She Loves You, She Loves You Not by Julie Anne Peters
This compelling story is Peters’ newest novel and will not disappoint her loyal readers. It describes the rocky journey of Alyssa, a seventeen-year-old high school senior who desperately wants to “come out” as a lesbian to her family and share about her love for her girlfriend Sarah. Readers learn her story slowly, in a series of flashbacks, but we know something terrible happened that caused her father to disown her and send her to live with the mother she hasn’t seen since she was a baby. The story opens with Alyssa poking around Carly’s (her mother’s) closet, asking herself: “What does a stripper keep in her closet? The left side is packed with low-cut tops, short skirts, and dresses. No real skankwear.” Readers learn quickly that Alyssa jumps to a number of conclusions about the mom, most of them negative and many of them false. Trying to gain her independence, she gets a job at a local coffee shop, where everyone recognizes her as “Carly’s girl” by her their similar good looks. Not surprisingly, some of them jump to the same types of wrong conclusions about Alyssa that she made about her mom herself. And then there is her intriguing coworker, Finn, who doesn’t even seem to realize that she is gay just like Alyssa.
Readers watch as Alyssa slowly learns about herself and her mom. The story unfolds slowly, but never drags due to its compelling first person narration. I recommend this to all teen readers, especially fans of characters who are discovering who they are, and fans of writers Julie Anne Peters, Alex Sanchez, Lauren Myracle, and David Levithan.