Title: A Million Quiet Revolutions
Author: Robin Gow
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Queer/LBGTQ+, Poetry, Romance, Transgender, Queer Lit
For as long as they can remember, Aaron and Oliver have only ever had each other. In a small town with few queer teenagers, let alone young trans men, they’ve shared milestones like coming out as trans, buying the right binders–and falling for each other.
But just as their relationship has started to blossom, Aaron moves away. Feeling adrift, separated from the one person who understands them, they seek solace in digging deep into the annals of America’s past. When they discover the story of two Revolutionary War soldiers who they believe to have been trans man in love, they’re inspired to pay tribute to these soldiers by adopting their names–Aaron and Oliver. As they learn, they delve further into unwritten queer stories, and they discover the transformative power of reclaiming one’s place in history.
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Interview with the Author:
Me: A Million Quiet Revolutions is both written in verse and features epistolary writing: what made you want to tell the story this way and were there any unexpected challenges of this format?
-Robin: I’m a poet at heart so I actually think story-telling comes most naturally to me in verse. I also felt like the core of the story is about emotion and feeling between Oliver and Aaron and poetry gives form to those intense emotions they feel. The only challenge I had was carrying the plot through the individual poems because with verse I feel like there’s both the movement within an individual poem as well as the overall plot movement to keep balanced.
Me: You’ve written a YA novel in verse, poetry, articles for magazines and zines, an essay collection to come and work in editing. How do you balance all these various types of writing and what do you like best about them?
-Robin: I think writing in a wide range of forms helps keep me continuously curious. I often feel like having multiple projects actually helps me keep interest in all of them. Like if I’m sick of writing prose I can turn to my next poetry collection and vice versa. I balance these different projects by having a pretty strictly planned writing routine. I write every day in the morning with a dedicated page or poem goals for each project.
Me: Aaron and Oliver dive into history and find untold queer stories: did you do any similar research? If yes, what was your favorite story you found?
-Robin: Yes! I still do this because there are so many queer stories when you start digging a little. I’m forever grateful to the work of queer historians for finding and sharing stories. It’s hard to pick a favorite story but I’m fascinated by Public Universal Friend. They’re essentially a nonbinary Quaker preacher in the mid-1700s. I learned about them from T. Fleischmann’s essay called Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through.
Me: What was your favorite part about writing Aaron and Oliver’s story?
-Robin: Getting to give myself the story a younger me would have wanted. Then, also, getting to celebrate love between trans people
Me: Besides your essay collection, can you give us any hints of what’s to come next for you?
-Robin: I have a poetry book coming out this summer about dinosaurs and sibling-hood and another queer YA novel in verse in the works 🙂
Poem inspired by the book:
Choose to Begin
Together we are Glorious
Identity is a Poem
Queer is Now
Thank you to Pride Book Tours and Fierce Reads for a finished copy in exchange for an honest review and promotion. All opinions are my own.
I am very emotional after reading this.
A Million Quiet Revolutions is a YA contemporary novel in verse that follows the journey of two trans boys who are best friends and fall in love with each other. When they find the story of two trans men in the Revolutionary war, they adopt their names: Aaron and Oliver. Just as they feel like their relationship is blossoming, Aaron is forced to move away. The two continue to write letters to each other and cling to the hope of love, identity and finding their place in history.
This book broke me. I am a void after reading this heartbreaking and breathtaking story of two trans boys in love. I loved how much these two boys cared for each other. I loved the exploration of queer culture, Latine culture and Jewish culture that we got in this novel. Aaron and Oliver’s journeys to acceptance are different for them both, but each was powerful.
I loved watching Aaron find a community for himself, including other queer Latine people. I loved seeing Oliver dive deeper into history and finding stories of queer heroes. Oliver’s home life is much more accepting and I loved how easily his parents supported him. Aaron has a tougher time, but the way his relationship with his older brother, Jose, is explored was amazing. I loved seeing these two open up to each other and how Jose was always willing to help Aaron if that’s what he wanted.
Overall, this was a moving and evocative story and I loved it with my whole heart.
Jewish gay trans male MC, Puerto Rican Christian gay trans male MC, Latine queer nonbinary side character, Puerto Rican cishet side characters, various queer side characters, Black male side character.
CWs: Homophobia/homomisia, transphobia/transmisia, deadnaming, misgendering. Moderate: misogyny, consensual sexual content, sexual assault, rape, sexual violence, religious bigotry, dysphoria. Minor: Antisemitism.