Late to the Party

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Apr 2020

Member Reviews

While all adolescent bildungsroman are about the struggle to grow, this book is kind of unique in that it is about that struggle directly, with no metaphors, subterfuge, or red herrings. Personal growth is the main conflict of the story and the heroine's direct goal. I found that very refreshing! Coupled with that were varied and well-realized characters; realistic, complicated friendships; and great descriptions of the urgent, anxious, and tender feelings of first romances. The main character is a lesbian, and her best friends are gay and bi, and this is also an unusual and delightful story because none of them experience homophobia—instead, these YA characters have concerns about whether their crushes feel the same way (just like straight people!) and whether they will be accepted and loved by their communities for their full, multifaceted selves (also just like straight people!). It meant more to me than I realized it would, that this exists.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars 

This is so cute. It's extremely easy to connect with the m.c., Codi, because she reflects a level of awkwardness and uncertainty that everyone faces in high school. I love that her concerns are not stereotypically identity-orientated. She does not worry how people will react to her identity: specifically her sexuality. Instead, she worries about whether or not she is the kind of person who just doesn't go to parties, who only hangs out with misfits, and who has never kissed someone. Her concerns are based on her in/actions, and I found this approach to her character so refreshing. 

There is some pretty great representation here when it comes to gender identity and sexuality. A lot of the kids in the novel identify as LGBTQ+, and while they are talking about their identities, this isn't the stereotypical coming out novel or one in which every kid is focused on how others will react. They're just typical kids, and they love whom they love. I am always thrilled to see intersectionally diverse characters just living their lives rather than being tokenized or exploited based on one or more identities, and this author makes a real achievement on that front. 

I will absolutely be recommending this novel to students, colleagues, and friends for its engaging characters, swift plot, charming relationships (I'll add that the m.c. and her brother are #siblinggoals), and positive representation.
Was this review helpful?
Let me start by saying that "Her Name in the Sky" is one of the best books I've read in years--it may be on my top 10 list of wlw books of all time. I can't rate this book as high as that one, but it was still very good. Kelly Quindlen has created a wonderful ensemble of well-developed and believable characters. They reminded me of my group of friends when I was 18 or 19 years old, and I appreciated how realistic their dialogue was. The way they hung out and their little get-togethers and parties felt really familiar as well. I think this would be a great book for a queer teenager to read, and because of the variety of characters, it would probably appeal to a wider range of readers than HNITS would.. It feels like it sets up for some sequels quite well--I think readers would be interested in seeing how Codi and Lydia's relationship develops, or even books that center on characters like JaKory or Ricky. Kelly Quindlen is contributing really valuable works to the LGBTQIA+ literary canon.
Was this review helpful?
No one portrays desire and longing between gay girls quite like Kelly Quindlen. Everything about this book felt real. The fear and hesitation, the not feeling like you fit in, feeling like you've outgrown friendships, the nebulous reality of people going off to college. Really enjoyed this!
Was this review helpful?