The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes

Sonora Reyes delivers a clear, compelling, and hilarious narrative of protagonist Yamilet’s (Yami) high school experience as a mostly-closeted queer brown outsider in their debut novel, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School. During an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Reyes says, “In writing [my book], I wanted to explore what a happy ending could look like in Catholic school.” 

Be prepared to get sucked into Yami’s perspective. With an opening line of “Seven years of bad luck can slurp my ass,” how could you not? Yami’s voice feels wry and charming, and with chapter titles like “Thou Shalt Not Trust a Two-Faced Bitch,” and “Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Capitalism,” I found myself smiling and laughing often. 

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Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki

From the title, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, we already know this isn’t going to end well. However, the cover is misleading. We’re met with bright, springy pastels and Laura Dean and Freddy embracing each other. We are made to believe that Laura Dean and Freddy could possibly work it out, so why does Laura Dean keep dumping Freddy? According to author Mariko Tamaki, she “always liked the idea of an ex-ex-girlfriend story, about the girl that got away and then shows up a week later with a smile like nothing happened,” and her relationships when she was younger “weren’t fairy-tale girl-meets-girl, girl-finds-true-love-type things. They were a mess.” (https://www.latimes.com

And we all know how messy teenage love can be—especially the break ups. Even if you haven’t been broken up with repeatedly by the same person, a breakup is a breakup, and you can’t help but obsess over that person you still love who doesn’t seem to love you anymore. And no one understands this better than Freddy, Laura Dean’s now ex-girlfriend.

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The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante

Review by Abigail Lee

Motherhood is a minefield in The Lost Daughter, Elena Ferrante’s 2006 novel originally written in Italian. The book was adapted into a Netflix movie in late 2021, which has brought a new wave of readers to the story. Ferrante has perfected how to explore the friction between the self and social convention, and The Lost Daughter feels like a perfect distillation of the second-wave feminist themes that populate her many works. 

The Lost Daughter is about an educated woman who, originally hailing from the poorer Naples, has ascended to the middle class of northern Italy. Leda is a 47-year-old empty nester who finds that after her two daughters leave home, she suddenly feels an unburdened liberation. She decides to take a summer vacation on the Ionian coast, and all goes well until one day, a rowdy Neapolitan family arrives at the beach. They remind her of her own family: “Every question sounded on their lips like an order barely disguised by a false good humor.” Leda notices a woman who stands out from that group, a beautiful young mother named Nina who plays with her daughter Elena. 

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