Jefferson High School’s first LGBTQ support group is created after a student dies by suicide. As the new school year begins, six students join the group and sit in a circle every Monday afternoon-sometimes in silence, sometimes in heated dialogue-sharing pieces of their lives.
Denice is the leader who wants to protect everyone; Vivian’s feeling like an outsider because of her asexual identity; Angel’s a rebel who can’t bear the thought of coming out to his mom; Finn’s an introvert whose parents made them leave after coming out as trans; Johnny’s an outgoing performer dealing with his parents’ divorce; and Lexie’s an ally, just here to support.
As the students begin to discover different facets of their identities, they grapple with a lot of questions: How can we best support someone through a difficult time? What does it mean to share affinity when we don’t share the same identities? And what does it really mean to be a member of the queer community?
“Using gorgeous poetic verse, Matty Bennett brilliantly captures the stories of a group of queer teens reconciling their dreams with reality. It’s a book I wish I had access to during my formative years. We Give Support, Not Advice is timely, pertinent and essential for our LGBTQ+ youth.” – Emanuel Xavier, author & activist
“We Give Support, Not Advice is a quick, engaging, and important read. Matty Bennett’s novel-in-verse takes a diverse group of characters, puts them in a room, and lets them tell their own story in a voice that is both accessible and lyrical. “Despite our fragments, we are / whole…” the students tell us. And we believe them. At its core, We Give Support, Not Advice is both a difficult and hopeful read. A necessary book in these times.” – Jamie Beth Cohen, author of Wasted Pretty
“The characters in Matty Bennett’s novel-in-verse encapsulate the nuances of queerness-the awkwardness, the fury, the tenderness. It’s a book I wish I had in high school, a time when I desperately needed queer camaraderie, especially in my grief. In We Give Support, Not Advice, ”we are reminded why we exist.'” – Lisa Summe, author of Say It Hurts