Cover Image: Big Island

Big Island

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Member Reviews

Samira wants to be a journalist so she visits her uncle to work a summer internship on a university newspaper. Alex is also in the program and they become girlfriends. This is a story of first love and coming of age as Alex and Samira prepare for their future at university. Loved it.

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Even though I am way past this point in my own life, there is still something so sweet about a coming of age story! Adding the LGBTQ element to the story makes it even more heartwarming to read and I am so happy for young queer girls to be able to have this story available to them as they grow up and begin to navigate the world and their sexuality.

The story itself was sweet, easy to get through, and overall made me feel very happy. I enjoyed it a lot. Thank you for the opportunity to review.

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This is a very cozy queer ya romance, opposites attract, growth occurs, and there’s even a time jump which made it all more fun. The main characters are both very intelligent and focused girls who are both participating in a summer journalism course in Tasmania. One of them lives there, and the other is looking to pursue her journalism dreams and escape her father (a politician who she doesn’t quite agree with) to stay with her uncle for the summer. Despite differences and miscommunications, the two of them work things out, go on an absolutely adorable choose your own adventure date courtesy of Alex, and grow both apart and together. It’s a sweet cozy read.

This ARC was given to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Cute young adult second chance romance book set in Tasmania. The main characters in this store were relatable and I enjoyed their relationship.

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This was definitely a cute, easy and fast read. I enjoyed it but there was just something that was missing for me to make it unforgettable.

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Samira comes from a privileged family, her dad is a political figure who enjoys using her for his political gain. She decides to get away from it all and gets into a summer course in Tasmania, far from home. Alex was born and raised in Tasmania and is very passionate about journalism. The two clash before they hit it off and more ensues...

This was pretty good. It was a nice time but I don't think it's gonna stay with me. I most likely won't remember most of it very soon. I still thought that it was pretty good. The characters were interesting and I really enjoyed the dynamics in the journalism class. I liked the next summer also. The work dynamics were so interesting, so were the family ones. I especially liked the relationship between Samira and her uncle. The main relationship was good but it didn't enthrall me. I also liked the setting, it had been a while since I read a book set in Australia and that was fun.
Overall, a good, enjoyable book.

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I really enjoyed this coming-of-age sapphic YA romance! It was cute and light and also layered with emotions and just teens learning things. I do wish some of the story lines had been wrapped up— like what did happen with Samira’s dad in the end? And whatever happened to Riley, did she really just disappear? I think even a sentence or two would clear those questions up, but otherwise I really enjoyed this book!

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I was a bit nervous going into this book since it is Young Adult and normally I have trouble with them, but I loved the cover and description of this one so here we are!

Honestly, I really enjoyed this book! I don't know what magical powers O'Berine has, but I was hooked from the first page of this one. I absolutely loved getting to know Samira and Alex and learning about the world through their youthful eyes as they learn to grow.

This book touched on a lot of real life situations, without being too over the top or unrealistic which I appreciated. The characters had a lot of depth to them, for being so young but I could really feel for them and connect to them which is extremely important to me while reading.

I am going to recommend this book to people who I believe will enjoy it and read other books by this author in the future!

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this was a cute ya lesbian romcom and honestly it had all the pieces to be exactly for me. i also found the tasmania setting to be really interesting, i've never read a book set in tasmania!!

- lesbians!!!
- journalism camp
- enemies to lovers

the only issue i had with this book was i felt like the main couple kept getting into the same arguments over and over but eh it's ya and the girls are like 17-18, so i don't mind as much.

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Emily O’Beirne captured what nearly every LGBT teenage feels when they realized that they are gay or struggling to be open due to their assumptions of other people.

Samira and Alex come from two different worlds but are overly attracted to one another. Their journey is not straightforward (pun intended) but beautiful.

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This book focuses on Alex and Samira. They are both enrolled in the summer journalism course. These two women are constantly bickering. Alex wants to do things above and beyond and from the country, while Samira uses her father's connections to help her look better and she's from the city.
The more time they spend together leads to an attraction that eventually ends up in tatters.
A year later, the two find that they both are interns at their university's school paper. They try to avoid each other as much as possible, but the embers of what they had are fanned by more time spent together.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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thank you to netgalley for the advanced reading copy. I really enjoyed this and will be getting copies for my shop.

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Very sweet YA, f/f romance, set in Australia. Samira and Alex meet during a two week summer journalism course in Tasmania. Samira is from Brisbane and her father is a successful businessman and conservative politician. Her uncle who also teaches at the college invites her to stay with him. It is a change for her learning to navigate transit, cook meals and even do laundry. But mostly she loves the course and makes good friends while doing it. Alex is bright, driven and local. Even though their time together is brief, there are budding feelings between the two.

Fast forward another year and Samira is back visiting her uncle again and volunteers as an intern for the college paper. And of course she runs smack dab back into Alex. Alex is working for the paper before heading to university in Melbourne. A year older, and both with more experience they easily fall back into their previous friendship. There are some good extras issues going on. Alex’s home life is difficult as the dad and brother work weeks at a time in the mines and mom is distant. Samira has ignored applying for college as her father wants her to stay in Queensland so he can use her as a prop for politics and business deals. And I love that they are investigating real issues for the paper.

I’m new to the author and was blown away at how well the story flows. The kids are age appropriate in behavior and actions. There is very good communication and a good sense of friends beyond the pairing. The romance is closed door and goes slowly from kissing to wanting more. And I love how both girls have to speak up for themselves, respectfully for what they want. Recommend for 9th grade and up. This was published May 2022 and I received a copy from Ylva Publishing via NetGalley. (4.5 Stars)

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Thank you NetGalley for granting me access to this ARC in exchange for a honest review.

This book was so cute! I loved the two FMC and I enjoyed reading about their relationship.

I felt like I could relate to a few issues in this book and I love when that happens. I would highly suggest this books to anyone looking for a YA romance!

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-second chance romance
-first love
-opposites attract

TW: emotional abuse, homophobia, misogyny and outing

First of all, thank you NetGalley for the ARC

“Big Island” by Emily O'Beirne is a second chance young adult lesbian romance book that takes place in Tasmania.
It’s the first book that I read by this author but surely not the last.

I absolutely adored Samira and Alex. I liked their relationship and they were fantastic MCs. The book's journalism aspect was very engaging and the overall story was very interesting.

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would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this book

alex and samira, two young teenagers about to start a summer of journalism, to give them a taste to see if they like it but before the summer is over these two will become an item and then crash spectacularly

a year later with a summer intern again doing journalism alex and samira find themselves working together and though its a frosty start things between them thaw

but samiras world is totally different from alex's her father is a politician and always saying stuff without thinking and samira is just trying to get her own life together

can alex and samira come together before they start uni or are they destined to alway not understand each other

an interesting read about first loves and how they overcome their own obstacles

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Rounded up from 4.5 stars. A lovely, kind book with a real sense of place and some nice variations on the usual beats of a romance plot. Also, the "big island" isn't always Hawaii. For some people, it is Tasmania.

Alex and Samira are thrown together for a two week summer journalism course. They find each other almost too late, then come back to the paper the next summer not trusting how things were left.

It has the usual big secret/misunderstanding/obstacle, whatever, but instead of a breakup, we see disappointment but continued trust and care. What a nice change from most romances.

I loved how the setting of Tasmania flavored the novel. I was looking at maps to sort out where Samira was staying in South Hobart and where Alex might live. Camping at Lime Bay sounds lovely.

I've been impressed with what I've read from Ylva Publishing, I'll keep an eye out for their books.

Highly recommended.

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This was a cute read! I don’t usually read a lot of YA these days, so it was a bit of a different experience for me.

I liked the rivals to lovers and second chance aspect of the story. I enjoyed the realistic portrayal of people needing to work through their feelings to move forward.

I also really enjoyed the different family dynamics and the role that played in each FMC’s story.

I was a bit less interested in the journalism side of the story- but didn’t hate it.

Overall, if YA is your jam I’d say check it out. It’s a cute story 🙂

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Teen love angst and drama in Tasmania (4.5 stars)
I've read everything published by the author to date and always appreciate how accurately characters are written, particularly those in their late teens and young adult years without resorting to stereotypes. With each book - and this one is no exception - O'Beirne manages to be a fly on the wall observing teens and adults beyond their behavior, burrowing into their thoughts and feelings, and dictating it onto the page in a way that's often illuminating reading. Even knowing that her books are not geared to my specific age demographic, I look forward to reading each one because the storytelling is top notch and the characters are refreshingly real: distinct and complex in their makeup, with interpersonal relationships heavy with history and/or affected by insecurities and assumptions that color communication between them, be they friends, lovers, colleagues, or family.
There is humor in the book as well as drama and some angst. The setting of Tasmania Australia is lovingly portrayed with its mix of tourist draws and the places the locals flock to; it may entice a reader to hop a flight to see it in person for more than the penal colony attractions the island is best known for. The ending is fitting to the story's trajectory but some of the many plot threads felt to me off balance where they received a lot of attention on the page initially to introduce and develop, but their resolution by comparison was more abbreviated. They were not central plot threads but the way they tapered off at their end was noticeable to me and left me wondering about a few things that could be covered in a follow up story at some point with a time jump. It's a minor issue and my only criticism of the story. I recommend it and all other stories by the author.

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I unfortunately did not love this book as much as I thought I would. Maybe this book just wasn’t for me, but I have read a lot of YA sapphic romance books, and this just didn’t hit the mark. The writing felt extremely juvenile for a YA book, and the plot was both fast paced but also extremely slow. It also was way too long, certain parts seemed to drag. I thought their initial breakup was poorly done and honestly didn’t make much sense. And then when they see each other again a year later, I felt like the story focused more on their journalism job that it did their relationship.

I did like the dual POV and that they both were unapologetically themselves around each other. I think the personal maturity that comes from your first breakup was shown really well. Overall, I think this book would be better suited for a younger audience than myself

Thank you to the author and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review

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