Monday, January 16, 2012
by KE Payne

Imogen Summers has a great boyfriend; everyone thinks so... except Imogen herself.  Recently, Immy has been thinking that there might be more than just hanging out, the occasional kissing, and the nightly walk home.  

Isn't dating supposed to be exciting?

Things change when Immy finds an online site about her favorite TV show, which includes two lesbian characters as the leads.  In the chat room and forums, Immy finally feels free to say what she wants and she finally feels like maybe she's not completely different than all the other people around her.

When Imogen meets a girl in the forum named Fickle, she also feels that she may finally get what everyone else is talking about when they use the word "love".

Could it be that Immy isn't the straight girl she always thought she was?  Could it be that her thoughts have never been with the guys she's dated because she's never really wanted to date them?

Final thoughts:  This was an OK book about coming out, both herself and to others (though never to her family, which is disappointing).  However, it was a little stilted and Immy's self-discovery was awkward.  There is definitely a struggle for those who are dealing with this issue, but Immy's emotions seemed strangely controlled most of the time and then extremely wild at odd times.  This book is a good conversation starter for those who are trying to figure themselves out, but there are other, better books out there for LGBTQ kids.  My other struggle is that this is set in England, so the English is a little different.  It didn't completely detract from the book, but having to translate slang like Soz (sorry... which is used on almost every page) and words like trainer (shoes) and jumper (sweater), got a little distracting.

Rating: 3/5


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting review of what I found to be a fantastic book. I find your admission that you 'struggled' with the fact that it is an English book (written by an English author, set in England, go figure...) bizarre! I mean, not everyone in the world is American, who knew?! The book is entirely believable and, of course, everyone's "coming out" experiences are different. So Immy didn't come out to her parents during the relatively short period of time that the book covers... so what?! I'd had a girlfriend for three years before I broached the subject with my parents. Everyone is different, everyone's experiences are different, and some people say soz for sorry! I would recommend this book to anyone...give it a try, you might learn some cool new words ;)

Shayana said...

I think the sarcasm was a little unnecessary, but let me explain my struggles further. When you speak to someone with a completely different accent, esp. one that is major, you struggle understanding that person. They are using the exact same words you would use, but the accent makes it difficult to understand. Now you take that same language and take out the accent (which isn't written in here), but put in completely new words, and yes... you will struggle and be distracted. I don't use Soz, trainer (unless talking about the guy at the gym), jumper (at least not when talking about sweaters), or many of the other words. It takes getting used to. And that's OK. It doesn't require a sarcastic response, imho.

As for not coming out to her parents, for me this is important. I am a high school teacher librarian and my students need books that reflect their struggles. It would have been nice to have a scene or two showing her coming out to her parents to help my LGBTQ students see that it's not the end of the world. As a book on its own, it's ok. As a book for kids who need help dealing with their own questions, it's not that great a book.

Immy was all over the place in the span of this book. I love her! She's dead to me! I love her again! I can't believe she did that. One week of severe depression. Discovery someone else loves her. Anger and really mean words about how much she hates that person for doing something, then one talk with a cute girl and now she not only understands what that girl did, but she completely loves her!!!! Ugh. Annoying.

I didn't love the book, but I did think it was ok. You are free to feel differently.

Anonymous said...

Ok, but is the book being advertised as a guidance book for LGBT teens? No! Authors of fiction don't need to (and shouldn't) write their books to reflect anyone else's experiences. That would be impossible anyway! Why is this one different just because it's about gay characters? I am a high school teacher and have been around teenagers long enough to know that the "all over the place" nature of Immy reflects absolutely how many a teen brain works! And many an adult brain, too, for that matter, especially when they're falling in and out of love.

Your comments about different accents still make no sense. If you don't understand a word google it. Simple. I understand that you may have found some words difficult, but aiming a criticism based on the fact that you didn't understand just seems kinda odd. But yes, we're all different eh?

Shayana said...

No, it's not being advertised as a guidance book. I never said it was. However, people often pick books that they hope will reflect their own experiences. For example, children who have been abused often choose books (or have them recommended to them) about characters who have been abused. They see that it's not just them and that others have been through what they are going through. Same with rape, gangs, drugs, love, depression, dating, etc... With Immy, it just felt unfinished. She had this big thing happen and her parents were basically never around. There wasn't really anything even mentioned about how they would react or feel and she never seemed to seriously consider coming out to them. I am darn sure that ANY person who has suddenly discovered he/she may be LGBT is going to have more than a passing thought about what his/her parents will say, esp. considering how all over the place Immy is with all of this. This book pretty much skipped that.

As for Googling things, a few thoughts... 1) not everyone has access to Google at the very moment he/she is interested in a word (hence teaching context clues); 2) as a high school teacher, I'm sure you know that trying to teach a child to go to a dictionary or other source to look up a word at the moment they need it is like trying to nail jello to a tree; 3) Google doesn't know everything; and 4) it's just an observation I made and felt should be passed on to readers who may not have experience with English from England... more of a heads up, if you will. It was distracting, as I'm sure people in England who read books like our American Urban Lit genre titles will find some of our colloquialisms distracting. Not bad... just distracting. Btw - I never said I didn't understand them; I just found them distracting. Probably about as distracting as being bilingual and flipping back and forth.


Related Posts with Thumbnails