Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert
“Ever since their families merged eight years ago, Suzette and Lionel have been inseparable siblings. She calls him Lion; he calls her Little. Suzette and her mother, Nadine, are African- American, while Lionel and his father, Saul, are white. Suzette and Nadine converted to Judaism as they embraced Saul’s traditions, and all four have celebrated Shabbat every Friday night ever since.
But when Lionel was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year, Suzette was sent to boarding school in the Northeast. Her parents expected this separation to help her live her own life, undistracted by her brother’s needs, but no one, including Suzette herself, expected her to fall in love at school…with her roommate, another girl.
Now back in Los Angeles for the summer, Suzette has a lot of adjusting to do. What does Lionel need from her, and what is she willing to give? As she renews her relationship with her family and her lesbian best friend DeeDee, she also struggles to name her own emerging sexuality. I she bisexual if she’s attracted to both the hypnotic Rafaela a Latina co-worker at her summer job, and Emil, a half-black, half-Korean boy?
Told in a combination of present-day narration and flashbacks, Little & Lion is simultaneously a quick read and a thoughtful one. Navigating intersectional identities is never easy, and author Brandy Colbert doesn’t shy away from details of mental health, racism and how these issues affect friendships and families. This is an intense, readable and highly recommended choice. ”
Review bu Jill Ratzan
More honorable mentions from BookPage include:
The Library of Fates By Aditi Khorana
When ruthless Emperor Sikander announces his impending visit to Shalingar, Princess Amrita knows she’ll be required to marry him. Though her heart breaks to give up her family, her home and her first love, she knows it is a worthy sacrifice to protect her people. However, when the visit takes a tragic turn and Amrita finds herself losing much more than she’d bargained for, she sets out on a desperate journey to save what is left–and maybe undo the past.
Aditi Khorana’s second novel, The Library of Fates, is a lovely coming-of-age story rooted in Indian folklore and infused with romance. The primary strength of the novel is the deep, lush world Khorana has built, vividly painting the beauty of Shalingar and juxtaposing it against the political turmoil of the empire.
Princess Amrita is admirable in her utter selflessness, yet still relatable in her teenage ideologies and naivete, as she seeks out her destiny and shoulders the safety of her entire empire in the face of devastating loss. Though not quite fully developed, the mystical characters who guide Amrita–an orcal, a vetala and members of the cave-dwelling Sybillines–are colorful additions to the rich tapestry of the novel.
The Library of Fates is a perfect read for the lazy days of late summer. Khorana will take readers on a page turning journey with a surprising yet wholly satisfying resolution.
Review by Sarah Weber
First We Were IV By Alexandra Sirowy
Best friends Izzie, Graham, Viv and Harry know their idyllic California town harbors secrets–specifically the cover-up of a teen girl’s murder five years ago–so they start a secret society intent on carrying out revenge and justice. Dubbing themselves the order of the IV, the group tests the waters with small pranks until their antics bring the unwanted attention of the popular clique. But as the Order grows and the pranks dangerously intensify, the friends must navigate their love for one another amid the deep hatred they feel for their targets of revenge.
Alexandra Sirowy uses creepy imagery to peel back the layers of a quaint, coastal town to reveal it’s seedy core and to bring this twisty ride to it’s inevitable yet shocking conclusion. Narrated through Izzie’s haunting first- person point of view, the original Order struggles to remain true to themselves and the tight bonds they’ve formed, even as their plan to topple corrupt adults goes horribly wrong.
Review by Kimberly Giarratano
Wicked Like a Wildfire By Lana Popovic
Twins Iris and Malina have a special gift, or “gleam,” but it must be hidden from the world. In their small town on the coast of Montenegro, this means the sisters had to stop using their witchy gifts when they became too strong. Iris is naturally aware of people’s scents and shapes–gleaning important information from her observations. Malina’s gift for hearing emotions as music allows the sisters to evaluate who is to be trusted, and who to fear. Over the years, Iris’ skills have deteriorated with lack of practice, and unfortunately, so has her relationship with the twins’ secretive mother, Jasmina. But when a vicious attack leaves their mother technically dead-yet mysteriously alive–the sisters must unearth the wild truth of their heritage.
Though the revelations about the twins’ background are somewhat murky, the power of their love–for themselves, their mother and their respective love interests–is movingly portrayed. A cliffhanger ending and layered, likable characters will leave readers gear for what’s next in this unique new series from debut author Lana Popovic.
Review by Annie Metcalf
Some others found in BookPage include:
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