Bibliophile | Step back in time with queer YA novel ‘Spin Me Right Round’

Spin Me Right Round
by David Valdes
Bloomsbury

Seventeen year-old Luis Gonzales is out and proud and in his Senior year at an American boarding school, even though he is a day student who is able to live off campus on an apartment with his shift-working mother.

In many ways, the school is quite progressive and allows students to take jobs at the school to help pay for tuition. In other ways, the lingering Christian ethos of the school means that there are rules that will not let Luis kiss his boyfriend while on the school grounds or even allow them to hold hands.

That is a huge stumbling block for Luis who really wants to go the school prom with boyfriend Cheng and dance with him. Two decades into the twenty first century, the school seems to be a place that time has forgotten when it comes to gender.

Luis points out that there are gay World Cup winners and pop stars and governors. There are gay dads doing corny dances with their kids is a staple of TikTok and there is even a trans hero on Supergirl.

Even doing secretarial work for the principal, he is unable to change the prom rules. “Which only proves what every queer person already knows: prejudice, like fire, can live anywhere there is oxygen.”

When a knock to the head throws Luis back in time, he finds himself at the same school but in 1985, when his parents were in their final year there. The homophobia is entrenched, so much so that students can be expelled for admitting they are gay, while those who assault queer students are just suspended for a short while.

When Luis meets Chaz Wilson, he thinks his mission it to save Chaz. Logic says that if you change a bad thing in the past, it is a good thing. That is unless, in turn, that changes a good thing into bad “and so on, onward, endlessly”.

This Young Adult novel is a gay Back to the Future – the 1985 film that throws 17 year-old Marty McFly from 1985 to 1955 where he also encounters the younger version of his parents. As Luis struggles to survive, there is always the question of whether he will make it back to 2020, and what changes his ripple in time may have made.

Lezly Herbert


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