Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert / mental health book bingo


Suzette “Little” is in the midst of discovering her sexuality after her first relationship with a girl at her boarding school she attended in Massachusetts; where she was sent shortly after her brother’s bipolar diagnosis. The story is set in her hometown, California and Suzette is home for the summer trying to rekindle the relationship she had with her brother, Lionel and pick up where she left off with a boy, Emil.

Although I am not bisexual myself, I did like the way bisexuality was written. Suzette has a crush on a girl and a boy and develops the same feelings for both sex’s. The feelings were written so in-depth and I was smiling a lot!! I did like that there isn’t a distinct romance and happily ever after at the end of the novel and Suzette was comfortable with her sexuality and didn’t need a romance to satisfy her needs.

There are also other LGBTQ+ characters, a pansexual side character with a major role in the story and a lesbian. I was really glad how diverse the characters were in their sexuality. This book also offered so many great LGBTQ+ quotes especially shutting down the bisexual social stigma. Overall, I think the sexuality aspect of this novel was very well done.

” I don’t think I’m selfish for liking both guys and girls. I just wish it didn’t all happen at once” (88, Colbert)

“Why? Bi, queer…it doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re happy. Just make sure you don’t let anyone tell you what you are. People can be real assholes about labels” (193, Colbert)

Family is another major aspect of this novel. Little & Lion are step siblings with a close bond. It’s rare in YA to have a strong family dynamic especially with sibling(s) being from different backgrounds & the “mother meets someone and they move in” trope, it usually is written in anger rather than love. Little is a black, Jewish main character and Colbert does go into some detail about how Suzette and her mother converted to Judaism. She includes scenes of special Jewish traditions and dinners. The relationship between the family members was very close and caring. This was one of few parents in YA done satisfactorily.

Little & Lion have a strong bond and this novel explores their bond extensively when Lion’s bipolar disorder is addressed. I cannot comment on the bipolar disorder because I do not have this disorder. But, I did feel that I got to learn a lot about Lion’s struggles especially with emphasis on his feelings toward taking pills. There is also the character, Emil who has Ménière’s disease (inner ear disease)  which I’ve never knew about and I liked that I was educated on it.

“Lionel said as much to me once, how so many of the same people who are quick to empathize with physical disabilities don’t understand why someone with depression can’t just get up and get on with their day like the rest of the world. It’s like they need a receipt that proves someone is actually going through some shit before they care about them.” (205, Colbert)

This was my first read by Brandy Colbert and I will most definitely be reading more of her work! I really liked reading from an author with different writing, her writing felt very whimsical and clean. She also writes her characters very authentically and adds tough scenes. I especially liked that she added a scene where another character is being racist to Suzette and her friend, Emil (who is biracial; black and Korean) and the character is called out for it. As well as the characters around who didn’t do anything. I highly recommend to go and read this. It’s a great diverse LGBTQ+ book about mental health.

I read this novel for Mental Health Book Bingo.


ARC REVIEW: Loving Lakyn by Charlotte Reagan | LGBTQ+


Pub. Date: November 20, 2017 

I was sent an advanced reader’s e-copy of this novel via the publicist at Inkitt. All opinions are honest and my own.

Loving Lakyn comes with a list of trigger warnings. The author provides the list on her website, please view before going into it! I will also touch on the hard topics in this review.

This is a prequel to Charlotte Reagan’s debut novel, Just Juliet. This can be read as a standalone.

Lakyn has been through many hardships in his young life from childhood to sixteen (present). The story opens up with the night Lakyn tries to commit suicide. There are many suicidal thoughts, and various vivid scenes where Lakyn is cutting parts of his body with razors. Please be aware that this can be very triggering. The reader jumps into Lakyn’s past and present relatively quickly. Memories of child abuse occur, another trigger warning because the memories are graphic and occur throughout the novel.

Lakyn has always had a close bond with his Aunt Lily and Uncle Ben, I loved seeing the relationship between Uncle Ben and Lakyn. Uncle Ben was one of my favorite characters because he is an excellent father role and helps Lakyn get the help he needs. He never pities him or treats him any different due to his past and suicide attempt. Uncle Ben treats him as his own son. In this relationship, the adoption process is focused on.

Despite his depression and suicidal thoughts, Lakyn is also gay. He has support around him from his cousins Juliet and Rick, as well as Uncle Ben. However, we do see homophobia among his peers leading to Lakyn defending himself. Lakyn stirs up a romance with a fellow classmate who happens to be a football player. I really enjoyed this romance for many reasons. First, we see the “secret relationship” cliche. I liked the way this played out because we get to see two different perspectives of gay males in high school; one in the closet and one who is completely out. We also get to see how well these two characters balance each other out and the love they produce for each other.

Image result for love is love

However, one critique I have is that this novel had one too many sex scenes. I would have been okay with at least one or two at most. It just seemed to me that every time they met up they just spent their time together having sex.

I really liked the realistic aspect of being gay in high school. It doesn’t always come with happiness and acceptance, which we see in this novel. There is also an encounter of homophobic parents. There were so many angles of coming out and I loved the way it was incorporated.

Lakyn also attends therapy sessions and I loved that we see Lakyn changing therapists. I feel as if YA doesn’t always do the job of portraying starting therapy realistically. Most teens go through more than one therapist to match their fit. Getting to see Lakyn move onto another therapist (who was a better fit) was great to see! Also, there are many scenes of him going to therapy and lots of dialogue with his therapist. This helped for character development.

Character development was excellent in this novel. We start with Lakyn trying to end his life and the misery he is going through throughout the novel. His secret boyfriend doesn’t cure him, he experiments with drugs to make the pain go away. Lakyn’s outcome at the end of this novel had me smiling and I really saw how much he developed in such a short amount of time.

This novel was very realistic and I enjoyed it so much. Lakyn is a real and very raw character. You may be taken back by his thoughts and actions, as I did. Honestly, I thought this novel was going to be too triggering for me. Some of Lakyn’s deep and dark thoughts resonated with me and this novel helped me see how far he comes. I hope you enjoy him as much as I did.

This review can also be seen on my Goodreads page. 

Pre-order the novel!  Charlotte is donating $1 from every copy sold to The Trevor Project – the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people ages 13-24. Every $1 = 1 more minute on their crisis phone, chat, and text lines.

The book releases 11/20. Click here to get a FREE ebook on release day.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten LGBTQIA+ Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR!


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. 

Today’s topic:  10 Books From X Genre That I’ve Recently Added To My TBR List — I want to know what books have piqued your interest lately from whatever genre you choose!

In honor of June being Pride Month, here are the top ten LGBTQIA+ books I’ve recently added to my TBR and some I hope to read this month.   

1. Over You by Amy Reed  (bisexual mc)

2. Top Ten by Katie Cotugno – follows a bisexual mc (got this ARC at Bookcon!)

3. Queer there and Everywhere: 22 People Who Changed the World
by Sarah Prager This first-ever LGBTQ history book for young adults will appeal to fans of fun, empowering pop-culture books like Rad American Women A-Z and Notorious RBG.

4. Starting From Here by Lisa Jenn Bigelow  middle grade lgbtqia+ coming of age. 

5. How To Make a Wish by Ashley Blake bisexual mc & own voices!! – I just bought this from The Strand Bookstore while in NYC last weekend!. 

6. Honey Girl by Lisa Freeman – I received this duology from the publisher and I’m ecstatic to get into it! Set in the summer of 1972, it follows a girl who is discovering that she likes girls.

7. Coffee Boy by Austin Chant I already have this on my TBR for the month and I’m excited to read this own voices book about a transgender boy.

8. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde – has been getting so much hype recently that I couldn’t resist adding it to my TBR list. I know this follows a f/f love story (between a character with my name?? so I’m destined to read it, I guess.) Also follows a girl who has autism spectrum disorder and anxiety.

9. History Is All You Left Me by Adam SilveraI still have not read any of Adam Silvera’s work please shun me. But, I do want to pick up his recent release because I’ve heard so much praise for it!

10. It’s Not Like It’s A Secret by Misa Sugiura This book sounds like it’s more of a coming of age/coming out story of a girl who has her first crush on a girl. I’ve never read this perspective before, so I’m interested to see how it turns out!

Happy Pride Month!