• Sarah Taphom


Hey all, I’m back with another review of a book I have been DYING to talk to people about. I didn’t do a review right after I read it because I wanted to sit on it (not literally) and reflect and stuff.

But I can stay silent no longer.

Because Julian Winters’ debut, Running With Lions, is a laugh-out-loud piss-yourself crying novel that will make you nostalgic for hot summer days and carefree love.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Sarah’s Sucky Summary: Seb’s senior year soccer camp seems like it’s not going to be a terrible season. That is, until his ex-bestfriend Emir shows up, and complicates things for him. He works to try and bring the team together despite Emir’s reluctance, and the two’s relationship evolves into something more.

I had the privilege of meeting Julian (in conversation with my girl Nic Stone) when he did his launch in Decatur, and y’all, that man is a little spitfire that’s going to take the book community by storm (if he hasn’t done that already).

I ADORED this book so much,  if y’all couldn’t tell from my Instagram and the number of tabs that are currently in it (seriously I think there’s one on every page, and that’s WITH me raising my standards for using them).

Like all the characters??? Are so queer and pure??? I love them all. None of that toxic masculinity locker-room-talk bullshit you see in other places. All love and all heart. I’m digging it. Guys need to see it in media to show them they can be like that in real life. Like yes men, you can totally not be gay and still be affectionate with ya bros.

I also LOVED when Emir straight-up says, “I am not a stereotype.” (This is not a spoiler, you’ll have to read for context) but I just loved the message it sent. He is a Muslim, gay boy just trying to make his dad proud and I love him dearly.

Throughout the book (in all its fluff and sports jargon), we have Seb dealing with a very real thing that we on the Internet don’t talk about enough – male body image issues. We always get our fat-positive girl books, or the girls that are insecure, but we don’t really see any guys, and especially not those that are athletes. And this is a persistent thing that affects Seb, not something that just shows up once and is never mentioned again, which I really appreciated simply for how real it was.

Later on in the book, Seb talks about how he’s not sure what he’s going to do post-high school, and admits to some anxiety about feeling lost to his mother, Lily. To which Lily replies, “What’s wrong with being lost?” It hit me in a raw way, because my mother has always kind of hounded me to go one direction (sorry mom) that I knew I didn’t want to go into, but I still barely know what I want to do. The future is scary, but this quote reminded me that I’m going to be okay, even if I am lost without a GPS.

I could go on and on about this book, but I’mma stop here and let y’all see for yourselves. It is pure and beautiful and I think everyone should read it.

Add it on Goodreads

Buy it here:

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