Spin Me Right Round | David Valdes


Spin Me Right Round by David Valdes

Out now from Bloomsbury YA; 352 pages 

Content Warnings: Homophobia, hate crimes, racism, slurs, violence, death

Author Bio: “David Valdes is an award-winning writer of drama, fiction, and nonfiction. His essays and columns have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, and Medium. He is the author of Homo Domesticus, A Little Fruitcake (a Today Show Top 10 Holiday Books pick), The Rhinestone Sisterhood, and Spin Me Right Round. He is the author of more than a dozen plays staged coast to coast and overseas. Some titles appear under his married name, Valdes Greenwood.” (Bio taken from Amazon Books.)

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“We’re two decades into the twenty-first century and some schools are still buggin’ over a pair of boys wanting to dance together.”

Luis Gonzalez is a gay, Cuban-American teenager in upstate New York whose biggest obstacle in his senior year of high school is not being able to take his boyfriend to prom. His boarding school refuses to let same-sex couples dance at prom together. But how else can he celebrate his sure win for Prom King? He takes it on himself to change the rules without telling anyone, and he’s confident that he has support from his fellow liberal friends and teachers. To his surprise, he is immediately shut down with fearful whispers and rumors about what happened to the student Chaz Wilson in 1985. On his way to get more support from the English teacher, Ms. Silverthorn, Luis gets thrown back in time to meet Chaz. To his dismay, the school is even more conservative than it is in the present. Can Luis change Chaz’s fate? Or will he be stuck in 1985 forever, unable to dance at prom?

Luis is such an enthralling character. I was amazed by his depth. He is so unapologetically himself and he has to reckon with his identity while stuck in the past. The representation of intersectional identities that David Valdes wrote was something that I was delighted by. As a Queer reader, the plot felt all too familiar to my life. This story is one that needs to be told. None of Luis’ issues were minimized, and neither were any of the issues faced by other characters. The characters are complex, but also human. At the end of the day, the teenagers were allowed to be teenagers. This book was sad but real; unlike Luis, not many of us are allowed to get do-overs. 

PRR Writer and Editor, Ami Jones.