Monday, August 28, 2017

5 Reasons to Read Little & Lion

Title: Little & Lion
Author: Brandy Colbert
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: August 8th, 2017!

*I picked up a copy of this at ALA annual.

Buy It: Amazon

From Goodreads...
When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn't sure if she'll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new...the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel's disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself--or worse.



1. It's intersectional. Suzette (aka Little) is black, Jewish, and bisexual. Her life is vibrant and messy and full and complicated, and I appreciated the way that the author explored it. A few reviews mentioned how she gets the teenage (and just life in general) experience, that sometimes it's so many things at once, and not just a specific issue or situation. I agree, and I thought everything was handled with care and sensitivity, that nothing ever felt unimportant or unnecessary. Though the story COULD have been longer, I felt that Suzette's personal journey was still at the forefront, even amid everything else.

2. It's queer-centric. Not only is Suzette bisexual, but her best friend is a lesbian (and is dating a lesbian). The love interest of both Little & Lion is pansexual. There are a lot of characters, and this book does so well at showing the variations of relationships. There is also much focus on sexuality, as Suzette isn't even sure if she IS bi. Did she just like her previous girlfriend and her new coworker and is actually straight? Or is she really attracted to guys and girls? It accepts this by having open conversations between the MC and other people in her life. Her parents are also supportive of Suzette 100%. So suffice it to say, I was very happy with the rep here.

3. It's full of family love. Suzette's parents are so damn cute and in love with each other. They are so understanding and kind, and they try very hard to give their kids freedom but not at the cost of their health. And Suze became fast friends with Lionel, who is by all counts her stepbrother even if her mother and Saul aren't actually married. But it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Relationships are complicated, and Brandy Colbert totally gets that. While they've got each other's backs, Suzette and Lionel both have to learn just how much secrets can spiral out of control. And they're both going through their own shit, and are trying to figure out who they are, separately and together. But their bond is still strong, and I loved that they had each other.

4. It's got a focus on mental health. I'm always here for books that have a strong mental health aspect, especially if it's positive. Meaning all books like this will resonate with people differently, as mental illness is so nuanced. But there are definitely ways in which stories can instead feed into negative stereotypes about mental illness, and keep people from seeking help. The author kicks back against this very thing, which was GREAT. Lionel has bipolar disorder, so he's not always a character you're going to like. He's selfish and kind of a disaster. He goes off his meds. He tries to emotionally blackmail Suzette into not telling their parents. But that made it realistic. It shows how mental illness can tell you lies and make your brain attack you. It's important to see the layers, the good and the bad. And I loved Little & Lion for showing that.

5. It's got a cute, sex positive romance. Suzette isn't sure of herself or her sexuality after what happened at her boarding school, and her not-break-up with her roommate. But she still finds a childhood friend super adorable, and decides to give it a chance, even while she's not sure if she's more into her new coworker. And through it all, she's got this sweet guy not pressuring for more than she wants to give, who isn't bothered that she's bisexual, who likes her for her. He is so understanding and caring, and their romance was so great. There is just so much positive here, so much good I can say about their relationship and the book in general. JUST READ IT, GUYS!


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