STARRED REVIEW
August 2017

When home looks different

By Brandy Colbert
Review by

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.

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BookPage Teen Top Pick, August 2017

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 relationships with her family and her lesbian best friend DeeDee, she also struggles to name her own emerging sexuality. Is 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.

 

Jill Ratzan is a sharer of stories, an organizer of information, and a fan of traditions and technologies.

This article was originally published in the August 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Little & Lion

Little & Lion

By Brandy Colbert
Little, Brown
ISBN 9780316349000

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