Carefully Everywhere Descending by L.B. Bedford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Audrey Anderson is a bright student from a low income family. Audrey spends most of her time focused on school, with college as her ultimate goal. While she's close to her best friend, she isn't that involved with other kids at her school. However, when one of the most popular (and beautiful) girls in school, Scarlett, asks Audrey to tutor her in English, Audrey finds herself caught up in the typical drama of high school - friendship, prom, etc.
Okay, first of all, I probably bumped up this rating a bit because it was just so refreshing to read a YA LGBT novel with a nice, normal protagonist who seemed real. Most of Audrey's friends and family seem fine with her sexuality and other girls at her school go to prom together. It's wonderful to see a LGBT book where the character's sexuality is just part of her life, versus what drives the entire plot.
The book also does a good job of portraying Audrey and Scarlett's romance - Audrey's unrequited love for Scarlett seemed a bit much at first, but remembering back to the angst of teen love, it seemed right on point.
My problem with this book was some of its odd plot twists, which really didn't seem necessary. I won't spoil the book here, but I think Bedford could have stuck with Audrey and Scarlett's love story and been just fine. That being said, I didn't think they were that crazy or out of left field. I found Audrey to be a compelling and realistic character and it was great to see an author use a YA protagonist from a low income background, even if it did seem a bit overused at times. Too often these books focus on the popular kids, driving their parents' cars and living life without a care in the world. Audrey's life is probably far more realistic for many.
Frankly, the book had some holes and issues, but it was still worth the read for its portrayal of a real YA lesbian relationship and Audrey's overall situation. I enjoyed her character and read the entire book in one day - I'll certainly be recommending it to several of my friends.
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