Nicola Lancaster Is Spending Her Summer At The Siegel Institute A Hothouse Of Smart, Articulate, Intense Teenagers Living Like College Students For Eight Weeks Nic S Had Theatre Friends And Ochestra Friends, But Never Just Friend Friends And She S Certainly Never Had A RelationshipBut On The Very First Day, She Falls In With Katrina The Manic Computer Chick, Isaac The Nice Guy Despite Himself, Kevin The Inarticulate Composer And BattleBattle Hall Davies Is A Beautiful Blond Dancer From North Carolina She S Everything Nic Isn T Soon The Two Are Friends And Then, Startlingly, Than Friends What Do You Do When You Think You Re Attracted To Guys, And Then You Meet A Girl Who Steals Your Heart 3.5 starsI think I might be getting a little old for YA I mean, I m a young adult But I m not aYoung AdultSo that s probably why I didn t like this as much as I may have a couple years ago.The characters were rather bland and generic but still moderately likable Also, pretty sure Battle Hall Davies was a precursor to John Green s mysterious female love interests.The dialogue flowed well and it was at least interesting enough to make me read a majority of it in one sitting I kept expecting something big to happen, but this was a very tame bookComing from someone who reads mostly sci fi and horror I did like that the characters were unapologetically bisexual and no one harassed them about it There were some homophobes in this, of course But that was far from the focus of the story and they weren t specifically biphobic Also, hooray for the view spoiler happy ending hide spoiler Empress of the world by Sara Ryan is a very moving meaningful story that deals with very touchy subjects Such as love, friendship, and finding yourself This book should haveexposed due to the fact that now a days teenagers have to deal with these kind of thingsandin todays life style and society which is so open and free to whatever This country s youth should beeducated of these things Empress of the world is about two young girls and how they spent there summer at Siegal Summer Program for Gifted Youth Nicola Lancaster who is there to study her intrest for archaeology, finds another intrest in a beautiful blonde young lady Battle Hall Davis a dancer from North Carolina who is everything Nic isn t There is other characters such as Katrina who is a computer geek, Issac the nice guy, and Kevin the kaid back composer The group gets along right of the bat But soon the connection for one other gets stronger especially with Nic and Battle who fall in love It s filled with what love has to offer and shows how love can change people with it s bumpy ride, up s and down s and the true color of friendship0 Empress of the world is one of my favorite book s because I can relate to it so well I fell in love with my best friend that is a girl and I would of never guessed I would ever find myself in such a very strong friendship and connection It was very confusing at times but it all worked out in the end I stayed up for two days just so i can get to the end of this book the author had me hooked This book is so inspiring it gives me a good feelings inside everytime I hear it s name It is defently hands down, a must read to confused teenagers trying to find themselves or find love. So This is the second review in a row in which I did not have my thoughts completely together in the beginning of my writing it Does this mean my opinions are gettingcomplex Or does it mean that I m getting bad at reviewing So, anyway, this was an overall cute, fun novel It was one of the first to paint LGBT characters in a positive light, when these kind of novels were just starting to becomenormal I thought that I would have to remind myself constantly that parts of the novel weren t cliched when the book first came out, and although there was a little of that, there was little enough that I wasn t really bothered.The writing was really good Ryan s prose is descriptive and surprisingly atmospheric for a realistic fiction book that focuses on romance For the most part, I bought that this was how Nic would speak descriptive without ever being purple That being said, I did think that the field notes written by Nic that were sprinkled throughout the novel were a bit unnecessary I didn t really see much of a reason for Nic to be writing them, as it didn t fit her personality They sometimes conveyed interesting ideas, but they mostly felt unnecessary.But speaking of Nic s personality, it was well rounded and believable, as was Battle s Both characters felt a little too perfectly molded into their rollson that later , but that didn t stop them from feeling completely fleshed out and real Likewise, Katrina was a rather unique character, and very interesting Issac was a bit underutilized, as he obviously hadpersonality than we were seeing, but he felt real in the few scenes he appeared in.However it took me a while to figure this out, but the characters were molded to fit perfectly into the wish fulfillment Because that s basically what this is wish fulfillment for gay teenagers There s nothing wrong with wish fulfillment as a concept Parrotfish, for example, pulled it off almost flawlessly but when it becomes everything in a story, it can often have unbelievable consequences Here, the problem was the heroine Nic and her love interest Battle First, Nic felt blatantly calculated so that gay teens could relate to her She doesn t think she s pretty, but Ryan makes it clear that she actually is She s stated to be shy and not to have many friends back home, but she makes four friends immediately upon coming to the stay away camp where the story takes place She has a lot of interests that are traditionally geeky theater tech, art, playing the viola , but nobody gave a fuck where she was Incidentally, she seems to be incredibly good at all three where she finds the time to do all that, I don t have a fucking clue Do you see the problem There was nothing about her that would make me think she was actually as friendless and lonely as she was stated to be, because Ryan doesn t want her audience to think that there s anything like that about them You re supposed to insert herself into her and share her feelings, but it doesn t work, because her feelings are so blatantly manufactured for that actual purpose The only real flaw I could find in her interior or exterior was that she over analyzed things which bit her in the ass believably and interestingly , and even that was solved for her in the end.Likewise, Battle was the perfect love interest She didn t entirely have her shit together in terms of her relationship with her parents, which managed to keep her out of Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory, but damn, did she come close She was a beautiful dancer, she was nice, and she was attracted to our heroine Once again, it seems like this was written specifically to give gay people hope you could meet someone like this one day Because of that, it never descended into something really believable for me.But in spite of these problems, I still managed to enjoy Nic and Battle s relationship It was sort of rocky, which managed to keep it out of wish fulfillment territory so that I could appreciate how tender and realistic it was, even if the characters behind it weren t The relationship was a slow burning one, and Nic and Battle never quite knew where they stood with each other Moreover, Nic s infatuation with Battle at the beginning, infused with her shock at being attracted to a girl, was perfectly and accurately rendered.Another thing that was perfectly and accurately rendered was the effect that parents can have on kids and in a book that takes place at a sleep away summer camp, no less Battle and Issac s parents played constant roles in shaping their personalities and character arcs The subplots involving the parents were probably my favorite part of the book Issac s parents had a very fighty relationship, and they divorced while Issac was at the camp His reaction to this accurately portrayed , along with the fact that his friends were kind of assholes about it without meaning to be sad, but accurately portrayed made the entire subplot moving Likewise, Battle s dealing with her over religious father and the mysterious disappearance of her brother and naturally, Nic being an asshole about it without meaning to felt poignant and altogether awesome.However, I wasn t a big fan of the resolution of these subplots or the lack of it, thereof The only message I could draw from this was that if your parents are having a negative effect on your life, there s nothing you can do about it you just have to put up with it and hope you turn out okay anyhow The characters become happier people at the end, but it has nothing to do with their parents they re happy in spite of them, instead of because of them This does a huge disservice to anyone who has parents that they re unsatisfied with, and it kind of ruined the whole subplot for me.As for the plot well, not a whole lot happened in this book It was mostly focused on character relationships There was no real dramatic structure things just happened, and they connected to each other, but not in the way a traditional plot would Was this realistic Hell yes Did it make for an interesting read I m not entirely sure I was only bored a couple times, but I still feel like Ryan could ve done better with a real plot.But as an LGBT novel, it does its job well, other than the wish fulfillment aspects It s surprisingly uncliched for a novel that supposedly set up the cliches in LGBT novels There s no predictable coming out story, Nic never angsts about having a crush on a straight girl that s resolved when she finds a lesbian girl, and issues of homophobia are dealt with minimally and believably Moreover, I liked how little time the novel spent preoccupied on giving the quiltbag characters labels Nic spends a little time wondering if she s lesbian or bisexual, but she doesn t come up with anything definitive, nor did she really care to Moreover, Battle s sexuality wasn t discussed at all all we know was that she was romantically attracted to at least some girls I felt like this dodged a huge bullet by not letting itself be predictable the way it might ve, and by letting the character relationships take the center stage instead of angst.So overall, this novel was a bit too heavy on wish fulfillment and a bit too light on plot, but it had some lovely writing and character relationships There are better LGBT novels out there, but there are also much, much worse ones I decided on a 4 star rating, but I still think it might be 3 I m not sure But you can judge for yourself Does this review tempt you to buy the book Help me sort my thoughts out with my answer in the comments Please i really enjoyed nic as a character and have to say i could relate to her and her struggle with coming to terms with her bisexuality a lot however, i had a few problems with this book which is why it took me a while to get throught it 1 i honestly didn t like battle might be because of the biased view we get of her but to me she seemed like the regular mysterious girl with tragic past The way she treats nic and how it is resolved in the end didn t make me root for them which is what i guess the book intended 2 the over the top use of the d slur by mainly straight characters and the bi erasure I understand this book was written over a decade ago and that it tried to be realistic about its portrayal of bisexuality and the biphobia and homophobia teenage girls face but when it happens almost every page even by people nic considers her friends and they don t learn even after she corrects them if those were true friends they d love and respect her and i honestly don t understand why she, or i as a reader, should keep up with this.all in all, i feel like this book for its time may have been progressive and i still think it s a nice read if you look at it critically but i also think to young bi people it sends a message of your sexuality isn t valid and your friends saying so shouldn t bother you which is dangerous in times where our community is often still ignored, stereotyped and mislabeled. There s a hole in popular young adult fiction, specifically romance I m so tired of the typical boy girl boy love story that is so pervasive in YA lit Where are the teen lgbt stories Not the one where the hetero girl has the flamboyant, all knowing, gay, male friend that helps her through her romantic crisis, but the one where the protagonist is experiencing their own crisis, with someone of the same sex I m not saying that these stories don t exist Will Grayson, Will Grayson Blue is the Warmest Colour etc , there just aren t enough of them A good coming of age story is a good story, regardless of the central characters Empress of the World looked like it was worth a read.Complete review at It was an enjoyable read, but it didn t have much of a plot There really wasn t a whole lot going on in this one It was interesting and was easy to sit and read almost cover to cover, but at the end I felt like nothing was ever accomplished.There were a few story threads I was invested in which were just never followed up on or resolved This was rather disappointing. Author Sara Ryan deftly captures the sweetness and uncertainty of a young girl s first love in her 2001 debut Empress of the World celebrates adolescent romance and budding sexuality in all of its sticky, modern complexity.While studying archeology at an academic summer camp, fifteen year old Nicola Nic Lancaster becomes embroiled in an on again, off again romance with the implausibly named Battle Hall Davies, a beautiful North Carolinian wildflower with electric green eyes, blond hair, and a rebellious streak Nic approaches her homosexual proclivities with surprisingly little angst and introspection, self identifying as bisexual in light of past dalliances with boys Save for a pair of overt homophobes in Nic s archeology class, Nic s and Battle s same sex liaison isn t dogged by prevailing cultural forces In fact, their closest peers hardly bat an eye and are quite supportive, while theangst addled pupils react with tacit approval Things are going well until their fledgling relationship is curtailed by an ill conceived gift that s coupled with Nic s compulsion to dissect and categorize emotions Turned off by her girlfriend s taxonomic obsessions, Battle quickly resorts to dating Kevin, a spacey music geek and mutual friend of Nic s Teen drama naturally unfolds as the pair struggles to find balance in their relationship.Perceptive and witty, Nic Lancaster is a likeable heroine whom the author depicts in language that s both respectful and accessible to teenage audiences Ryan peppers the narrative with anxious musings or field notes from Nic s diary, further evidencing the character s strong sense of self and her need to deconstruct relationships in order to understand how they function Refreshingly, Ryan doesn t grapple with the issue of sexual orientation to the same extent as other like minded novels, but rather the ordinary drama and anguish of teen romance which makes Nic s affection for Battle seem organic and true to life.Although unlikely to leave any lasting impressions, Empress of the World is well paced and touching in its simplicity Young readers with liberal social values will delight in this uplifting tale that s streets ahead of the usual frothy summer romance fare. As with pretty much everything I read, I found the ending to this a little unsatisfying, a little too contrived in too short a space, but the path to the ending was well worth it Nicola, the narrator, is a sharp, funny, observant kid, even in her own confusion about her sexuality, and Battle is both a fantastic foil and a fantastic love affair for Nicola The dynamics and the emotions in this one rang very true for me on all levels.It pleased me to learn, just recently, that Sara Ryan has written a second novel about Battle while Empress of the World is Nicola s story, it was ultimately Battle that I wanted to knowabout. There s not one thing that makes this book good It s a bunch of smaller things that I really liked that made it into a book I d recommend Nicola, the main character, is a likable character and certainly relatable She s knows she s not gay, she knows she s not straight, but she feels uncomfortable with the bisexual label She gets bullied because of her relationship with the Battle She has a lot of different interests and talents theatre, music, art, a touch of science She has friends but no real friends friends She is definitely someone I could see myself knowing.The friends she makes at camp is that the right word I don t know are a littleone dimensional, particularly Katrina But Nic admits that maybe she didn t get to know all of them as well as she could have I liked Isaac the most, if only because I got the feeling he just wanted to have a girlfriend, and it didn t matter if it was Katrina or Nic Again, realistic Battle I had the most problems with Firstly, her name Now, those of you who follow my reviews closely har har will know names matter a lot to me Battle just seems way too bizarre for her parents to have chosen We didn t really get to know her at all She was just there, very aloof I also got the feeling she didn t care at all for Nicola She struck me, unfortunately, as one of those faux bis lead a girl along to get a guy s attention and to say she s been with a chick And what s the deal with making out with Kevin Low blow, Battle, way to break the budding lesbian s heart I understand Sara Ryan wrote a sequel to this book, so I hope some of Battle s characterisation issues were worked out.I also felt that Nic and Battle s relationship moved way, way too fast It spanned only two weeks and already there were declarations of love and heartbreak and cheating and adultery and oh my I m of two minds about this one, it can be read as realistic Teen relationships can move very fast But on the other hand, I like my novel relationships to tread a little slower.So having mused on all this as I ve written my review, I believe the reason I m rating this book four stars is because of our main character, Nic She s just a believable person to read about She has her flaws, yes, and she has also has a couple of informed flaws that I didn t really see I didn t see her over analyising her situation with Battle at all, which Battle and Katrina, quietly accused her of I thought she was just wondering why Battle liked her a fair thing to wonder about Nic, as far as I can tell, never had a mutual crush on a girl, and she wanted to know how Battle felt That s a fairly realistic thing to want So yes, Nic is the reason I like this book, I think.There s also a shout out to Francesca Lia Block s Weetzie Bat series for all you FLB fans Nice