I received a copy of this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Actual Rating: 4.5/5 stars"Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to manipulate the raw landscape into some preconceived idea of what nature should look like. Goosebumps trickle across the back of my neck as I realize that's exactly what they're going to do to me."
When I first read the synopsis, there was no question I was going to read this book. I had a lot of expectations going in, but Jess Verdi managed to squash a lot of those expectations and give me something I wasn't quite looking for.
This book is centered around a girl, Lexi, who is gay. She lives in a small town where being gay is just not done and has spent her whole life hiding who she is from everyone - including her family. When her grief-stricken mother, who is not dealing with the death of her husband well, finds Lexi's secret notebook and realizes her daughter's deepest secret, she reacts (in a word) badly. A visit to her church leads her to an expensive and intensive 8 week summer camp program that will 'cure' being gay. Lexi, wanting to have her mother and the only family she has left back, agrees to go.
Now, here's why I loved this book. Obviously, we have tough issues - which I love. But I was expecting a character who was either A) unsure of if she was actually gay or not (and Lexi is not, she has known since a young age - it is just a part of her identity) or B) belligerent and unaccepting of being sent to this place to change who she is as a person (which, she also is not). Lexi is willing to try this therapy for the sake of her mom. She isn't vocal about who she is as a gay woman, mostly due to the fact that she's been hiding it her whole life. She doesn't want to change because she doesn't like herself, but because she thinks it is the right thing for others in her life. This really made Lexi a pliable character - one who could ask tough questions throughout the book as she goes through the reparative therapy. Unlike her friend Matthew, who is "all the way gay", Lexi starts out wanting to try. And that just made me really connect with her, especially when she asked the tough questions about what it means to be who you are.
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Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Really, really good.
Review to come!