Resources // Blog

Sketchtasy by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

--Staff Picks General


Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Published: 2018
Age Range: Adults
Genre: Fiction, LGBTQ+

Sketchtasy follows narrator Alexa and her friends through life in mid-1990s Boston. They party, go to clubs, dance, meet people, and try to experience the pleasures of life, while, as queer people, also facing homophobia and living through the height of the AIDS crisis.

Sycamore’s writing is gripping: while reading, I felt as if I were not just following Alexa through her experiences, but experiencing them with her, seeing what she sees, thinking as she thinks. Alexa’s defiance in the face of the hardship around her is inspiring, as is her unwavering desire for a better world than the one she inhabits. The subject matter is at times very heavy, touching on substance abuse, death, and childhood trauma. However, Sycamore manages to work humor in throughout the book using Alexa’s myriad musings.

On a more Boston-related note, I enjoyed following Alexa through places I’ve been in: a thrift store in Cambridge, a (now-closed) restaurant in Boston.

If you’re interested in a book that vividly captures 1990s queer life, with all the ups, downs, and everything in between, the good and the bad, the joy and the sadness, then check out Sketchtasy! Place a hold on the book today.