Charlotte Reagan’s debut novel is a cracker. It tells the tale of the classic American girl next door, with a cheerleader best friend and a football player boyfriend, who finds herself instantly drawn to the new girl in class. That new girl is stunning, fascinating, and gay. As the two spend more and more time together we are drawn into the unusual family dynamics of a gay teenage household and the dawning love between these two interesting young women.
The story is slightly chaotic, not in a bad way, but it reflects the madness of late teenage years; moods, friendships, ebbs and flows, ups and downs. It feels genuinely like watching teenage life and the growing pains both physical and emotional we all go through.
The writing is sparky and alive. At the start it feels a little immature, but like the characters it grows as the book progresses, and we can almost see this young debut author finding her voice as the story unfolds.
The characters are well done, Lena and Juliette, as well as BFF Lacey, are well-developed and interesting individuals, each with their own quirks and identities, each with a path to follow. Lakyn and Scott, Juliet’s gay cousin and his boyfriend, add a really interesting layer of friendship and multiply the coming out story and teenage angst of new relationships and social interaction.
This is a classic YA/NA coming out story, well told, well written and a great debut novel. Definitely one I would recommend for any teenager or YA/NA exploring their sexuality or learning about diversity.
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(publisher review copy received)
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