Phenomenal! Once again Julie Anne Peters had managed to create an amazing book that doesn't just speak to lesbians but to females of all ages. Peters's latest book, grl2grl is comprised of 10 short stories:
Passengers is a story about two girls who go to the same school for the past five years and never speak to one another. The only contact they make is a 20-second stare-down everyday on the train. Tamlyn is popular and into the latest trends; Andrea is the exact opposite. There are so many places Peters could have taken this story, but I don't think any of them would have ended up being quite as good as this one.
To go or not to go is the main theme of Can't Stop the Feeling. Mariah desperately wants to go to her GSA but taking that first step and actually going in is the hardest part. She makes up a plan with an excuse just so she can walk in and walk back out if she wants.
I was really excited when I got a private message from Jeff asking me to do an interview with Julie Anne Peters. Originally I declined because I was too nervous and scared; after all I'm 15 year old who has no experience at doing any kind of interview. Eventually I asked Jeff if the offer was still good, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up on.
I can still remember the day I picked up Keeping You a Secret; it was Saturday August 5, 2006. KYAS (as many people refer to it) is the one GLBT themed book that has made the greatest impact on my life. To this day it is STILL my favourite book even a year later and after reading about 20 other GLBT themed books.
Julie has written 5 teen/young adult books: Keeping You a Secret, Luna, Between Mom and Jo, Far From Xanadu, and Define Normal. All of which are pretty great. My dog liked Define Normal the best; he ate all the corners of it.
The interview was done via e-mail, which wasn't bad because it meant I could take time, think of questions, consult my friends at lunch and consult Jeff.
Even though it was done via e-mail, her personality still managed to come out. She would e-mail me to let me know the answers were coming soon, and best of all actually, spell my name properly which is always a bonus when you spell a normal name a weird way.
By Jeff Walsh
In Keeping You A Secret, Julie Anne Peters doesn't waste much time in setting up the two main characters. On the very first page, Holland sees the T-Shirt of a new girl, Cece, across the hall from her high school locker. Holland's stomach "flutter"s when she first sees the new girl and ponders the meaning of the letters on her shirt, IMRU? Am I what? Holland wonders to herself. The rest of the book explores that question.
Holland is a driven student, taking extra courses, staying up at all hours to do homework, serving as student body president, waking up early to swim laps, and working in a day care after school for extra money. But none of it seems to be her choice, let alone her desire. She just slogs through every day on autopilot doing everything that is expected of her. Her mother even turns a blind eye to Holland having sex with her boyfriend, as long as they're being careful. In just a few short months, high school will be over and the rest of her life can begin, although she doesn't seem to have much interest in finishing applications for college either.
By Jeff Walsh
Once again, Julie Anne Peters has written an engaging book with a young narrator. But in "Between Mom and Jo," Nick isn't struggling with his sexuality, but with the eventual breakup of his lesbian parents. He calls his biological mother "Mom," and her partner "Jo," but they both raised him.
The book starts before the breakup, but we see it coming. Mom is the provider in the house, who keeps everything going, whereas Jo can't hold down a job and sometimes drinks. There are issues between Jo and her in-laws, who haven't interacted much since the commitment ceremony. The whole situation is a powder keg, but when it comes to Nick, everyone is united in their love for him, and wanting to do what's best.
He gets teased at school about being a freak raised by freaks. At 14, he is also at the age where he's difficult to handle because of his own sexuality and emotions. When Mom and Jo finally break up, the situation meant to be better for everyone doesn't really work out that way.
By Jeff Walsh
Every night, Regan wakes up to find her sibling Luna in her bedroom, standing in front of her mirror. Every night, Luna wears a different dress and talks about her future as she applies different makeup and wigs.
Every morning, Regan has breakfast with the family, and her brother Liam sits there quiet and withdrawn. Only Regan knows that Liam is transgender, that her brother is really her sister.
Luna's name, Spanish for moon, is appropriate given it is the only time of day that she feels whole, not having to pretend to be a boy, which is getting more difficult. She has to use her sister's bedroom at night, because she longer has mirrors in her room, or else she will constantly keep catching glances of the boy she has to pretend to be.