The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. May 2022. 416p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063060234.
Gr 8 Up–Yamilet Flores and her brother, Cesar, are set to start the school year at Slayton Catholic, both leaving behind unhappy pasts at Rover High. Cesar has a habit of getting into fights at school for reasons Yamilet can’t figure out, and Yamilet is struggling with a betrayal by ex-best friend Bianca, who revealed to others Yamilet is gay. Hoping to avoid a similar situation at Slayton, Yamilet pretends to be straight as she navigates the school. Soon she falls in with a good group of friends that includes Bo, a Chinese American girl who is kind, intelligent, confident, and out. Working hard to make money in case she is kicked out of home when her truth is revealed, Yami doesn’t always pay attention to what’s happening with Cesar. Yamilet is refreshing and genuine, starting off as someone who does not always stand up for herself and evolving into someone fiercely protective of her family, her friends, and herself. Yami and Cesar, who both struggle with a sense of shame, deal with their feelings differently while also providing each other with love and support. Yami glows with pride for her Mexican and Indigenous ancestry, and although she stands out in Slayton, where most of the student body is white, she finds support from many kind and considerate classmates. Difficult topics, such as suicide, are explored.
VERDICT Filled with humor and love, this fast-paced novel will have readers immersed in Yamilet’s world, rooting for her and her loved ones all the way.

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