cover image The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School

Sonora Reyes. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-306023-4

Transferring to a new school should mean a fresh start for 16-year-old Mexican American lesbian Yamilet Flores, one that she desperately needs after being outed at her old school by her crush and ex-best-friend. Luckily, her mother didn’t find out, and since no one at her new school knows she’s queer, Yami plans to keep it that way. But Slayton Catholic presents new problems: her mother expects Yami to watch over her younger brother Cesar, who is navigating depression; the student body is overwhelmingly white; and it’s difficult to keep her re-closeted mouth shut around the homophobia that’s seemingly baked into the curriculum. Slayton’s only bright spot is outspoken Chinese American lesbian Bo Taylor, the only openly queer person at school. But if Yami wants to maintain her relationship with her mother, getting to know another lesbian, let alone dating one, isn’t an option. Reyes’s hopeful debut excels in its honest depiction of family dynamics, highlighting Yami’s sense of responsibility for Cesar and her loving but tense relationship with her mother. As the narrative vulnerably tackles difficult subjects such as intolerant religious institutions and living with mental illness, Yami’s sardonic voice adds levity and heart. Ages 13–up. Agent: Alexandra Levick, Writers House. (May)