This book is, in essence, a bit of well-written fan fiction of a literary character that most people don’t give more than a passing thought to. It isn’t high literature. It isn’t meant to teach us things about the human experience. But, sapphic love is great and needs as much representation as possible, so cheers to that.
And no, it isn’t entertaining because of the plot. We all know what is going to happen and when and pretty much how. It is very close to a story via paint-by-numbers. So, what saves it? The characters.
It is an important book. Not just for broadening one’s horizons, but also as a historical document. This book was (and still is) very important to the canon of queer and trans literature. For that reason alone, it should be read by anyone who wants a decent working knowledge of queer/trans history.
As is common in the genre of romance (and in YA) there is not a lot of character development but there is a fair bit of personal drama and angst. And while the characters are interesting and their fashion senses are extremely on point, I will say that I wanted more.
I would recommend it to anyone who wants a ghost story fairy tale about magical woods and literary levels of how society treats outsiders. It isn’t overly spooky, but the prose is beautiful, the magic was folkloreesque, the ending satisfying, and bonus… a lesbian couple!
If the description of “beautifully written queer retelling of a classic but feminist and from a reimagined and now nonwhite side character” piques your interest, I think you will definitely enjoy this book.
Short story collections tend to be a mix of protagonists and situations that sometimes center around a theme. Such is the case of Rainbow, Rainbow by Lydia Conklin. Her theme is broad “the lesser-known stories of the LGBTQIA experience” and she does a masterful job of telling these stories with gut-wrenching prose.
Book Of The Month recommended it to me with the tagline “This novel has the perfect molecular structure: a charming protagonist, humor, a lovable dog, and feminist bonafides.” And… yes. 1000% yes.
A feminist retelling of the Arthurian legend from the Elaine (Elaine the Mad or The Lady of Shalott) this book is dark, beautiful, surprising, and wonderful.
YA: Sexual trauma, the patriarchy, the blind spots we all have, and the choice to still love someone after they do an unforgivable thing. A bit trope-y, a bit rushed, and with teenagers who don’t seem quite real, this is nevertheless a well-written book about important issues.