Thursday, May 26, 2011

She Loves You, She Loves You Not...By Julie Anne Peters

Julie Anne Peters strikes again with another amazing book. I'm convinced that this wonderful woman can do no wrong. She tackles so many very important issues that often are avoided. I've read four of her books now. In Between Mom and Jo, she addressed gay parenting; in Luna, transgenderism; with By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead she addressed teen suicide and now with her most recent release, she's tackling coming out and the numerous rejections that can come along with it. Another powerful book that happened to hit close to home. With this book, we meet Alyssa...a 17 year old girl who is disowned by her father for being "unnatural" when he finds out that she's a lesbian. On top of that, she's had horrible problems with her girlfriend, Sarah as Sarah is coming to terms with her own sexuality. With nowhere left to turn, she moves away to stay with her estranged mother, Carly, who has secrets of her own and works as a stripper during the day. While Alyssa's there, she finds herself more. But not without pain. She finds a job waiting tables, gets to know the townspeople, makes some important friends and try as she might not to fall in love again and be vulnerable, she meets Finn...a gorgeous Native American girl with once again...problems of her own. This book points out one thing above all else. No one has it easy. I think we compare our lives to others sometimes and in those ruts, can think to ourselves "God, I really have it bad." That's not to dismiss at all what you go through as you struggle with your own life, but people so often put up veneers to protect themselves from getting hurt and we're blind to those things. In a way we have to or else we'd be a walking mess. Everyone in this book has problems though that are slowly broken down. And that's typical of life...we all have issues. It also points out that coming out...admitting your not an easy thing. As I think most people are aware of. But it shows the courage it takes to do that. Alyssa goes through what I think most people coming out go through. What if my family disowns me? What if people think I'm diseased? I can't be public like straight people can with the people they love...I could be beat up. Eventually these thoughts go away, but it's a big scary world to enter. Yes, it ultimately leads to happiness, but it's not easy getting there. What Peters does best is capture the HUMANNESS of all of her characters. Gay, straight, bi, black, white, native american, male female, transgendered...she gets it right. What amazing insight to be able to put herself in her characters shoes so well. And what a gift as a reader to be able to share in that insight.

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