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Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit Hardcover – August 30, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Brown orchestrates a fast-paced narrative that is powerful, moving, and relatable. Jo Gordon, a proudly queer teen, has recently been uprooted from her home in Atlanta to a more rural part of the state during her senior year of high school. Her father also has recently remarried, is a man of faith, and has asked her to keep her sexuality hidden from the greater community. Jo manages to make friends and discovers an unexpected romance but is torn between love and the commitment she made to her father. Readers are then left to follow Jo and her friends as they attempt to navigate unfamiliar terrain that challenges ideals surrounding faith and sexuality. This work will resonate with those who enjoy a female protagonist who is bold, brave, candid, and thoughtful. The language is realistic, and the author accurately captures queer and Southern cultures. Themes such as deception, trust, and sexuality are present throughout. Brown expertly describes the complex nuances of faith and sexuality. This plot-driven story is humorous, and the characters are effortlessly likable. Teens who root for underdogs will be pulling for this dream team of characters. VERDICT For fans of Sandy Hall's Been Here All Along and David Levithan and John Green's Will Grayson, Will Grayson; this title is a worthwhile purchase for all YA collections.—Katie Flynn, Williston Northampton School, MA
★ “Funny, thoughtful, compassionate Jo is a delightful narrator. Frank portrayals of swearing, sexual activity, underage drinking, etc., neither titillate nor condemn; they just depict teens being authentic teens. A sweet, sexy, honest teen romance that just happens to involve two girls—all the more charming for being so very ordinary.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
★“Faith matters in this book, but so do family, friends, and being funny. The dialogue is snappy—Joanna is sharp tongued and sometimes bratty—and the characters aren’t types. Rather, they’re individuals navigating a complicated world, which makes for a rich and satisfying read.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
★ “A fast-paced narrative that is powerful, moving, and relatable. Brown expertly describes the complex nuances of faith and sexuality. This plot-driven story is humorous, and the characters are effortlessly likable. For fans of David Levithan and John Green’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Brown crafts a charming and unexpected hit. Readers will appreciate the compelling characters, the humor, and the romance of the novel. Anyone who enjoys the writing of John Green or Rainbow Rowell will find a sense of familiarity in Brown’s writing, and will be left longing for more.” (Teenreads.com)
“This story is fun and funny with characters to root for (and against). But it’s more than just fun; it’s full of heart. I hope this book finds it way into the hands of anyone, teens especially, who wonder how they can bridge the gap between faith and sexuality.” (Afterellen.com)
PRAISE FOR NO PLACE TO FALL: “I was completely smitten.” (Robin Constantine, author of The Promise of Amazing)
“Hits a chord with the dreamer in all of us.” (Megan Shepherd, author of The Madman’s Daughter)
“Debut author Brown is off to a wonderful start with authentic characters who speak in true voices. Amber could be the best friend you had in high school—she’s absolutely the real deal, and readers will clamor for another well-paced story featuring her and her friends.” (School Library Journal)
“Southern charm oozes off the page.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Lyrically written with a deep sense of place and music. There is so much joy within the pages that the sorrow hits hard and emotions rise and fall and rise again like a vocalist running scales.” (ALA Booklist)
“Brown makes a small town in North Carolina—where everyone knows everyone, and the outside world comes in via Appalachian Trail hikers—feel real, but the heart of the story is Amber, as she tries to find herself, love, and her voice.” (Publishers Weekly)
“The writing shines when Amber describes the feelings that singing awakens in her. One could wish for an accompanying soundtrack.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
Top customer reviews
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The main characters romance is beautifully done between Jo & Mary Carlson. This book goes much deeper than young first love though. The writer captures the hardships of being gay in the south, especially Rome, GA.
What had me captivated was Jo's moral compass & how she navigates new love, friendship, expectations, following her dreams, faith, family & often times, really screwing up while trying to do what is right. Jo makes some poor choices and she is flawed, real & absolutely wonderful. All the characters are wonderfully layered & unforgettable. And my goodness how beautifully strong Mary is! She's amazing as well.
The author does a fabulous job of writing characters you love to pull for & a supporting cast that you will love to root for. You will fall in love with them all, especially BTB. 🐘🐘 You will understand once you read it too. What are you waiting for? I promise you will not regret it & will be mesmerized by these indelible characters.
However, Jo's cover backfires when she falls for the nicest, straightest good girl in the school - who happens to be a flaming closeted lesbian.
This was...not what I expected. First of all, I expected Joanna's dad and stepmom to be bigoted, but they were extremely open minded and cool with her sexuality. Also, I found myself shouting at Jo a lot more than I thought I would. Closeted teenager in high school? Been there, done that, bought the tshirt. But Jo's continuous clinging to her cover story, even with her new girlfriend, causes a lot of pain to both of them that could easily have been avoided. I know that she has at least somewhat pure intentions part of the time, but often she's just being selfish and cruel. (Fair enough, says I. She's a teenager and her life is complicated. If she'd been perfect, this book would have been a lot shorter. Still, a lot of the angst seems unnecessary.)
This is a very cute story, dealing with faith and queerness as well as high school drama, homophobia, and parent-child relationships. I really liked it, and only lament the utter Christiancentrism of it, which was ultimately unavoidable.
His postulate is now the way many people do think of LGBT : people who want committed relationships, a meaningful relationship with God, marriage, and family. LGBT people are fundamentally people who want mainly what "straight" people want.
But - especially in the Bible belt of rural America - bigotry based on fundamentalist biblical interpretation is not a hypothetical problem for either LGBT kids or their parents. For those that are LGBT, there is tension between city and country, fundamentalist and main-stream theology, public life and home life.
This isn't written as literary fiction. It's a romance. However, this book explores heavier themes of Lesbianism and faith with skill and compassion.
More than a love story (although it is awesome at that, too!), this is really a story about faith and acceptance and being true to yourself in spite of the huge pressures of family and society. It will really appeal to LGBTQ teens in the same boat, but it's as powerful a book for allies who want to support their friends.