Title: The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School
Author: Sonora Reyes
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication: 17 May 2022
I received an advanced copy through Netgalley and Balzer + Bray in exchange for an honest review. (I really need to be on top of my arc reviews).
Yamilet “Yami” Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way. After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and most importantly, don’t fall in love. Yet, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. So cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do?
This book was not only completely adorable, but it was great to see queer, non-white characters in a book. Not only Yami is Mexican-American and gay, but Bo is Chinese-American (adopted) and gay. It has been great to see in the past few years so many YA queer romance books come out showing not just white kids but multicultural kids having love and acceptance. I would’ve done so much to have these kinds of books when I was growing up.
The sibling relationship between Yami and Cesar is so much fun and felt like a real brother/sister relationship, including their mom putting so much pressure on Yami to take care of her brother. For one, Yami is the girl, which as far as I can tell, girls usually have more responsibility towards their younger siblings, and two, Yami is older, but only by 10/11 months. The relationship the two have with their mom is special since she’s having to be both the mom and the dad. Yami’s dad was deported back to Mexico when she was ten, and while, they still talk to him on the phone and video-chat, she hasn’t seen her dad in years. Yami feels that the only two people who get her is her brother and her Papi, which sucks for what happens later in the novel.
Bo is completely adorable and truly confident in who she is. There are some issues she works through in the novel due to trying to figure out her own Chinese and Chinese-American identity while being adopted by white people. It’s a really touching part of the book when Bo talks to her parents about how she feels, and they’re completely supportive of her and her feelings. You can tell that they love their daughter and want her to be happy. They’re definitely the cool parents I would’ve loved to have growing up.
Throughout the book, there’s obvious signs that both Yami and Cesar are going through some mental health problems. There are some slight spoilers coming up. Near the end, Cesar attempts suicide and spends some time in an in-patient hospital. Afterwards, he’s regularly going to therapy and by the end, even brings up switching therapists to someone he clicks better with and seems to be more willing to go once this happens. While Yami and her mom have a talk about how much pressure their mom put on Yami, that’s all that happens wit her. I would’ve liked to see some acknowledgement or talk about how Yami should talk to someone or that Yami is not Cesar’s parent. Focusing on Cesar’s mental health issues is definitely the right call since he had the suicide attempt, but it still feels like the focus is and always will be on Cesar not Yami.
Again, I absolutely loved the novel, even with the minor issues at the end. This was a wonderful and refreshing read, and I definitely will be adding Sonora Reyes (they/them) to my automatic buy authors.
Happy Reading Darlings!