Both of these books are f/f books and therefore I thought it’d be fun to review them together!
Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.
When Sana and her family move to California she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore anymore.
Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy… what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated.
When I started reading this book, I got really excited because it was compared to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before meets Love, Simon but then f/f. And to be honest, it couldn’t live up to those expectations. It’s Not Like It’s A Secret is about the Japanese-American Sana who moves and goes to a new school, where she falls for the cross-country runner Jamie.
Things I really enjoyed was the representation of culture in the story. Sana is Japanese and Jamie is latina, and their culture is a large part of their identity and life. The characters deal with a lot of racism and this is also a large part of the story. Though all of it is addressed and it’s an important topic to discuss, it’s not very fun to constantly be faced with it. Another thing that annoyed me a lot was how at about three-quarters in, the main character was acting really shitty. *SPOILERS IN WHITE* She treats people terribly, is racist, and cheats, and also there’s the father-who-cheats storyline.
Overall, I really liked the story, the main character is awkward and relatable and the intersection between LGBT+ and culture was really nice to read about, BUT there were a lot of aspects that really annoyed me and made me feel very conflicted. Therefore I’m rating it 3.5 stars. If you’re looking for a diverse LGBT+ story, this might be for you.
“Gaman isn’t just about enduring hardship in silence—and it’s not about backing down. It’s about stepping up and choosing which hardship you endure. And enduring it with grace because of something important, like honor, or family. Or someone important. Like Jamie.”
Representation: Japanese-American lesbian MC, Latina lesbian MC.
Kyle Blake likes plans. So far, they’re pretty simple: Finish her senior year of high school, head off to a good college, find a cute boyfriend, graduate, get a good job, get married, the whole heterosexual shebang. Nothing is going to stand in the way of that plan. Not even Stella Lewis.
Stella Lewis also has a plan: Finish her senior year as cheer captain, go to college, finally let herself flirt with (and maybe even date) a girl for the first time and go from there.
Fate has other plans for Kyle and Stella when they’re paired up in their AP English class and something between them ignites. It’s confusing and overwhelming and neither of them know what to do about it. One thing they do know is that their connection can’t be ignored. The timing just isn’t right.
But is there ever a good time for falling in love?
Style is an f/f book about Stella and Kyle and they fall in love. The thing about Style is, it’s very cute and adorable, but there’s literally no plot outside of the romance storyline. There are rarely any scenes in which the characters are not thinking about each other, about their sexual orientation or talking to anyone else outside about topics that are not love. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s just not my thing. There’s no conflict whatsoever, everything just goes… well. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that it’s uninteresting, but it just lacks a whole lot of plot to give it some substance.
The characters are really fun but I also found myself being constantly confused about which perspective I was reading from. Perhaps that has something to do with the author constantly using “she” and “I” in dialogue and not often (enough) names, but whenever I was reading dialogue I had to use the context to try to find out who was saying what. That was just very annoying and I wish the characters had a more distinct voice.
Overall, it was a very cute story, light and conflictless, and I think it’s definitely fun if you’re into that kind of thing, but it’s not really something I’d read often. This book is more NA than YA probably and I liked that it had a really sex-positive note (even though I couldn’t relate to the characters at all on that point). If you do like f/f romance, this might be a better fit with you than with me.
(note: there’s a lot of calling Stella a bitch which was very annoying and not necessary at all)
“She stroked my face and I wondered if it was possible for your heart to stop and still live.”
Representation: lesbian MC with disability (limp), lesbian MC.