realized what was going on it was easy to understand. I honestly loved the contrast of cultures and how bizarre the rural south of the united states is to other people who don't live there.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    What the fuck did I just read. A lil triggering personally for a queer witch who grew up in the bible belt, but really beautifully done. How sad it can be to be a trapped and clueless teenager.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    I've been lucky enough to see Genevieve Hudson ace the critical nonfiction/memoir hybrid, followed by her overwhelmingly wondrous short story collection, and now she kills it with her first novel, a coming-of-age queer southern fish-out-of-water story. Boy of Alabama stars Max, a German teen who tries to figure out where he fits in his new small-town Alabama home. But it's not as simple as that. Max is coming to terms with not only his sexuality but also his remarkable life-giving power, which h I've been lucky enough to see Genevieve Hudson ace the critical nonfiction/memoir hybrid, followed by her overwhelmingly wondrous short story collection, and now she kills it with her first novel, a coming-of-age queer southern fish-out-of-water story. Boy of Alabama stars Max, a German teen who tries to figure out where he fits in his new small-town Alabama home. But it's not as simple as that. Max is coming to terms with not only his sexuality but also his remarkable life-giving power, which he tries to keep secret. Soaked in an environment that worships football as much as its strange church culture, Boys of Alabama feels a bit like a queer and magical Harry Crews novel if you can imagine that. Hudson's descriptive scene-setting, lean prose, and complex cast of characters make this novel feel alternately like a wild fever dream and an aching heart.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Haley Bracken

    A mesmerizing reinvention of the Southern Gothic genre that feels at once familiar and novel; confident prose and compelling characters; and an ambiguous, open-to-interpretation ending.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)

    This is a weird and wonderful novel. It features Max, a Queer teen who is not only exploring and trying to understand his sexuality, but he is doing so as a recent transplant from Germany to Alabama. There are a lot of layers there: he is trying to navigate culture shock, language barriers, grief and personal history, the extremes of religion, where he fits in at school—and he has a secret, strange power. I listened to the audiobook of this one, and I found myself sinking deep into the lush prose This is a weird and wonderful novel. It features Max, a Queer teen who is not only exploring and trying to understand his sexuality, but he is doing so as a recent transplant from Germany to Alabama. There are a lot of layers there: he is trying to navigate culture shock, language barriers, grief and personal history, the extremes of religion, where he fits in at school—and he has a secret, strange power. I listened to the audiobook of this one, and I found myself sinking deep into the lush prose. Hudson has a way with metaphor and description that not only helps you see what is going on, but really feel like you are there. To me, the overarching theme of the book was the constrictions of conformity, the suppression of the individual. Max tries to fit in, he wants to fit in. He joins the football team, he starts going to church, he tries to understand everything there is to know about being a teenage boy in Alabama, and he wants to do it right. But the problem is that he isn’t any of those things. He doesn’t fit nicely into all of those boxes, and when he tries to force himself to do it, everything begins falling apart. There are definitely some dark moments in this book, putting an uncomfortable, closeup lens on messy moments of grief and trauma. But Hudson mixes dark with light, death with life, and this truly is a unique and thought-provoking novel. It reminds me of another book I recently finished, The Seventh Mansion. That too, features a young boy who is exploring his sexuality and learning how to be who he is. It also goes to some dark places, sometimes feeling more I highly recommend them both!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Gracious, this book is a mess. As someone who enjoys literature of all stripes, is the parent of a teen and a young adult, volunteers with youth and works with college students, I read a fair amount of YA fiction. I have never enjoyed a book in the genre less than this one. There is a gruesomeness and brutality to it that remain absolutely unresolved at the end of the novel. So many of the characters are one-dimensional straw men, including the State of Alabama itself. Why the setting about whic Gracious, this book is a mess. As someone who enjoys literature of all stripes, is the parent of a teen and a young adult, volunteers with youth and works with college students, I read a fair amount of YA fiction. I have never enjoyed a book in the genre less than this one. There is a gruesomeness and brutality to it that remain absolutely unresolved at the end of the novel. So many of the characters are one-dimensional straw men, including the State of Alabama itself. Why the setting about which the author knows so little figures so prominently in the story (much less the title) is a mystery to me. There are too many errors to list here, but they range from minor nuances like a teenage boy offering a “cola” to someone at a party to anomalies like a cloud of mosquitos in November. There are a bewildering number of cowboy hats and crucifixes, but the most outlandish thing is that a gubernatorial candidate from the Tuscaloosa area would be making campaign calls during a University of Alabama football game. None of which is unforgivable, but the culmination of so many errors makes it hard to trust the author with the narrative. And the narrative is all over the place. Granted, this is an electorate that ushered Roy Moore into office on multiple occasions, so I can see how Alabama feels like fair game here. But a sledgehammer is apparently the only tool at Hudson’s disposal when examining religion and politics in the Bible Belt, and it makes for an exhausting read. Particularly puzzling is that the complexity of religion and politics in Alabama - how they interact to the point of sometimes being interchangeable, how menacing they might feel to anyone who is “a blue dot in a red state” - is rich soil, and there is much to be mined there. But rather than wrestle with the reality of it, we get an outlandish tale of cultish nonsense that is so far-fetched it actually diminishes the genuine struggles that real people face. As an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, I am glad to see this book was well-received and well-reviewed in some circles, and that readers feel validated by it in some way. Those positive reviews were the only thing that kept me reading, in hopes that the either the errors or the darkness would be redeemed by the end of the book and that wading through it would somehow have been worthwhile. I suppose this was intended to be a psychological thriller for a queer (and/or queer-friendly) audience, but the darkness of the plot only spirals toward a wildly unsatisfying ending. There are glimpses of thoughtful self-examination from a few of the characters that had me vacillating between two and three stars. But ultimately, I think the onus is on an author to write what they know (or at least know what they write), and I just don’t think that threshold was met here.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    I almost gave this book 3 stars but I just couldn’t do it. I liked the contemporary writing but not enough to push for that star. This book tried so hard to be great and it just wasn’t. The characters lack depth. The stereotypes are grossly exaggerated, could’ve meant something but instead it was just hyperbolic. I really wanted to like this book. I felt for the characters, and I wanted to know what was going to happen, but it fell flat for me. There was poetry and sadness but I feel like this c I almost gave this book 3 stars but I just couldn’t do it. I liked the contemporary writing but not enough to push for that star. This book tried so hard to be great and it just wasn’t. The characters lack depth. The stereotypes are grossly exaggerated, could’ve meant something but instead it was just hyperbolic. I really wanted to like this book. I felt for the characters, and I wanted to know what was going to happen, but it fell flat for me. There was poetry and sadness but I feel like this could’ve been stronger as a short story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Dropped at 8%. I can't do it. This book has no quotation marks for dialogue and has already had quite a bit of dialogue in the short amount I've read. I have no desire to spend the entire book trying to sort out which parts are being spoken and which parts aren't when this all could have been solved with proper punctuation. Reading an extended conversation that had non-dialogue bits thrown in throughout it was frustrating. The lack of quotation marks is just incredibly distracting. The only way Dropped at 8%. I can't do it. This book has no quotation marks for dialogue and has already had quite a bit of dialogue in the short amount I've read. I have no desire to spend the entire book trying to sort out which parts are being spoken and which parts aren't when this all could have been solved with proper punctuation. Reading an extended conversation that had non-dialogue bits thrown in throughout it was frustrating. The lack of quotation marks is just incredibly distracting. The only way I could do this is if I did it on audio so I didn't have to look at the text.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lu

    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. TW: death, brainwashing, rape, homophobia, internalized and not, poisoning, violence towards people and animals I was really excited to read this book and so happy my wish came true! Boys of Alabama is a very intense novel, a coming-of-age story. Max's family moved from Germany to Alabama for his father's job and the sixteen years old boy has to adapt to the life here. It was interesting reading about how, slowly because of the l I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. TW: death, brainwashing, rape, homophobia, internalized and not, poisoning, violence towards people and animals I was really excited to read this book and so happy my wish came true! Boys of Alabama is a very intense novel, a coming-of-age story. Max's family moved from Germany to Alabama for his father's job and the sixteen years old boy has to adapt to the life here. It was interesting reading about how, slowly because of the linguistic barrier, Max starts to understand common sayings, how to fit in, or try to, with the football team he's part of, since he's a very good runner, how to make friends and so on. A sensitive and shy boy, Max hides a secret and a painful loss and right away he finds himself attracted to the city's "witch", Pan, who is sensitive and weird, who wears lipstick, dresses and makeup. As they start an intense relationship, falling hard in love with each other, Pan discovers Max's secret and everything changes. Boy of Alabama is a very peculiar novel. The writing style is a bit unique (For example: How can you understand? Max asked) without any inverted commas, so, it took me a while to get into the story, but, once in it, it captured me. It's a beautiful and intense novel with so many important themes, from immigration, faith, love, sexism, homophobia. It shows how Max was pressured, how any adolescent can be pressured, into accepting some things and thoughts. Living in a religious city, surrounded by religious classmates, Max finds himself involved, almost pushed, into their faith. Interesting and cruel figure is the Judge and how, through God's word, or what he thinks it's God's word, he's violent and abusive, expecially towards his son and ideas that don't conform with his ones. In this situation, Max is almost torn in two, between the pull of the charismatic Judge, the want to be part of the community, of the football team, and his desire and love for Pan, who is an outsider in the school and with their friends, proud of his ideas, his clothes, his sexuality. The relationship between Pan and Max is intense and complicated by past lovers, strange powers and Max's inability to choose between Pan and the Judge's charismatic figure. Their bond is really complex and it's clear Max's attraction for Pan, his love for him, how they care for each other. Max's coming of age, his growing, is seen, too, through snippet of conversations between his parents and his mother and aunt. His mother, suffering from the move and her inability to adapt and accept their new life, sees his changes and she's worried, while his father is open to Max experimenting things, having friends, changing his diet and so on. It's clear, in some parts, how deep was the Judge's brainwashing in the football team (and in the city), how he was believed and followed, how they believed his lies and manipulations, above all with the poisoning and what they believe sin was and how to banish it. There is in Lorne an internalized homophobia and his relationship with Pan, Max and his father was really interesting and I wanted to know more. This book deals with a lot of important themes, seeing them through Max's eyes. Being from Germany, Max has to endure "Nazi" jokes, his inability, at first, to comprehend the inner meanings of the language. It shows how he adapts to his life, while struggling with a magical power, its characteristics complex and that scared him, his being gay, falling in love and how to fit his sexuality in a religious city. I found the ending a bit abrupt and it left me wanting for more and this novel is beautiful, intense and really unique.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Energy

    Max's family moves to Alabama from Germany, and while he can speak some English, he can't always articulate how different this world is from the one he left. In this town, boys play football, and so Max joins the team because of his love for running. There's a bit of everyone on the team but the one thing that stood out for me was the level of cruelty in some of these boys. Max has also made a friend outside of the team named Pan, and Pan is a self-proclaimed witch of sorts, and their friendship Max's family moves to Alabama from Germany, and while he can speak some English, he can't always articulate how different this world is from the one he left. In this town, boys play football, and so Max joins the team because of his love for running. There's a bit of everyone on the team but the one thing that stood out for me was the level of cruelty in some of these boys. Max has also made a friend outside of the team named Pan, and Pan is a self-proclaimed witch of sorts, and their friendship introduces Max to a whole slew of other concepts he knew nothing about. It also allows Max to reveal a secret he's never told, anyone. There was a lot going on in this one, from the creepy judge, to the church, to the football team, and Pan and Max's abilities, it was a lot to wrap your head around. I think the various elements are what kept this at a slow read for me, and it just wasn't the right fit for my preferences. I think with the right audience, this would be a very enjoyable read, it just wasn't for me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kazue Sohma

    Boys of Alabama was a strange yet interesting read. I loved the way it was written and I felt as through I was right there in Alabama living a small town southern life. The characters seemed like fully visualized people. The first two thirds of the book were truly captivating and I really empathized with what the main character was going through. The last third was part fascinating and part bordering on Christian propaganda (although it might just be the protagonist's dire need to belong in his Boys of Alabama was a strange yet interesting read. I loved the way it was written and I felt as through I was right there in Alabama living a small town southern life. The characters seemed like fully visualized people. The first two thirds of the book were truly captivating and I really empathized with what the main character was going through. The last third was part fascinating and part bordering on Christian propaganda (although it might just be the protagonist's dire need to belong in his new home). While the book was a good read as a whole, the ending left a lot to be desired. ARC provided by Netgalley.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This is a difficult book for me to rate. In a way, it is a really fascinating, intense, well-written book that had me in its grip from the first page. On the other hand, I found it somewhat strange and unsettling with a bit too much stereotyping of the Southern masculine culture. And the ending was a real shock to me. There's a lot here and it's certainly a worthwhile read but be prepared for something a bit different. I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads for this honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I devoured this book in one sitting. I enjoyed that the author sets it in the backdrop of an ultra religious small southern town, in which our protagonist has just moved from Germany...talk about culture shock. I went into it expecting a sweet LGBT coming of age story, but instead the author mixes in lots of supernatural elements. Around the middle of the book it shifts into almost a revenge plot, as we learn that the town’s religious tendencies may be of a more sinister nature.

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