Title: Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before
Author: Karelia Stetz-Waters
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Coming of Age/Gay Fiction
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This book was given to me by the publisher, Ooligan Press, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
Part of the reason I love young adult fiction is a classic topic: coming of age. We can all relate to being a teenager. But the trick with a coming of age story is that you have to capture an original voice that will resonate with the reader. And Stetz-Waters does just that in Triinu, the young woman who narrates the novel. This book broke my heart, not just because of Triinu and her troubles, but the outcast in me resonated sharply with her story.
Triinu, the young Estonian woman, who might, just possibly, be gay. She longs for acceptance from her peers, and most of all, love. One of the reasons I loved her was because she was, essentially, a teenager, through and through. She thinks no one understands her, she has two loving but eccentric parents, the first love is the last--this book is a powerful, beautiful journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, the portrait of a young woman coming into her own.
People in Triinu's life are not all bad, nor all good, they are all flawed and human, and they all have a huge impact on her and her choices. Isabel, Triinu's best friend, steadfast and smart, all to hide a deep inner pain, her parents, loving and hilarious and beautiful in their tender portrayal of a real family, Ursula, her first friend and love, and finally, Principal Pinn and Pip, two men who hate her for her homosexuality. This is brutally honest tale on what it means to be a teen, and what it takes to truly accept yourself.
The bottom line: This book was wonderful. Next on deck: Famous Last Words by Katie Alender!