Rating 2.8 Stars.
Short Summary: Aki heads to Mexico on a church trip where she meets a girl and questions her own sexuality.
I’ve read a few of Talley’s book in the past, and Lies We Tell Ourselves blew my mind. That is definitely on my top five favourite gay YA ever. This is why every time her name pops up with a new book she’s high on my radar. I was skeptical about this book, because it didn’t seem like a new story or concept, but I did want to see what Talley made of it.
What I liked: The discussions of safe lesbian sex is not something I’ve seen in a teen fiction and is sorely missed. It does demonstrate the divide between how easy it is to find regular contraceptives, and yet, for teen lesbian girls, its really not addressed. I was happy to see some recognition here.
What I didn’t: The book was exactly what I was afraid it would be. There was absolutely nothing fresh about it whatsoever. I didn’t have any affection for any of the characters. They were all kind of just “there”. Every issue that was brought up (friendship fights, secrets, coming out, underaged drinking) felt forced and trope-y. It was so incredibly predictable I was really quite bored throughout the bulk of the book. Everything I thought would happen, pretty much happened. When I try to reflect on it and the “wow” factor, nothing comes to mind. It just feels like a bit of recycled lesbian fiction. Sure, its good to have these kinds of books out in the world, but its probably my least favourite Talley book. And my complete lack of affection for this book really isn’t about the author, I’ve really enjoyed her stuff in the past, but this piece is a real miss for me.
Recommendation: Its a mature read. That’s for sure. It deals with themes of safe sex and there are some lesbian sex scenes that I wouldn’t put in a middle school library. If you’re looking for a good teen lesbian fiction, I’d turn to Talley’s other pieces before I’d recommend this.