“A superb story, told in an original and masterly way. Smedley navigates the novel’s refreshing ideas about sexuality and religion with grace and intelligence.” ―The New York Times
“A heartbreaking case worth revisiting again and again.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review.
I read this book because it was written by an alumni of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I knew it was going to pack a punch emotionally, but I wasn’t prepared by just how deeply I would come to care for these two flawed characters. Sometimes when authors put their teenage characters through difficult experiences, the characters make decisions that seem beyond their years, lessening the character’s believably and, ultimately, the reader’s chance to understand or relate to youth. But here, in this book, are two teenage boys who try, together, to reconcile Christianity with (bi)sexuality. They come alive on the page, and I won’t forget them any time soon. I was surprised, too, that a new author of young adult fiction had managed to write a book wherein every single scene, every line of dialogue, every step of the way felt like a valuable addition to the story. This is immeasurably important for any book, but especially a book with themes and elements of self-hate, emotional and physical abuse, sexuality, and self-harm. It’s clear that the main character, Nate, makes some deeply unkind, and at times cruel decisions that hurt the people around him, but I always understood the reasoning behind those choices.
This is a hard book to read, but a necessary one. Over and over, I found myself heartbroken yet unable to put the book down. I am grateful for the story, and I am glad that the ending was so healing. This book came out in May, just in time for Pride month this June. If you read any book this month (or this year), read “Deposing Nathan.” LGBT+ youth are three times more likely to seriously consider suicide than heterosexual youth, according to the Trevor Project. This book and the themes it contains does not exist in isolation, and your actions have consequence. If you’re looking to have a greater understanding of the experiences of LGBT+ youth, this is the book to go to.
Please take a look at the content warnings before reading, and make a decision that works best for you. Content warnings for this book include instances of: swearing, homophobic slurs, physical abuse, psychological abuse, toxic relationship, anti-bi rhetoric, religious anti-gay rhetoric, child abuse, self-harm.
You can find a greater description of the content warnings, written by the author, here: https://zacksmedleyauthor.com/content-warnings-for-deposing-nathan/
To read the official description of the book, go here: https://zacksmedleyauthor.com/page/
Availability: USMAI, COSMOS
Submitted by: Sage Burch
Rating: Must Read
Challenge: Published in 2019