From my Pride Reads list 2022, here’s Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake, #1 in the Bright Falls series! I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Kristen DiMercurio, which I very much enjoyed.
In this sapphic rom-com featuring a lesbian and a bi woman as MCs and a medium-sized cast of other queer characters as well as a few token straights who are on thin ice (shoutout to Grant for bein’ a solid dude), complicated family histories take centre stage as Delilah Green returns, unwillingly, to her hometown of Bright Falls. (This, by the way, delighted me as I’d only recently completed playing a video game expansion that connects Control to the Bright-Falls-set Alan Wake games. But thankfully there’s no intrusive, horrible Darkness to be found in this story — if you’re not counting bad memories.) Delilah carries a lot of baggage from her childhood — and it’s only now, at her step-sister’s wedding, that she realises she’s not the only one.
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“Well… I think we should resume our ‘mutually beneficial exchange of energy…’ on an exclusive basis.”— Astrid, Something Like Love
From my Pride Reads list 2022, here’s Something Like Love by Christina C. Jones, #6 in the Serendipitous Love series! I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Sean Crisden and Wesleigh Siobhan, which was a great experience.
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A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.— Meryl Wilsner, Something To Talk About
Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time – threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie. As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.
Don’t go into Something To Talk About expecting any fake dating or there was only one bed tropes. STTA is, at its core, slow burn, with all that that entails: miscommunication (or outright failure to communicate) and misunderstandings, 10 Reasons Why We Cannot Be Together, and pining. So much pining.
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“I wanted her to change my world.”— Gabby Rivera, JULIET TAKES A BREATH
“Mi amor, only you can change your world.”
An excellent story about a young queer woman from the Bronx who goes to Portland for the summer to find a new love, White Feminism, and the joy of community. Rivera’s grasp on setting the scene and bringing environments to life is masterful.
The Coming Out
Juliet Takes A Breath begins with tears. During her goodbye dinner, Juliet comes out to her family, and it ends as one might expect. Her father says nothing, her mother locks herself in her room, crying, and makes it all about her “shame.” Throughout the novel, Juliet’s mom is a well of all the things straight people say: ‘it’s just a phase,’ ‘you just haven’t met the right boy,’ ‘you don’t know what love is yet.’ It’s frustrating as hell, especially as Juliet struggles and needs her mother to be there for her. Juliet’s mom says she loves her, but that Juliet has to forgive her for not being able to accept ‘what she told her’ — and that’s a nice euphemism for ‘who her daughter is in her heart.’
Juliet arrives in Portland, OR, still heartbroken and heartsick, too: her girlfriend, Laney, is also doing a summer internship, in D.C., and Juliet hasn’t heard from her since before her flight. No calls, not even a damn text.
And then, we meet Harlowe. Oh my God, Harlowe.
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I didn’t touch the audiobook for a couple days after the first chapter with her, because I could not stop rolling my eyes after everything she said. This could have become a Did Not Finish, but I had too much affection for Juliet and too much curiosity about the story to leave it there.