Pulp

Robin Talley. Harlequin Teen, $18.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-335-01290-6
In 1955, aspiring author Janet, a sheltered teen living in Washington, D.C., has no words for what she feels for her best friend, Marie, and she’s living through the Lavender Scare that forced LGBTQ people out of government jobs. When she finds a lesbian novel at a bus station, she’s inspired to write one herself. Sixty-two years later, high school senior Abby lives in the same city; her love life is hard because her girlfriend dumped her, not because anyone disapproves. Abby has long written fan fiction, and when she discovers lesbian pulp novels from the 1950s and early ’60s, she’s enthralled and sets out to examine the genre. The books are rule-bound—the women must straighten out or die tragically—but one tells a love story that Abby can’t stop thinking about, particularly because she’s trying to understand whether love can last. Talley (Our Own Private Universe) toggles effectively between excerpts from Janet’s book, the two women’s lives, and Abby’s research as the stories draw together. Though secondary characters feel underdrawn, the tale is original and delivers some interesting LGBTQ history, and the tone of the novels within it is pleasantly pulpy. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/08/2018
Release date: 11/13/2018
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