Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (review)
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Reviewed by
Colbert, Brandy Little & Lion. Little, 2017 [336p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-316-34900-0 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-316-34898-0 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R* Gr. 10-12

As if it wasn’t enough of a difference being a black and Jewish girl at her snooty New England boarding school, Suzette then had to deal with being publicly outed as a lesbian after being found in a compromising position with another girl. Thinking she can escape the drama, at least while she’s back home in L.A. for the summer, Suzette sets out to focus on making things right with her stepbrother Lionel, whose Bipolar II diagnosis probably would have continued to pass for ADHD had she not informed their parents of his depression the previous year. Now Suzette finds herself with male and female love interests, confused as to what this means and unsettled at just how undone she had left things with Iris back at school. In this story of identity and acceptance, loyalty and responsibility, Colbert weaves the intricacies of adolescence with the sensitivities of family and friends adjusting to loved ones’ mental health diagnoses. The featuring of a blended family in terms of both parentage and race (Suzette is black, Lionel is white) adds another level of depth as the family navigates their “normal” in a world that has very concrete definitions of who and what can be defined as belonging together. From the threads of love and romance, to redefining family life, readers of all walks of life will find an entry point to this title and will feel both uneasiness and a strange sense of comfort with Suzette’s final decision. [End Page 9]

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