ARC REVIEW: The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School

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The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catcholic School
by Sonora Reyes
Published by Balzer & Bray
Releasing on May 17th, 2022
YOUNG ADULT FICTION—Contemporary, Romance

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Seventeen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers drawing attention for her killer eyeliner, not for being the new kid at a mostly white, very rich, Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way. After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend, she could use the fresh start.

At Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: make her mom proud, keep her brother out of trouble, and most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami.

The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And talented. And confident. And cute. So cute. Yami isn’t sure if she likes Bo or if she’s just jealous of her unapologetic nature. Either way, she isn’t ready to make the same mistake again. If word got to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection.

The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do?

Told in a captivating voice that is by turns hilarious, vulnerable, and searingly honest, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School explores the joys and heartaches of living your full truth out loud.

Trigger/Content Warning(s): Racism, Lesbophobia, Homophobia, Attempted Suicide, Forced Outing, Internalized Homophobia, Off-Page Deportations

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*I WAS PROVIDED A DIGITAL GALLEY VIA EDELWEISS+ IN RETURN FOR MY HONEST REVIEW. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION*

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School was a heart-throbbing, emotional and evoking story that hit close to home and immediately captured my heart. Sonora Reyes wrangled in my attention to their book within the first page.

Yamilet, as a character, was someone I could connect and empathize with on multiple levels. For one, I really had to stick myself into a good headspace when reading, due to the internalized homophobia Yami consistently felt and faced in her new circumstances. Having an ex-friend that previously outted her, we’re thrown into the after-effects of Yamilet switching schools and facing the trials and tribulations anyone has to face when stepping into a new environment–let alone one that is predominantly white, extremely strict in policy and judgment, and so forth.

Yami’s put under a lot of pressure and has to hold up a lot of responsibility, being parentified in a way after her mother tells her to look out for her younger brother and keep him out of trouble. For one, while I really loved seeing something like this addressed in books more often, I wasn’t a big fan of how little it was dealt with toward the end of the book. There were a few aspects where it came across as Yami almost being gaslighted in scenes, and when it came time for it to be addressed, it felt brushed off.

As for the side characters in this book, I had a lot of likes and very few dislikes. I had a love-hate relationship with Yamilet’s brother’s development, though it was more so on the love than the dislike. For one, I loved seeing him grow from a person–who felt like he couldn’t express himself for who he was–to a person who realized that he can rely on the people around him and seek them out when he needs help. However, I did feel like the mental health his character dealt with was almost forced into the plot. Personally, it felt like it came out of nowhere, and while Yamilet discovered there had been clues from previous chapters, some of it still didn’t add up to me, and it felt like there needed to be more to tie it to the story. As for Bo and the friends she and Yami shared, I really adored seeing the differences in each of them. They were easy to remember and tell apart, and I truly loved Bo’s personality and development as a whole.

When it comes to Reyes’ writing style, I don’t know how to put into words just how much I truly enjoyed and appreciated it. It came across as a breath of fresh air, something that easily allowed me to fall into the story and truly appreciate, understand and experience what I was reading. I’ve been seeking that out in my recent reads, and I’ll never get enough of having writing styles that allow for that.

Lastly, I was truly in awe of the plot of this book. I was certainly surprised about a certain detail between Yamilet and her father versus Yamilet and her mother, as I thought it would go in a specific direction. To my surprise, the author turned us readers onto a completely opposite path, and I wasn’t upset or distraught by it at all. In fact, I think it really made the story better because of it. This story holds pain, it holds truth and it holds love. Those are things that books are carrying within them moreso nowadays, and I love seeing them well-written and thoroughly incorporated. Along with that, I was really happy with the ending we were given, which is something I can’t too often say.

Overall, I did love this book. I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it since finishing, and it’s one I can see myself returning to in the future. For that, I rate it four stars.

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DELETEBorn and raised in Arizona, Sonora Reyes writes fiction full of queer and Latinx characters in a variety of genres, with current projects in both kidlit and adult categories. Sonora currently lives in Arizona in a multi-generational family home with a small pack of dogs who run the place. Outside of writing, Sonora loves dancing, singing karaoke, and playing with their baby niblings.



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