She Loves You, She Loves You Not . . . (review)
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Reviewed by
Peters, Julie Anne. She Loves You, She Loves You Not... Tingley/Little, 2011 [278p]. ISBN 978-0-316-07874-0 $17.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 9-12.

Seventeen-year-old Alyssa had a good life and the perfect girlfriend, Sarah. In one day, however, everything comes crashing down: she is caught making out with her girlfriend by her extremely homophobic father and shipped off to her mother. She's also devastated to find that Sarah was going to dump her anyway, because she had fallen for their friend, Ben, who until now identified as gay. It's all a big mess, and being disowned and sent away to her exotic-dancer mom, whom she only sees every few years, isn't helping matters. But the quiet, the slower pace, and the small-town vibe of her mother's lifestyle actually do help Alyssa quite a bit, as does slowly getting to know her mom, who has endured more than Alyssa ever knew and who could certainly teach her kid a few things about loss, patience, and living through huge mistakes. Intriguingly, there are very few likable characters [End Page 534] in this novel: Alyssa's stalker tendencies and judgmental stance make her hard to root for; her new crush and her mom are both slightly flaky, not quite honest with themselves, and prone to running from their problems; her dad is a raging bigot; and her friends are pretty lame. The fact that this novel is so compelling, taut, and heartbreaking even with few amiable people is certainly to Peters' credit, as is the messy imperfection of these GLBTQ kids who don't have any more of a clue than the average straight teen about what they're doing when it comes to romance. The slightly-too-happy ending can be forgiven, as teens will likely be so relieved Alyssa finds something that feels like real family that they'll be glad for it.

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