This book. This book was my growing up years. This was growing up (closeted) queer in a small town in Illinois, going to a conservative Christian school where we didn’t have prom or homecoming and no one was allowed to be anything but cookie cutter straight and perfect. The reality of my teen years slammed into me as I read this, leading me to randomly bawl my eyes out without warning as the story progressed.
“Shame is a way of life here.”
Chloe Green is openly queer with two moms in the middle of Alabama at a conservative Christian private school where no one else is the way she is. She’s on track to be validictorian, get out of this own, go to NYC with her best friend Georgia, and never look back.
Until her academic rival, perfect blonde Christian good girl Shara Wheeler kisses her and then disappears.
When I tell you I felt every word in this book like a physical emotion, I mean it. This spoke to me on a cellular level, breaking me down to my 17 year old self and making me feel so incredibly powerfully seen in a way that I honestly don’t feel all that often. That queer teenage me never felt, really.
Academic enemies to lovers, incredible queer representation, relatable imperfect characters—this was a emotional roller coaster of a masterpiece. This is Casey McQuiston’s best work so far.
Also once again, Natalie Naudus’s narration is a flawless journey into the world of these characters. Impeccable. Always my favorite.
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