Author: Julie Ann Peters
Genres: young adult, romance, contemporary, LGBT fiction
Length: 250 pages
My rating: 4.5 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
With a steady boyfriend, the position of Student Council President, and a chance to go to an Ivy League college, high school life is just fine for Holland Jaeger. At least it seems to be. But when Cece Goddard comes to school, everything changes. Cece and Holland have undeniable feelings for each other, but how will others react to their developing relationship? This moving love story between two girls is a worthy successor to Nancy Garden’s classic young adult coming out novel, Annie on My Mind. With her characteristic humor and breezy style, Peters has captured the compelling emotions of young love.
Julie Ann Peters books have been on my radar for quite some time now and I can’t believe I waited this long to read one! Keeping you a secret was a wonderful experience for me, and I’m now putting all her past/future books on my TBR list. It had all the things I love about a great contemporary YA read. Let’s see.
1. Super likeable main character. I pretty much loved Holland from page one. Her voice sucked me in immediately and I ended up reading the whole book in one sitting. She’s just so real and easy to relate to. Not just for LGBT teens, but for everyone. She’s strong and funny and she grows so much by the end. One of my favourite quotes from the very beginning of the book shows exactly why I liked her:
The guy with the serious orange spike and nostril ring was in my calc class. Winslow Demming. I remembered him from computer science sophomore year, except back then Winslow was a geek. Brilliant, though. And sweet. Another reminder why people shouldn’t be judged on appearance.
2. A romance to root for. Cece was really cool, and these two made me go ‘awwwwwww’ a lot. My only complaint with the book would also be the romance though. It was just a tiny bit too fast for me. I wouldn’t call it insta love (which I still hate) but I wouldn’t have minded some more time getting to know Cece before Holland started falling so hard for her.
3. Supporting characters who stole my heart. Mostly Holland’s ‘weird’ stepsister. I use the term weird loosely here because it’s really subjective, and I’m the last person to call ANYONE weird. Let’s just say she doesn’t fit in with the ‘cool crowd’ in high school. Which of course meant I was going to like her from the start. Same goes for Winslow. You can never have enough quirky characters in one book in my opinion.
4. Characters I loved to hate. Holland’s mother. She was pretty much the worst kind of parent even before she had to deal with Holland’s sexuality, but her reaction to that really sealed the deal for me. I don’t want to spoil anything here, but you’ll see. In the meantime, here’s a quote that sums her up nicely:
“You could’ve been finishing these instead of whatever that is.” She pointed to my tablet, which was open at the bottom of my bed. Had I left it open? “Why in the world are you taking art? What a waste of time.”
5. Characters I was conflicted about. Seth, Holland’s boyfriend. To say my opinion changed about this guy every other page would be an understatement. On one hand, it was obvious he genuinely cared about Holland and you can’t help but feel at least a little sorry for him considering everything that happens. On the other hand, he just got on my nerves a lot. He was pushy, and pressuring a girl about sex is NEVER OK. And pressuring her to go the same college as you so you can maybe end up together in the distant future? Yeah… I don’t think so.
6. A not too neat ending. As much as I like an uplifting/happy ending, in books like this it’s just too unrealistic to expect everyone is magically going to be OK with everything by the end and we’ll all get along nicely. In this case, the ending doesn’t tie everything up but it did leave me satisfied.
Overall I really really loved this book, and I’m so looking forward to more Julie Ann Peters. I highly recommend this to everyone who’s looking for a great contemporary read. Luna is next on my TBR, please tell me it’s just as good.