The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School is a shining example of why, even as a 53-year-old woman, I am so passionately in love with the YA genre as a whole, and queer YA in particular. The depth of emotion found in contemporary YA rivals most of their adult counterparts, and Sonora Reyes’s debut YA novel brought this reader to tears on several occasions.
The protagonist of our story is Yamilet, a teenager trying to find her way through life at her new predominantly white, predominantly affluent Catholic private school. This change of school is a fresh start for Yami and her younger brother, Cesar, who was always getting in fights at their old school. Yami is still recovering from being outed by her former best friend, and now strives to keep her sexuality a secret from her family and classmates. She knows that she wants to come out to the important people in her life, but her first attempt was not well received, so she retreats back into the safety of the closet.
Let me express how much I adored all of the players in this book. Yami herself is the perfect combination of awkward, loyal, and loveable, and is much stronger than she realizes. Cesar…I just wanted to wrap him up in a blanket of mama bear love and tell him that he is perfect just the way he is, and that he is worthy of all of the love in the world. Yami’s love interest, Bo, the only openly queer student at Yami’s new school, is bold and outspoken but still trying to figure out where she fits as the Chinese daughter of white parents. Reyes portrays all of the characters in this book with honesty, and allows them each to be relentlessly authentic, not in spite of their perceived flaws, but because of them. It is a celebration of love and friendship and acceptance, and I hope it speaks not just t young people, but to people of all ages who struggle to be seen and loved just as they are.
Thank you to Pride Book Tours, NetGalley and Balzer & Bray for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.