This is such a delightful and entertaining YA rom com, with amazing representation and authentic characters! Highly recommended for anyone looking for a light-hearted read that at the same time discusses important themes and deals with many of the issues queer teenagers struggles with in a real way.
The story follows sixteen-year-old Darcy Phillips who gives anonymous relationship advice to her high school peers via ‘Locker 89’. Darcy is openly bisexual and has a wonderful supportive group of friends and family, especially her sister (my absolute favorite person in this story!). But she could nevertheless really need some of her own relationship advice about how to tell her best friend, Brooke, that she’s been secretly in love with her for forever. Especially when she can’t help herself from meddling in Brooke’s dating life out of jealousy. Or when things take a turn for the worse when the school hottie and swim star Alexander Brougham sees her opening locker 89 and blackmails her into being her own private relationship coach in the strive to win his ex-girlfriend back.
There were so many things I loved about this book, like the wonderful relationship between Darcy and her older transgender sister Ainsley (and the fact in itself that Ainsley was transgender but it wasn’t made into a big deal), the insightful discussions about internal biphobia and how bisexual people aren’t ‘queer enough’ if they’re in a relationship with someone of the opposite gender, all the representation including gay, lesbian, pansexual, ace and non-binary characters (to name a few), and the great dialogues. I loved the funny bantering and authentic dialogues, and how the teenage friendships were described. It was all so well done in the way issues such as crushes, jealousy, insecurity, finding your true self and where you belong, were addressed.
I must admit though that it took me a long time to root for Darcy. Normally I love flawed characters, but here I had problems connecting with her because she didn’t feel fleshed out enough for me to accept some of the double standards she had and because I just couldn’t understand her motivations at times. And the relationship with, and Darcy’s secret crush on, her best friend Brooke never felt completely believable, there was something off with the dynamics there for me. But kudos to Sophie Gonzales for not being afraid of showing Darcy’s lesser likable sides, like her selfishness, jealousy and pettiness, and for the amazing character development she let her (and some of the other characters, especially Brougham) undergo. No matter how cliché it might be, I do have a soft spot for missunderstood bad boys with hidden good hearts, so after a rough start Brougham really won me over...
All in all, this was such a delightful, sweet, adorkable and wonderful YA story that embraced and showed an amazing array of queer characters who all felt authentic and real, and opened up for important discussions about biphobia at the same time as it was a fast-paced, light-hearted and addictive read. Highly recommended!
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Rhiannon Wilde River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez