by Sonora Reyes
First sentence: “Seven years of bad luck can slurp my ass.”
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Content: There is homophobia, swearing – including multiple f-bombs, teen drinking, and suicidal ideation. It’s in the Teen (grades 9+) of the bookstore.
Yamilet is about to start her junior at a Catholic school, rather than the public school she’s been attending. It’s not for her own good; her brother, Cesar, has been getting into fights and their mother has decided that they need to transfer to help him avoid trouble. The problem is that Yamilet is a closeted lesbian, and the one person she came out to – her best friend – not only outed her to all their friends, after which they shunned her for being “nasty”.
Side note: I know homophobic kids and parents exist, and I applaud Reyes for exploring those beliefs in the Mexican/Latinx community, but still part of me was like, “Really?” Someone would really shun, make fun of, ostracize, etc. someone for coming out as gay? In 2022? If so, we’ve not progressed as much as I hoped.
Anyway, at the Catholic school, it looks like Cesar is adjusting okay, but Yamilet is struggling. There are mean white girls who are super racist, but there’s a nice one – Bo – who is an out lesbian, who Yami not only likes but likes. It’s up and down as, over the course of the year, Yami figures out how to come out, how to be proudly out, as well as how to be first Bo’s friend, and then expresses to Bo just how much she likes her. It’s not a smooth road, but Yami finds that it’s worth it
I really liked this one, first and foremost, for the representation. Not only do we have LGBTQ representation, but it is in a darker-skinned, half-Indigenous (her father was super proud of their Indigenous roots), Mexican girl who is proud of her heritage. As I mentioned before, I liked that Reyes explored homophobia within the Latinx community, but not every Latinx person in the book was homophobic. The book also explored the latent homophobia in the church, and confronted it really well, I think. But, it was also a good story, with Yami figuring out her relationship with her mother, her brother, and with Bo. I really enjoyed this one (finished it pretty much in one sitting!), and can’t wait to see what Reyes does next.