Feeling small, alone, and unloved, Ellis Truman has been abandoned by her parents. With a father addicted to drugs and an alcoholic mother who is mostly absent, Ellis is often home alone. She grows up embarrassed of her house, her parents, and who she is. She grows up in a world of in-between, unsettled, angry, and unsure of where she belongs. Then, Sandry Albrey, who grew up in Indiana with Ellis’ father, offers Ellis a home.  Sandry knows Tru’s shortcomings as well as the depth of his love. It is from her that Ellis will also learn the true meaning of love. Although Sandry welcomesRead More →

Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes – Protagonist Yamilet Flores cares about only two things: 1. Protecting her younger brother and 2. Hiding her sexual orientation from everyone at her new Catholic school. After being outed by the girl she’d thought of as her best friend at her previous school, Yami is determined to protect her secret at all costs. Something that grows increasingly difficult as her feelings for Bo, the only openly gay girl at school, grow as well. At home, Yami struggles to feel supported by the people in her life. Through snide remarks, Yami knows that her mom considers beingRead More →

With multiple allusions to film noir and with some genre blending, Katie Henry writes a humorous story—Gideon Green in Black and White—about Gideon’s serious approach to being a detective and solving mysteries. Dressing the part, sixteen-year-old Gideon wears a trench coat and a fedora and lives his life in the shadows. Using his difference to put distance between himself and others, Gideon makes his life mission one of truth-telling: “That’s a detective’s job. Telling the world what’s real, even if people don’t want to hear it” (12). For him, life is black and white and facts are facts. However, as time goes on, Gideon realizesRead More →

High school graduate Betty Lavelle is easily tormented and doesn’t like to be the center of attention. Generally level-headed and big-hearted, she’s a clothes geek, especially of sixties mod-inspired vintage style. She’s also a worrier who has a tendency to crush on people’s brains. She recently accepted an unpaid internship at Retrofit in order to provide a stepping-stone on her way to a career in the fashion industry. On an evening out to the mall in Berkley, California, Betty’s mother and older sister, Joy, are witnesses to a mass shooting in which two people die. Now, all three are traumatized. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder,Read More →

The plot of One True Loves by Elise Bryant revolves around the life of smart, capable, artistic, and driven, Lenore Bennett. Each time she has a relationship with a boy, Lenore feels chosen and treasured—only to realize she has been nothing more than a chick on the side or a stepping stone to another relationship. Intent on protecting herself from the pain of such hurt, Lenore decides to live with her guard up and her heart on lockdown. However, “rooting out fuckboys and exposing their crimes against womankind” (29) proves to be a difficult mission with a friend like Tessa who is intent on writingRead More →

Readers of Sarah Dessen and Kasie West will likely enjoy This Might Get Awkward by Kara McDowell. Set in Page, Arizona, McDowell’s novel tells the story of Gemma Wells, who finds social situations awkward and awful and who—of her own admission—doesn’t know how to have fun. Despite her challenges to conquer her social anxiety disorder (SAD), Gemma can’t just “suck it up.” So, when her favorite beach is overtaken by a teen party at the end of the school year, her fantasies kick into high gear. Beau Booker, captain of the swim team and the most popular person at Page High, is in attendance. JustRead More →

Adi Rule writes an intriguing story about Viveca North in Why Would I Lie? Rule’s protagonist has a plan—a fool-proof, clockwork plan for success. It involves being intense and having an extreme work ethic to achieve “perfect grades, perfect extracurriculars, perfect recommendations. Then a perfect launch, an upward trajectory into the life that has always felt out of reach” (1-2). Viveca dreams of attending Everett College and majoring in psychology. Her ticket to that dream is earning status as valedictorian and winning the Pinniped County Futurists Scholarship Contest. Currently a student at Elton Prep, a swanky private school, Viveca can’t wait to get out ofRead More →

A junior at Willoughby High School, Eliza Quan is an ethnic Chinese girl who is smart although a bit prickly. A thinker who is passionate about facts and journalism, she doesn’t believe in self-aggrandizing or otherwise drawing attention to herself. In fact, she isn’t here to be liked. Similar to the attitude of her best friend Winona Wilson, Eliza doesn’t want to get noticed for the wrong reasons. However, Eliza does have one dream: to make it on the Wall of Editors. At Willoughby, the editor in chief of the school newspaper, the Bugle, is chosen by popular vote, and given that she’s the mostRead More →

Two gay couples are navigating relationships in Here’s to Us. This romantic comedy is the collaborative effort of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. Couple number one is Mario Colón and Ben Alejo—two white-passing Puerto Ricans who bond over their work as writers. Ben loves connecting with people over words and aspires to publish his fantasy, The Wicked Wizard War. Mario, who writes television episodes, is blush-worthy beautiful, highly energetic, and affectionate. Whenever this world bores him, Ben escapes into writing where he creates his own reality. Couple number two is Mickey McCowan and Arthur Seuss. Mikey is a beacon of order and symmetry, while ArthurRead More →