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Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

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Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees. Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, thing Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees. Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?


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Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees. Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, thing Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees. Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

30 review for Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

  1. 4 out of 5

    Keertana

    Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is not a perfect book, not by any means. In fact, it is so full of plot holes and unnecessary dilemmas that I'm surprised I managed to get through it. But Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit shares some deeply important messages in a thoughtful manner that cannot be ignored--perhaps, especially, in wake of the Orlando tragedy. This is a story of a girl who has already come out to her friends and family in Atlanta but who is asked, by her father and Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is not a perfect book, not by any means. In fact, it is so full of plot holes and unnecessary dilemmas that I'm surprised I managed to get through it. But Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit shares some deeply important messages in a thoughtful manner that cannot be ignored--perhaps, especially, in wake of the Orlando tragedy. This is a story of a girl who has already come out to her friends and family in Atlanta but who is asked, by her father and new stepmother, to conceal her sexual identity in small-town Rome, Georgia where she moves for her senior year of high school. It's a ridiculous set-up because it hardly seems just that a father who supports his daughter regardless of her sexuality would ask her to change herself, but it brings up a host of fascinating points. Firstly, Joanna finds that she doesn't mind being closeted. It's not quite true to herself, but in Rome no one stares at her for her outfits or for her lesbian best friend who flirts with every attractive woman she meets. In Rome she is invisible and as confusing as that is, it's also easier. It turns out that coming out isn't something that happens just once. We treat it that way and think about it as such but in reality, coming out means repeating yourself and re-introducing yourself to every community you find yourself a part of and hoping that they accept you. That if you meet their parents or grandparents that they accept you as well. It's a privilege that non-queer people take for granted and I appreciated that Brown called out the blatant heteronormative society we live in and how harmful that is to our own minds and to LGBTQIAP+ individuals around us. This book calls for further suspension of disbelief since Joanna reveals her secret to a friend of hers whose parents are both lesbian but she can't trust the girl she falls in love with with the same secret. If Joanna had simply communicated better, half this novel would be unnecessary. But Joanna's journey to support a friend in coming out, making her own plan to come out again in Rome, and deal with telling the truth to the people she's become friends with is all such an important path. It's also important for her parents and those around to her to come to terms with her truth, even if they're re-coming to terms with it. Back in Atlanta, people always judged Joanna for her lesbian haircut and outfits and for once in her life, she's surrounding by people judging her for her character and then accepting other facets of her personality. To add to the convoluted plot line, though, we have a hacker lesbian and a manipulative theater lesbian thrown into the mix. I don't feel great about the inclusion of these characters and their lack of depth but I did appreciate that the issues in this book were not resolved overnight and no matter how badly the plot was constructed, it was still dealt with in a realistic manner. What's more, in a strange way the fact that girlfriends can also be manipulative--not just boyfriends--and that girls can be just as jealous as boys can be is normalizing. In some way. What I particularly loved about this book, though, were the relationships. Joanna's relationship with her stepmother evolved throughout the novel to a point where Mother #3 became "mom". Her anger with her father is realistic and festers throughout the story, even though her father has always accepted and supported her decisions. Joanna's new friendships, and especially her romance, are believable and heart-warming and full of swoon. It's just a shame that a host of such fabulous relationships must be against the backdrop of an unbelievable plot, but it works. This book does a REALLY good job of discussing issues that plague queer teenagers and I'm a huge fan of the way that Brown approaches a lot of important topics. Unfortunately, this contains a terribly implausible plot line so if you're prepared to suspend your belief quite a bit, this is going to be a resounding hit. I'd definitely recommend this one, if only for its thoughtful nature, but it isn't stellar as a story by itself without the queer romance at its core.

  2. 4 out of 5

    . (not active on this account stop adding me)

    tw: homophobia (that is very triggering in the last third of the book) and ableism (an intellectually disabled character is constantly belittled and treated like a burden. when others treat him this way it is never disputed by any of the characters). (links to reviews that also mention/discuss the ableism: here and here. you can also find a twitter thread here) tl;dr: While I can understand why people like the romance, I think we should promote other f/f books that aren't ableist. Update: 13th June tw: homophobia (that is very triggering in the last third of the book) and ableism (an intellectually disabled character is constantly belittled and treated like a burden. when others treat him this way it is never disputed by any of the characters). (links to reviews that also mention/discuss the ableism: here and here. you can also find a twitter thread here) tl;dr: While I can understand why people like the romance, I think we should promote other f/f books that aren't ableist. Update: 13th June 2018 Upon further reflection, I feel like I should actually write out/provide evidence for why I disliked this book so much. I'm not good at eloquently putting my thoughts together so stay with me. People have recommended this book to me non-stop for an "f/f thread" I made on Twitter - and while I appreciate the sentiment - I definitely don't think this should be promoted further. If you're looking for a sapphic book about the balance between sexuality/gender and religion, I recommend Dress Codes For Small Towns, which has significantly less homophobia than this novel. I haven't read any own voices disability representation, but Far From You and As I Descended both have main, sapphic characters with a disability. Disclaimer: I do not have an intellectual disability nor am I close to someone who does, but I recommend reading Natasha's review. I do have practical experience working/teaching at a special school with students who have disabilities and seeing the way B.T.B. was depicted as a small child incapable of anything honestly rubbed me the wrong way. Of course, all disabilities are different, but I don't think the stereotypical representation in this was necessary. We'll go chronologically, where B.T.B. is degraded by the main character upon their first interaction: ... I get the feeling that B.T.B. might not be in my honours classes." Was that necessary? It's quickly established that B.T.B is a child incapable of learning on the same level as the main characters. Every time he is spoken to, the other characters treat him as if he's a child or talk slowly as if he can't possibly understand their language. Then we meet the love interest and her group of friends, who proceed to degrade or belittle the main character because they assumed she has an intellectual disability too. After a couple mentions that B.T.B. is incapable of joining in on church/class discussions, there's a line from the love interest where... I'll just let it explain itself: "I unlock our doors and am getting in, when I hear Mary Carlson across the parking lot. "Oh look, B.T.B. Your friend drives a car. If she can do it, I know you can." Again: was is necessary to suggest that intellectually disabled people can't do a single thing for themselves? After this scene, Mary Carlson and her friend group decide to be friends with Joanna (and stop belittling her) because they discovered she doesn't have a learning disability like B.T.B. Great. "'I just thought... well.. since y'all had been hanging out. You must think we're such idiots. Can we start over? Anybody who can put up with Barnum and his incessant elephant talk is destined to be my friend.'" Another thing that Natasha pointed out in her review (and explained it better than I could) is that Mary Carlson acts like B.T.B. is a burden and is forcing her to stay in Rome. I honestly don't get how so many people have just looked past this character literally being a burden to their precious love interest just for existing. Anyway, I understand why people would think that the romance is cute, but I'd suggest finding other books that respectfully include characters with intellectual or physical disabilities.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Elizabeth

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) “Rome, Georgia, is definitely where queer girls go to die.” This was a YA story about a girl who had to pretend to not be gay when moving to a new town with her father. Joanna was a girl who obviously cared about her father enough to hide her sexuality when she was previously very out-in-the open about the fact that she was gay. It really was good of her to do what (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) “Rome, Georgia, is definitely where queer girls go to die.” This was a YA story about a girl who had to pretend to not be gay when moving to a new town with her father. Joanna was a girl who obviously cared about her father enough to hide her sexuality when she was previously very out-in-the open about the fact that she was gay. It really was good of her to do what she did for her father and his reputation, but I disliked the way she lied to people who were very open with her. The storyline in this was about Joanna getting a make-over, and not being openly gay at her new school, and we then got the complication of a romance with another girl who wanted to come out. I really disliked the way that Joanna didn’t seem to be able to know when it was best to be honest about things though, when a simple explanation as to why she was behaving the way she was could have solved things. The ending to this was okay, and I was glad that things worked out in the end. 6.5 out of 10.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dahlia

    Love love loved 1) I always expect them to be tamer than they are, and am always surprised in the best way 2) I love how she draws characters casts - so many great secondaries here, and one of the few great examples in YA of how queer people tend to band together This book is also going to be massively important to queer teens struggling to balance their orientation and religion, and I cannot say enough good about how that was handled here. I Love love loved <3 Two things I've come to realize about Brown's books: 1) I always expect them to be tamer than they are, and am always surprised in the best way 2) I love how she draws characters casts - so many great secondaries here, and one of the few great examples in YA of how queer people tend to band together This book is also going to be massively important to queer teens struggling to balance their orientation and religion, and I cannot say enough good about how that was handled here. I'm going to be recommending this book a lot, I already know, especially since it's one of the very few mainsteam f/f Contemp YAs with an HEA. Such, such, such an important book, and I'm really excited for it to get out into the world.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Proffitt

    Based on some reviews, I had hoped that this would match, or even just approach, the stellar Everything Leads to You (both with lesbian protagonists feeling their way into a lasting relationship). Sadly, I don't think it came particularly close. And when a brick wall materialized on the train track at about the halfway point, I choose to put it down. I just can't stand the heartbreak that became inevitable, even with the promise of the genre that they'd get through it. I had half the book to go Based on some reviews, I had hoped that this would match, or even just approach, the stellar Everything Leads to You (both with lesbian protagonists feeling their way into a lasting relationship). Sadly, I don't think it came particularly close. And when a brick wall materialized on the train track at about the halfway point, I choose to put it down. I just can't stand the heartbreak that became inevitable, even with the promise of the genre that they'd get through it. I had half the book to go and I knew I'd be spending it anticipating the pain, then going through the pain, and the promise of the eventual reconciliation/growth wasn't enough to keep me interested. The thing is, the whole situation has a couple of sloppy contradictions right from the beginning. Jo's dad is the more obvious (not least because Jo's internal dialogue calls him on it) as he supposedly loves and supports Jo for exactly who she is even as he asks her to "pass" for her entire senior year of High School. I'm sorry, but those are contradictory propositions. A senior in HS is mature enough to choose her own course. I could see a concerned father pointing out the difficulties and asking her to consider how "out" she wants to be. But that's not at all how he approached it. And bribing her to conform? No. Just. Hell no. And sadly, Jo herself is as contradictory. It's clear that Jo ran with a rough, druggy, vandalizing (but gay and proud!) group who took pride in being "fringe" and "edgy" and "honest" (or, ahem, "real"). So she makes a deal to fly under the radar for the year and I was hoping to see that strain as she strives to maintain her internal honesty, even while compromising for her dad. So I completely lost all sympathy for her when (view spoiler)[Mary Carlson comes out to Jo and admits having a crush on her, and Jo outright lies to make Mary Carlson believe that Jo is just now figuring out she might be attracted to girls in response. So Jo starts this relationship where they are clearly compatible and where the amazing person she wants to be with is open and honest and taking a risk in doing so. And Jo begins with a pack of lies that are guaranteed to blow up on her in the not-so-very-distant future (hide spoiler)] . So it turns out that Jo isn't so much "honest" or "real" as she is "manipulative" and "stupid". Anyway. When you're on the train and a convenient curve shows a wall built across the tracks, I choose to jump off before the inevitable twisted mass of burning metal becomes my new reality. I'm crazy that way.

  6. 5 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    Rep: lesbian mc, side character with a learning disability So I finished this, then I went and did some other stuff and while doing that other stuff, I realised I have some Thoughts about this book. Hence this mini-review. 1) It's way too long a contemporary book for me. Given that most contemporaries follow the same pattern - meet someone, fall in love, angst it out, make up - 430 pages drags it out for too long. Especially when the first 300 or so pages have not much going on. But maybe that's j Rep: lesbian mc, side character with a learning disability So I finished this, then I went and did some other stuff and while doing that other stuff, I realised I have some Thoughts about this book. Hence this mini-review. 1) It's way too long a contemporary book for me. Given that most contemporaries follow the same pattern - meet someone, fall in love, angst it out, make up - 430 pages drags it out for too long. Especially when the first 300 or so pages have not much going on. But maybe that's just me and my short attention span. 2) All the lesbians introduced besides the love interest and the best friend hate the main character. For no apparent reason. And they also turn out to be bitches/bad influences/manipulative/abusive. Holly's jealous because Jo is Dana's best friend, I'm not even sure why Deidre hates Jo (besides the fact that she [Deidre] is framed as manipulative and borderline abusive). 3) Deidre is an absolute bitch. And I just don't get why this has to be the case. Is it just to show that Jo is the person Mary Carlson should really be with? Deidre is nothing more than a bitch, too. Like, all Jo's friends describe her as is manipulative and good at twisting words. She's so 2D and she then goes and (view spoiler)[outs Jo (hide spoiler)] . I just don't see the point of her at all. 4) The whole thing with her dad saying 'you gotta pretend to be straight' is iffy. I mean, if she herself had decided that, as a self preservation sort of thing, I would understand, but it's not. It's her straight dad telling her she has to act straight, because he, as a preacher, and with a homophobic mother-in-law, doesn't want any shit. B Y E. Anyway, I think that's all. oh and it's a hot mess of ableism too

  7. 5 out of 5

    Danika at The Lesbrary

    It seems like all the lesbian YA I've been waiting for is out this year. This is definitely the first time I've read an inspirational (aka Christian) YA lesbian romance. I loved the writing style, which made me laugh out loud a couple of times at Jo's observations. The premise is interesting: Jo is the out lesbian daughter of a preacher, but when they move to a conservative small town in her senior year, her dad asks her to go back in the closet. She reluctantly agrees. What I found interesting w It seems like all the lesbian YA I've been waiting for is out this year. This is definitely the first time I've read an inspirational (aka Christian) YA lesbian romance. I loved the writing style, which made me laugh out loud a couple of times at Jo's observations. The premise is interesting: Jo is the out lesbian daughter of a preacher, but when they move to a conservative small town in her senior year, her dad asks her to go back in the closet. She reluctantly agrees. What I found interesting was how tempting being closeted was, even for someone who was used to being out. It's torturous, but it also comes with benefits. Jo tells herself she's doing this for her dad, but it's clear that she's also reluctant to let go of the privileges that come with being part of the crowd. I did have some issues with the book, but I realized that those are standard romance tropes, and this really is an inspirational romance book at heart, I think. Definitely one that I'm glad exists for teens today, especially religious ones.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lea (drumsofautumn)

    Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit hit me right in my heart and gut. It was beautiful and relatable and a book that I'm so happy to have brought into my life. (Yes, I have a Bookstagram now!) This book took me on an emotional ride from page one! Going into this, I thought it would just be a fun f/f romance Contemporary but I got so much out of it. One of my favourite aspects, mostly because we don't get to see it a lot in queer books, is the huge connection to religion. Not only is Jo the da Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit hit me right in my heart and gut. It was beautiful and relatable and a book that I'm so happy to have brought into my life. (Yes, I have a Bookstagram now!) This book took me on an emotional ride from page one! Going into this, I thought it would just be a fun f/f romance Contemporary but I got so much out of it. One of my favourite aspects, mostly because we don't get to see it a lot in queer books, is the huge connection to religion. Not only is Jo the daughter of a reverend but she's also pretty religious herself. I loved that there wasn't really a conflict between her sexuality and her faith in god but rather the way everyone in her religious community sees these two things. I loved seeing both Jo and her dad trying to make the community more inclusive and how much Jo wanted to use her position to help and influence other people. “Kissing Mary Carlson is spooning homemade peach ice cream into your mouth on the hottest Georgia day. It is shooting stars and hot lava. It is every goose bump you’ve ever had in your entire life built up and exploding all at once.” I also loved seeing the different experiences when it comes to discovering and living your sexuality. With Jo being out and proud and sure of her sexuality for a long time and her love interest only coming to terms with it, I feel like a lot of people will find themselves relating to either one of the characters. And I liked that. My favourite thing about Contemporaries, especially queer ones, is when I can relate to the characters. And seeing a book that features such a wide variety of experiences, not only with the discovery of your own feelings but also with the coming out process and the way other people treat you, was really great. While we're at that topic, this does deal with a lot of homophobia and I wanna make it very clear, that while relatable, a lot of it could also be triggering and harmful. I don't think any of it was written badly, for me it quite honestly enhanced the experience overall, but I know and understand that it is gonna be hard for a lot of queer people. So please be cautious if you do wanna pick it up. You can ask me for details at any time! Oh and yes, both characters identify as lesbian and it's said on page several times. That was fantastic! Apart from the romance, which I thought was wonderful, I truly loved the family dynamics. The relationships Jo had to her dad, her stepmom and whole family was so complex and the development extremely well done. Especially the way Jo and her stepmom grew together throughout this novel made me super emotional and showed so much character development for both of them. Now I do wanna mention that there's a couple of things that stood out in a not so good way. I noticed a couple of things throughout the book that seemed a little bit less inclusive than I would've wanted from a queer novel. I just wish the writing had been a little less binary and more inclusive of multiple gender attraction. It wasn't a huge issue for me and really only came up in a couple of paragraphs, so I'm being really nitpicky but as I said, it's just what I've come to expect from queer novels. What definitely stands out more problematic is ableism. It's nothing that I can exactly pinpoint but there is a character with an intellectual disability that it just written in a way that irked me some of the time. And also some of the descriptions, thoughts and feelings that the main character and others have towards him, seemed super off. Like the fact that his sister's friends degrade him? That really left a bad taste in my mouth. So yeah, this novel is definitely not without flaws by any means. But I can't help it, I loved it unconditionally and as a queer women, it is a story that I'll cherish forever. ♦ Booktube Channel ♦ Twitter ♦ Instagram ♦

  9. 4 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for most of her years in high school. But when her radio evangelist father moves the family to Rome, Georgia, he asks her something unfair: lay low in her new school and pretend to be straight. Though she reluctantly promises, that agreement is tested when she meets Mary, the friend of a sister. This is a fabulous read! It’s a smart, sexy, funny book at queerness and teens and religion, and a refreshing take on what it means to be yourself. More, please. Backl Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for most of her years in high school. But when her radio evangelist father moves the family to Rome, Georgia, he asks her something unfair: lay low in her new school and pretend to be straight. Though she reluctantly promises, that agreement is tested when she meets Mary, the friend of a sister. This is a fabulous read! It’s a smart, sexy, funny book at queerness and teens and religion, and a refreshing take on what it means to be yourself. More, please. Backlist bump: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ann Elise Monte

    Edit 2 June 2017: I'm adding Tasha's review as a link here because she discusses the ableism in this book, which I don't really touch on. (Note: all page numbers are from my hardcover edition) I wanted to like this book. I'd been excited to read it for months. On a basic writing level, there's nothing wrong with it. The writing style is easy to read and the protagonist's voice is fairly strong. I also really liked the peach motif that cropped up here and there, usually tied to sumptuous descriptio Edit 2 June 2017: I'm adding Tasha's review as a link here because she discusses the ableism in this book, which I don't really touch on. (Note: all page numbers are from my hardcover edition) I wanted to like this book. I'd been excited to read it for months. On a basic writing level, there's nothing wrong with it. The writing style is easy to read and the protagonist's voice is fairly strong. I also really liked the peach motif that cropped up here and there, usually tied to sumptuous descriptions that made me kinda hungry. However, I find I had a lot of issues with the book in terms of structure and prejudice. I'm not an expert on racism, being a white person, but the more I think about it, the more it seems so obvious that I don't understand how so many people have missed it. My first issue circulates around the one and only black character in the entire book, Gemma. As far as I can tell, the author is white, and Gemma's manner of speech was very stereotypical. I almost wanted to keep a tally of how many times she prefaced a sentence with "girl" or threw in some other awkwardly-executed AAVE grammatical mannerisms. Page 70: "Because, girl." Gemma growls. "Our dance parties are epic." Page 140: Her eyes narrow and it's like I can hear the "Oh no he didn't" loud as a bullhorn. Page 150: "Girl, don't you lie." Gemma is straight to the point. Page 187: "Girl." Gemma is attacking a slice of veggie pizza. There are undoubtedly more examples. These are just the ones I noted in my Goodreads statuses. I know it's not just a quirk of being southern since, with the exception of some really uncomfortable AAVE appropriation coming from Jo and her friend, Dana, she was the only character who consistently spoke like this. If the representation had been more varied (as in, Gemma wasn't the only black character in the whole book), it wouldn't have been as much of an issue. EDIT: Another reader also pointed out that this perpetuates the "sassy black girl" stereotype, which I should have noted originally. Sidenote: we as white people need to stop saying "yaaaas" (which Dana says on page 22). Can we stop appropriating from AAVE already? Please. My crops are dying. Unrelated to the racism of the dialogue, I also hated that Gemma's attempts to invade Jo's privacy by getting into her phone were treated as a silly little quirk rather than a horrible thing to do. Biphobia also rears its ugly head in this book. The most blatant occasion is on PAGE THREE where Jo, the lesbian narrator, says: I nod toward the late twentyish, early thirtyish bi-curious cougar Dana had been flirting with before she deigned to check up on me. There's no good reason the word needs to be there as it does not impact the plot in any way. As a bisexual, this is a word I never want to see again because it is used to invalidate bi women's queerness as just a phase she'll grow out of once her so-called curiosity has been sated. I also had issues with the plot, especially after the mid-point of the book. Honestly, most of the drama could've been solved with one basic conversation. Jo's internal freakout over thinking Mary Carlson would be angry to find she was lying would have been nothing compared to what ultimately transpired because she just would not communicate. Seriously. One little conversation explaining to Mary Carlson why she couldn't come out and so much of the drama would've been resolved before it began. And don't get me started on Mary Carlson trying to (view spoiler)[force Jo out of the closet (hide spoiler)] . That was not okay, even if Jo wasn't being entirely honest at that point. And yet Mary Carlson isn't criticised for this. Jo is the one who is forced to (view spoiler)[apologise for lying (hide spoiler)] and Mary Carlson gets away with everything, even though it was horrible of her to (view spoiler)[try and force Jo to out herself before she was in a position to do so (hide spoiler)] . They're living in a judgemental small town in the South, for God's sake. You'd think she'd know better. Also, the rival love interest was such a flat, cardboard villain. At least give her some complexity. Come on. Just because she's an antagonist doesn't mean she has to be a horrible human being with absolutely no depth or redeeming qualities. When things weren't being ridiculous between the main couple, they were pretty cute together. I also liked the development of the relationship between Jo and her stepmother, even if I didn't think the stepmother should've gotten away with as much of her low-level homophobia as she did. But all that cuteness was often punctuated by these issues so ultimately I couldn't like the book as much as I wanted to.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bee

    Quite The Novel Idea ~ Words from the Clouds 2.5 stars I've been having bad luck with reading lately. Either I'm going into a slump or I'm just expecting too much from books these days. Because yeah, there are some stand-outs every now and then that get 5 stars out of me. But those moments happen less every month. And I hoped this book would be one too, but it just... wasn't. I still enjoyed it for the most part, but I wanted to love it. And I didn't. So, because I have no idea how else to go about Quite The Novel Idea ~ Words from the Clouds 2.5 stars I've been having bad luck with reading lately. Either I'm going into a slump or I'm just expecting too much from books these days. Because yeah, there are some stand-outs every now and then that get 5 stars out of me. But those moments happen less every month. And I hoped this book would be one too, but it just... wasn't. I still enjoyed it for the most part, but I wanted to love it. And I didn't. So, because I have no idea how else to go about this, I'm going to make a list. Here's hoping it'll make any sense. ♦ I liked the writing. It's the kind of style that I love and that I seem to enjoy the most. Very realistic and easy to read (but omg so hard to write). I read this book in one day because it was so easy for me to get lost in the writing. ♦ I also liked the setting. It felt very real to me and not exaggerated or anything. Either the author lives in the area or she's done her research very well. (I could look it up, but you know... so much effort really.) So yes. Points for setting. ♦ I liked the basic idea of the story, but that's it. Don't get me wrong, it was executed nicely and everything. I just didn't feel sucked in at any point. It didn't wow me at all and I kind of want books to wow me. ♦ I didn't connect to Joanna. She was a fine character. They all were. I liked Gemma, Mary Carlson & her brother, George, ... I liked Jo's parents. They were unique and developed well enough, but I just couldn't connect. Joanna made some stupid mistakes that I honestly don't really get. I just never really got her. It's kind of hard to describe. ♦ The religious themes in this book were an issue for me. Not because it was preachy or anything, because it wasn't. I just... It's a huge part of the story. And I knew that when I went into this. But I loved The Serpent King, so I wanted to give this one a try too because it's an LGBT book and I love those. But in this one it just felt very different. More present somehow. And it didn't gell with me. It didn't stick. ♦ I wasn't into the romance that much. I wanted to be and there's really nothing wrong with it except for that unnecessary drama near the end, but I just didn't buy it. Probably because I never connected to the characters. It did get a tad more steamy than I expected, which I did really like and highly encourage in YA. ♦ Also, haha, just a sidenote, but Joanna & her dad are Italian. But there is not nearly enough Italian food in this, just saying. If you're MC's Italian, take advantage of that and showcase the fooooood. Honestly now. Just a missed opportunity. So overall, this is a good book. And yes, you should read it. That rating I gave it just represents how I felt about it. If you love YA Contemporary, you absolutely should give this a try and I hope you'll enjoy it a lot more than I did.0

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    4.5 stars Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit has been one of my most anticipated releases ever since Dahlia (author of awesomeness) told me it was totally a Christina book. I mean, it was already on my to-read list because a contemporary f/f romance set partially in my hometown was a necessity. However, since I’d DNFed Brown’s debut, I feared that this one too wouldn’t work for me until Dahlia assured me that I most definitely would love it. Dahlia was right yet again. Georgia Peaches and 4.5 stars Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit has been one of my most anticipated releases ever since Dahlia (author of awesomeness) told me it was totally a Christina book. I mean, it was already on my to-read list because a contemporary f/f romance set partially in my hometown was a necessity. However, since I’d DNFed Brown’s debut, I feared that this one too wouldn’t work for me until Dahlia assured me that I most definitely would love it. Dahlia was right yet again. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit has a great voice, a beautiful look at faith, and an adorable romance. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is the perfect readalike for Openly Straight, which I loved earlier this year. Both novels tackle some similar thematic elements, one m/m and one f/f. Jo has been out and proud for years, accepted by her radio preacher dad and dreaming of her own ministry to help LGBT kids of faith feel accepted. When her dad marries his third wife, Elizabeth, snarkily known as Three, she’s uprooted from the open-minded, LGBT-friendly land of Atlanta to Rome, GA for her senior year. Jo’s dad shocks and saddens her by asking her to lie low for the year, so as not to upset the in-laws. Jo agrees to her dad’s request in exchange for a radio show of her own, on which she will eventually be able to reveal her sexuality and begin her ministry to change hearts and minds. She changes up her look to be more “normal,” so that she can blend. At first, she hates doing this, but, as she makes friends, she enjoys a lot of the privileges of passing. Like in Openly Straight, there’s this internal conflict of how nice it is to pass and not have to fight, but it’s also so fucking soul-killing hiding key elements of her true self. For those who don’t already know, I generally really don’t like religion in books. It’s really hard to write about a character with strong faith without it coming across as preachy. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but books like Things I Can’t Forget and Level 2 have managed that feat. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit joins the short list of books that I think get this just right. Jo’s faith is strong and very crucial to who she is as a person, but she doesn’t judge others with different views. When it comes down to it, I think her radio tagline sums up her base views pretty well: “Keep it real. Keep it kind.” She doesn’t believe in using religion as an excuse to be hateful, as her step-grandmother does, but she wants to work to help people be more inclusive, not give up on her faith as a result of the hate some of the faithful have. Though I don’t share Jo’s faith in God, I relate to her views on kindness, caring for others, and not hating people for qualities intrinsic to them. There are many different kinds of faith shown in Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, and it’s not advocating any way of being aside from being kind. The romance manages to be very hot and shippy despite relying on one of my least favorite romantic tropes: the inevitable fight over a secret kept for no good reason. Jo doesn’t want to break her promise to her father, but she can’t resist her feelings for Mary Carlson, so she ends up starting a secret relationship. Obviously, this doesn’t go well. It’s inevitable from the beginning that the two are going to fight when the truth of Jo’s past comes to light, but Jo makes a succession of bad choices. It’s not my favorite plot. Still, I did like that Jo put her family above her love interest at all points, which isn’t something you see in YA much. Also, for all that I’m a bit tired of romance plots like this, I think they’re very believable bad choices. The one thing that I really didn’t like about Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits was the character of Deirdre. With most everyone else, Brown did such a great job developing the characters. Jessica, for example, doesn’t end up being supportive when Mary Carlson and Jo come out, but she’s not simply a terrible person. People have complexities, and anyone who’s actually important to the plot shouldn’t be one dimensional and evil. But then there’s the evil bitch lesbian Deirdre. She is characterized as having no good qualities whatsoever and I just don’t know why this happened at all. In the author’s note, Brown mentions that this novel might possibly be too optimistic, and I think that’s true in some ways. Jo’s accepted by most of the people she’s gotten to know in Rome, despite the fact that she’s almost exclusively befriended people from a judgmental Baptist church that regularly preaches about how homosexuality is a sin. Still, as fiction, I think it’s important to see optimism in some LGBT novels. For years, what LGBT there was tended to be really sad. Those are important too, obviously, but it’s nice to see fluffier contemporary romances with happy endings coming out as well. If Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits isn’t on your radar, it should be.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Locke

    For the most part, I'm not a contemporary reader. I'm more likely to go on a fantasy binge reading kick than a contemporary kick. And I'm not someone who particularly loves HAPPY books, though I recognize a need for them in my life. But for the second time, as I absolutely loved NO PLACE TO FALL, Jaye Robin Brown reminds me that there *is* a special place in my heart for the contemporary that hits all the right notes: sweet, and funny, introspective and self-aware, relevant to the world, and yet For the most part, I'm not a contemporary reader. I'm more likely to go on a fantasy binge reading kick than a contemporary kick. And I'm not someone who particularly loves HAPPY books, though I recognize a need for them in my life. But for the second time, as I absolutely loved NO PLACE TO FALL, Jaye Robin Brown reminds me that there *is* a special place in my heart for the contemporary that hits all the right notes: sweet, and funny, introspective and self-aware, relevant to the world, and yet deeply personal to that character, one story in a sea of stories but with a universal feeling. \ GEORGIA PEACHES is what I believe contemporary YA could be: romantic, and funny, and smart, and important, and balanced. There's queerness and there's faith and there's new family relationships and changing friendships and fears of the future. And they work together, for better or for worse, because that's how real life works. We rarely have one aspect of our identity that doesn't affect another aspect of our identity and Jo's struggle and desire to be ALL of the things she is hit so close to home it's nestled under my ribs and is building a nest. The ship is swoony. The story is timely. Joanna's a character who is easy to love and easy to root for. This book is the Cameron Post of this decade and it's earned its spot in queer YA canon for years to come. Put this into the hands of every queer girl of faith you know, and get it into every library regardless of location. And I'll eat my favorite hat if this doesn't get a Stonewall Honor.

  14. 4 out of 5

    sofia (sam willows)

    Oh my god, my heart can't take this. RTC

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jammin Jenny

    I thought the author did a really good job of exploring alternative sexual relationships and how they aren't so different from heterosexual relationships. There is still doubt, jealousy, and hopefully finally love. Great story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessi ♡

    this book had a very important message to give and i'm so glad it exists, i'm smiling a lot right now

  17. 5 out of 5

    Journey

    this was really really fantastic and one of those books where i cannot read any reviews less than 4 stars because i will get irrationally defensive. the summary is spot on, so i won't rehash the plot of the book. here's the things i loved: - it highlights how sometimes even for someone totally out, and even though it sucks, closeting yourself in situations can be tempting. and, further, that if you have the closet pushed on you, coming out AGAIN can be just as hard as it was the first time. even t this was really really fantastic and one of those books where i cannot read any reviews less than 4 stars because i will get irrationally defensive. the summary is spot on, so i won't rehash the plot of the book. here's the things i loved: - it highlights how sometimes even for someone totally out, and even though it sucks, closeting yourself in situations can be tempting. and, further, that if you have the closet pushed on you, coming out AGAIN can be just as hard as it was the first time. even though you've already done it. - this is such a romance book, but it's not wasting away in the lesbian romance fiction niche!!! (which i read, so not putting that down, but lesbian romance isn't going to be on the shelves of a teen lesbian's high school library). Jo and Mary Carlson are SOOOO into each other, and you have the highs, then a miscommunication/deception, and then a grand romantic gesture. and a sweet epilogue. - ok, speaking of miscommunication/deception, i normally HAAAATE this as a trope. it generally makes me want to turn off the show or throw the book. but this has set up a really unusual scenario. the problem is never that the person is hiding they're already out! - there's no crises of faith. yes, sometimes they express doubt/anxiety about how other people will/do react--but there is no "does god still love me? am i going to hell?" angst. - minor spoiler: (view spoiler)[ I LOVE HOW GUNG-HO MARY CARLSON IS ABOUT BEING GAY ONCE SHE KISSES JOANNA. it's so CUTE and refreshing that she's not nervous and the one keeping them in hiding. she's like "yeah, i've always known i've liked girls, and now that i have one who likes me back, i'm going to MAKE OUT like there's no tomorrow and SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS" and Jo's the one going whoa... slow down.... (hide spoiler)] - they maybe get a better reception than they would IRL in small-town Georgia, but i wouldn't call it unrealistic. there are a variety of responses, from strangers shunning to grandmothers tsking, to some friends leaving but most of them staying. - Joanna and Mary Carlson are not the only lesbians in the book!!! this is so important. one guy in their friend group has two moms; Jo has her lesbian BFF back in Atlanta; there are two other girls in the theatre group in Rome who are gay. - the friends are fantastic. one of them ends up leaving because of The Gay, but the rest are so hilarious and it really seems like a solid group of friends. - minor spoiler but lemme tell you how gay this book is: (view spoiler)[Joanna and Mary Carlson's epilogue is them snuggling in bed in P-town. YEAH. (hide spoiler)] - Joanna's relationship with her dad, who says he supports her, and does, for the most part, but who eventually realizes that what he asked her to do ("lay low") is unfair. - also Joanna's evolving relationship with her new stepmom, Elizabeth. love them!! - Mary Carlson is so cute..... so cute y'all. favorite quotes: Gemma interrupts. "He can say penis. He has one. We have vaginas. And these are breasts." She holds her hands under her boobs and BTB blushes red under the yellow of his onesies' hood. "Why people want to call their parts things like bananas, and hoohoos, and the ladies, is beyond me. Be specific." "Fine, then, Dr. Gemma," Betsy says. "Get your ripe gluteus maximus up those stairs so we can take the bras off our breasts." - "Nice frames." I point. [Mary Carlson]'s got on a huge pair of pink glasses instead of her usual ones. She moves her hand up and fiddles with them, a little blush rising in her cheeks. "Eighth-grade me. I secretly wanted to be a K-pop star. I left my regular glasses at the club yesterday." - Mary Carlson sets us up at the far end, then pulls out a club from her bag. "Let's start with the six-iron and see how you do." "You're the boss." She flips her ponytail over her shoulder and looks sideways in my direction. "I like the way you say that." (before they've even admitted feelings) - Kissing Mary Carlson is spooning homemade peach ice cream into your mouth on the hottest Georgia day. It is shooting stars and hot lava. It is every goose bump you ever had in your entire life built up and exploding all at once. It is going to be the end of me, but I don't care. - I have mixed feelings about Dana, who is a flighty party girl and leads Jo into a terrible decision, but she is genuine when she says this: "Look." Dana smiles through the computer screen. "This is not me being selfish, even though I do have one hundred and fifty legally earned dollars saved for our summer trip. This is me thinking about some chick in small town Georgia with a thousand-pound weight on her chest. If I were that girl, if I were ready to open it up for public viewing, I wouldn't want some lying bitch trying to keep me hidden." Dana shrugs and lifts her hands. "You haven't really been open with her." (that's not the end but i can't spoil you with any ending quotes!!!) ANYWAY READ THIS.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sonja

    I mean, honestly this is maybe just over four stars overall, but I'm giving it five stars anyway because of the way it resonated with me emotionally, and because it means so much to me that this book exists. Jo(anna) promises her radio preacher dad when they move from Atlanta to rural Georgia that she would stay in the closet her senior year. Well, whoops, because she falls in love with a girl who's just realizing she's gay. And oh my god, Joanna and Mary Carlson are PHENOMENAL. I love them so m I mean, honestly this is maybe just over four stars overall, but I'm giving it five stars anyway because of the way it resonated with me emotionally, and because it means so much to me that this book exists. Jo(anna) promises her radio preacher dad when they move from Atlanta to rural Georgia that she would stay in the closet her senior year. Well, whoops, because she falls in love with a girl who's just realizing she's gay. And oh my god, Joanna and Mary Carlson are PHENOMENAL. I love them so much. They're by far my favorite F/F relationship I've seen in YA literature so far. I adore them. Mary Carlson is AMAZING!!!!! She's honestly my everything. Joanna is a really wonderful character, too. Here's where a couple of complaints come in: A lot of the drama in the book could have been fixed if Joanna had just TALKED TO PEOPLE (her dad and Mary Carlson, most of all) instead of, well, not doing that. But she's also a 17-year old girl, so I guess it makes sense that she wouldn't necessarily. The other one is that a lot of issues (homophobia, and also racism to an extent) were definitely handwaved or glossed over a little bit. However, I feel like with 2016 having been as shitty of a year as it has been, it was great to just suspend disbelief for a few hours while reading this book and enjoying reading a book where even the most conservative of churches can (for the most part) accept their queer members and where (most) people just accept each other. Here's everything that I loved, though!! (view spoiler)[I loved Joanna's new group of friends and how they grew and changed because of Mary Carlson and because of Joanna, too, to a certain extent. George was the rare truly great dude in a book that was (rightfully) all about the ladies. He and Gemma were adorable, too. I wasn't super fond of Dana at the start, but I grew to really love her progression and how she grew up and changed in the course of the novel, too. And I love that she and Jo are best friends who made out with each other and hated it, I thought that was a great tidbit, haha. B.T.B. was great and so earnest and lovely and I can't speak to the way his autism was portrayed in the book because I don't know enough about it, but it seemed realistic and very respectfully done. Other than Jo's step-grandmother, all the adults in this book were ACES. Her dad was pretty great for the most part, her stepmom was AMAZING. Mary Carlson's parents were really great parents. Althea was fantastic, as was Jo's step-grandfather Tater, who was just lovely. But most importantly: MARY CARLSON!!! Fearless, wonderful, pretty, lovely Mary Carlson!! What a great lady, honestly. I LOVE how secure she was in herself and her sexuality and how she was basically like, well once I meet a person worth coming out for, I will, and then she met Joanna. She didn't take anyone's shit and she was just like, hey I'll tell you all something and then I'll leave, and she came out to them. I could have definitely done without Deirdre, the manipulative and evil lesbian and their not-relationship, but okay. All's well that ends well. Jo and Mary Carlson though!!!! I LOVED all their little touches and lingering looks between them when it wasn't clear to either of them whether the other was into them or not. I LOVED their first kiss at Paradise, it was everything to me. I LOVED that Jo got her an elephant bracelet when she apologized to her, and I'm glad Mary Carlson forgave her, but man, I WANT SO MUCH MORE FOR THEM. I thought we didn't get nearly enough of their story of how they made up, though. Not in a way where I thought some of the book was missing or it was imcomplete, more in a way of, here's what I want everyone to write me fic for, haha. I want more of them making up, of their first days in a real relationship. I want more of their summer trip with Dana. I want more of their established relationship because when do we ever get a great F/F relationship in YA? Rarely, unfortunately. (hide spoiler)] Asking for this for Yuletide next year, probably. Please prepare accordingly. ;)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jen Ryland

    I put off reading this because I wasn't crazy about the title (is it talking about a girl? about body parts? I find this distracting...) but what a lovely surprise this book was! It's a heartwarming story of identity and faith. Jo is out as a lesbian to her radio preacher father, but when he remarries and moves them to a small, conservative Southern town, he asks Jo a favor. It's her senior year, so could she just ... tone herself down for that one year? Jo agrees and becomes Joanna, gets a mall I put off reading this because I wasn't crazy about the title (is it talking about a girl? about body parts? I find this distracting...) but what a lovely surprise this book was! It's a heartwarming story of identity and faith. Jo is out as a lesbian to her radio preacher father, but when he remarries and moves them to a small, conservative Southern town, he asks Jo a favor. It's her senior year, so could she just ... tone herself down for that one year? Jo agrees and becomes Joanna, gets a mall makeover, and hides her sexuality from her new friends. Until she falls in love with a girl, and discovers that girl might just share her feelings. After that comes a really nuanced and beautifully written story about finding yourself, accepting yourself, and accepting the fact that not everyone will agree with your life choices, whether that means being religious or gay ... or both. Highly recommended for Miranda Kenneally fans - both authors do a great job exploring how religious faith doesn't have to equal narrow-mindedness, and how differences of opinion don't have to lead to hate and contempt. Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics or follow me on Bloglovin Thanks to the publisher for providing a free advance copy of this book for me to review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lauren James

    For the sake of her peacher father’s new wife’s family, Jo lies to Mary Carlson about whether she’s out when they start dating, which leads to many more problems than I’d expect. Some of the drama is a bit contrived, which makes it infuriating in that "JUST COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER AND YOUR PROBLEMS WILL DISAPPEAR" rom-com way, but overall this is a very sweet and inclusive read. The religious element is a central plotline without the book being overbearing for an atheist reader, and I actua For the sake of her peacher father’s new wife’s family, Jo lies to Mary Carlson about whether she’s out when they start dating, which leads to many more problems than I’d expect. Some of the drama is a bit contrived, which makes it infuriating in that "JUST COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER AND YOUR PROBLEMS WILL DISAPPEAR" rom-com way, but overall this is a very sweet and inclusive read. The religious element is a central plotline without the book being overbearing for an atheist reader, and I actually found it quite touching. Despite being a practising Christian, Jo is very sharp and rebellious and modern, and extremely gay. It was a perspective I’d never read about before, and I really enjoyed it! Jo runs a radio show, and I wish this plotline had been given more space. It’s such a unique pastime for a YA character, and I wish it had been explored more. Mary Carlson is a great character too, and I wish we'd got a chance to see Mary Carlson and Jo's relationship without any secrets. I felt like I'd earnt that by the end.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits is one of the sweetest, fluffiest love stories I’ve read in a while, and Jaye Robin Brown manages to pack everything I look for in contemporary YA lit into its pages: diversity, complex characters, an interesting storyline, and a swoonworthy romance. In Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits is one of the sweetest, fluffiest love stories I’ve read in a while, and Jaye Robin Brown manages to pack everything I look for in contemporary YA lit into its pages: diversity, complex characters, an interesting storyline, and a swoonworthy romance. In Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. Jo reluctantly agrees, but things get complicated when she starts to fall for a girl at her new school. Religion can be a tricky subject to navigate in LGBTQ+ literature, but Brown handles Jo’s faith and her feelings about going back into the closet surprisingly well. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits is one of the few books I’ve read with a religious protagonist, and probably the only book I’ve ever read which offers positive representation for queer Christian teens. That’s huge, and I hope this book finds its way into the hands of as many Christian readers as possible. That’s not to say that non-religious readers can’t enjoy it too - as an atheist I really appreciated the way Jo’s ambition to become a radio preacher for teens was handled. Jo recognised that Christianity isn’t for everyone, and accepted her Jewish and atheist friends without question. The relationships in this book also really make Georgia Peaches worth reading. I especially loved the gradual development of Jo’s relationship with her stepmother, the friendships she made at her new school, and the romance between Jo and Mary Carlson. Jo and Mary Carlson have such amazing chemistry, and both girls were fantastically well-written characters. I already know that this book is going to be one of my favourite new releases of 2016, and I’m looking forward to seeing other readers fall in love with it too. Many thanks to HarperTeen for providing a copy of Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits will be published on August 30th. Publisher: HarperTeen Rating: 5 stars | ★★★★★ Review cross-posted to Paperback'd

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lauren ✨ (TheBookishTwins)

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes. Joanna Gordon is an out and proud lesbian and has been for years now. But when her radio evangelist father remarries and re-locates her from Atlanta to small town Rome, Georgia, her father and hew new step-mum ask her to "lie low". Reluctantly, Jo agrees, on one condition: she gets to have her own religious Youth radio show. In Rome, Georgia, Jo finds it easier to fit in as a straight girl, but then she meets Mary Carlson - her Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes. Joanna Gordon is an out and proud lesbian and has been for years now. But when her radio evangelist father remarries and re-locates her from Atlanta to small town Rome, Georgia, her father and hew new step-mum ask her to "lie low". Reluctantly, Jo agrees, on one condition: she gets to have her own religious Youth radio show. In Rome, Georgia, Jo finds it easier to fit in as a straight girl, but then she meets Mary Carlson - her new friend's sister. She's beautiful and she's smart, and there's a chance she might be interested in Joanna too. Jo feels like she can't betray the promise to her father, but she also feels she's being dishonest to herself and to Mary Carlson. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is a funny, poignant, engaging, cute read. I really loved this one. Joanna had a voice that I really enjoyed reading; witty and humorous, but also relatable. At times it's light hearted and fun, and others it's serious and heart wrenching. There are some strong family dynamics that are explored, especially between Jo and her new step-mother Elizabeth. The blossoming romance between Joanna and Mary Carlson was so well done, and you root for the both of them. There is a large focus on religion as Jo's father is a preacher and Jo herself has a strong relationship with her faith. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit focuses on religion and sexuality, and the struggle in balancing the two. Whilst is explores the homophobia and prejudice within Christianity, it is also filled with hope as it shows people of faith embracing Jo and Mary Carlson. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is a super good read, and one that I would highly recommend if you're looking for an insightful, but fun f/f YA book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    DNF at 100 pages. I wanted to open this review by saying that this book made me legitimately consider giving up on YA, but that would be unfair to this book. This book is abysmal, don't get me wrong, but the fact that I want to move on from YA isn't solely this book's fault. This book just made me realize that over the last sixth months or so, I've hated far more YA books than I've liked, and I've hated most of them for similar reasons. Maybe the problem isn't me - maybe I'm just outgrowing this DNF at 100 pages. I wanted to open this review by saying that this book made me legitimately consider giving up on YA, but that would be unfair to this book. This book is abysmal, don't get me wrong, but the fact that I want to move on from YA isn't solely this book's fault. This book just made me realize that over the last sixth months or so, I've hated far more YA books than I've liked, and I've hated most of them for similar reasons. Maybe the problem isn't me - maybe I'm just outgrowing this genre, and the books have always been this bad. Or maybe - just maybe - I haven't changed at all, and this book is, in fact, fucking terrible. I am sick to death of YA writers trying to include modern slang in their books. This is a PSA for any writers who are considering it: this never works. You are doing nothing but embarrassing yourself and making it completely transparent that an adult wrote the book. The prose in this novel is a hodgepodge of modern slang used incorrectly, slang that's completely dated (at one point, Joanna says something is 'the bomb' completely unironically), and turns of phrase that are awkward as hell. There are, in fact, ways to evoke how teenagers talk without sounding like a clueless camp counselor - just look at how authors like David Levithan and Courtney Summers use things like stream-of-consciousness and sarcasm to suggest the thought process of a teenager. Using slang is the lazy way out, and it almost invariably results in something unreadably bad. The fact that so many YA authors don't realize this is a big part of what's making me think that this genre just isn't for me anymore. Nearly every YA book I've read over the past six months or so has had some variant of this problem, and it's bad enough that I'd rather never read another YA novel than have to deal with another book this painful. Apart from that, this book is just generally weak, in ways that I don't find particularly interesting. It's a shame, because if there's anything YA needed, it was a light-hearted, low-stakes gay romance. But this is just limp. I think Joanna is supposed to be quirky, but she just comes off as one-note, and most of her little winks to the audience are more painful than funny. I also find it irritating that Brown writes a protagonist who does have legitimate problems and issues in her life... and still manages to fill the novel with nothing but whining about things that don't really matter. This story pretty much fits the 'nice guy tries to win over the girl with a jerk boyfriend' archetype, except the nice guy is a girl. And that's just not something I want to read about - maybe ten years ago, before the 'nice guy' archetype became so infamous, this could've worked, but today, it's just played-out. This book isn't the worst thing I've ever read, but I'm having trouble finding anything nice to say about it. I guess it's kind of a microcosm of the dissatisfaction I've had with YA lately, and just thinking about all that makes me feel grumpy and depressed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)

    Save for the weird use of AAVE, quick happy ending, and way too convenient acceptance from the formerly intolerant, this story deserves reading. Pros: 1. A cute story about acceptance of one's self, no matter the location of one's residence. 2. Sweet romance between a girl coming out and a girl already out (with all of the conflict of each box the girls lived) 3. Diversity of characters: a black, platonic friend, a mentally disabled brother, a Jewish friend (though you don't he's Jewish until the l Save for the weird use of AAVE, quick happy ending, and way too convenient acceptance from the formerly intolerant, this story deserves reading. Pros: 1. A cute story about acceptance of one's self, no matter the location of one's residence. 2. Sweet romance between a girl coming out and a girl already out (with all of the conflict of each box the girls lived) 3. Diversity of characters: a black, platonic friend, a mentally disabled brother, a Jewish friend (though you don't he's Jewish until the last few chapters), a friend unwavering in her faith, no matter the consequence, a friend aware of her sexuality and how slut shaming's a no-no, and a male, platonic friend with two lesbian mothers. 4. Good relationships with her father and stepmother, alongside a family friend and step-granddad. 5. A best friend that doesn't hate on her friend, but still remains true to her own characterization without becoming something else (aka love interest; antagonist) 6. In an afterword, Jaye Robin Brown presents the importance of faith within queer teens and adults, and how finding the right fit deserves recognition. Find the right faith family and community, willing to strengthen your faith and make you feel at home. I agree, and I'm glad she stressed this aspect within and outside the story. Cons: 1. Weird AAVE usage among some characters that bordered on trying too damn hard. 2. A ending that's too quick and clean. 3. For a town that's supposedly intolerant, they were more tolerant than the description led us to believe. Even with some moments of intolerance, the town didn't seem deplorable or frightening. All in a all, a solid 4.

  25. 5 out of 5

    K.A.

    I had the great pleasure of reading this manuscript early, and I loved this book to death. As all Jaye Robin Brown's books, it made me feel like coming home. The characters were so brutally honest, each one so real and rich with emotion their experiences resonated with me on deep, personal levels. And the plot. Did you read the plot? KILLER. The Main character, Joanna, God, I loved her. She was the perfect teenager: afraid, proud, spunky, weird (in the best way), caring, in your face, soft, brav I had the great pleasure of reading this manuscript early, and I loved this book to death. As all Jaye Robin Brown's books, it made me feel like coming home. The characters were so brutally honest, each one so real and rich with emotion their experiences resonated with me on deep, personal levels. And the plot. Did you read the plot? KILLER. The Main character, Joanna, God, I loved her. She was the perfect teenager: afraid, proud, spunky, weird (in the best way), caring, in your face, soft, brave, hurting, prone to making mistakes. I was right there with her troubles and joys, worries and fears. And wait until you meet her best friend. Ha. Just wait! This novel goes fearlessly into topics that make you want to pump your fists and shout, “Yes! Thank you for writing this!” Layering religious beliefs with being gay, lying about who you are and what you love to those you love, with family drama, friend drama, self drama, and searching for who you truly are, and you have GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT. This was one of those books that made me want to hug it and never let it go. The story and characters will stay with me for a long time. I cannot recommend this book enough, you guys. One of my all-time favorites.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Silvana [The Book Voyagers]

    I really really liked Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit. Especially the cast of characters! Jaye Robin Brown knows how to write group of friends and family and love. I had such a fun time while reading this book and seriously, didn't want anything to end. - A big part of this book is about religion and faith and belief. And you can see two sides of the coin in this book: Jo's family and her new stepmom's family. - Jo (the MC) has a deal with her dad. And when they move to the new town, s I really really liked Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit. Especially the cast of characters! Jaye Robin Brown knows how to write group of friends and family and love. I had such a fun time while reading this book and seriously, didn't want anything to end. - A big part of this book is about religion and faith and belief. And you can see two sides of the coin in this book: Jo's family and her new stepmom's family. - Jo (the MC) has a deal with her dad. And when they move to the new town, she needs to hide that she likes girls. Of course, then she meets Mary Carlson and everything comes crashing down. - Family support and A+ friendships. - Flirtinggggg I can't wait to get my own copy because 1) that cover is my favorite thing in the world, it's so damn cute, 2) this story is incredible and will forever be with me in my heart. I can't wait to recommend this book to every single person (yes yes yes) Thank you Edelweiss and Harper Collins for the e-ARC

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    You know... This one is tough for me to rate. On the one hand, I loved Brown's writing style. It flowed naturally, felt comfortable, and was really a joy. On the other hand though, some of the plot choices she made really pissed me off. I can understand some of them, growing up in the Bible Belt myself, but still. Some choices in this one really pissed me off as a lesbian. I'm going to just leave this one at that. Narration was fabulous by the way! 3.5 stars, and I'm rounding down this time for m You know... This one is tough for me to rate. On the one hand, I loved Brown's writing style. It flowed naturally, felt comfortable, and was really a joy. On the other hand though, some of the plot choices she made really pissed me off. I can understand some of them, growing up in the Bible Belt myself, but still. Some choices in this one really pissed me off as a lesbian. I'm going to just leave this one at that. Narration was fabulous by the way! 3.5 stars, and I'm rounding down this time for my irritation at the plot choices even though this really was a better written book than I expected.

  28. 4 out of 5

    sage

    2.5 stars - interesting concept executed poorly, also one of those books that makes me wonder if the author's ever spoken to a teenage human in her life

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ava

    I enjoyed this book. While it's not a new favorite of mine, it is one I would highly recommend for people searching for books featuring an f/f relationship, and not just that, one whose main character is very religious. It's wonderful to read a book about a LGBTQIAP+ person of faith, and it's a book that I think is going to be wonderful for a lot of people. 3 stars is because it didn't blow me away by any means, but I did not hate it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Monika

    DNF: I'm bailing 50 pages in. Bisexuality being presented as a phase older women go through. Describing a character as "simple" right after he says he's in a special class for kids just like him...ummm, no. Plus, it feels like the author is trying too hard to achieve the voice of a queer teenage narrator; it's so uncomfortable. I don't feel motivated to read 350+ more pages of this.

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