Sunday, 29 April 2012

Pretend You Love Me by Julie Anne Peters

Every day in Coalton is pretty much the same. Mike pumps iron in the morning, drives her truck to school, plays softball in the afternoon, and fixes the neighbors' plumbing at night. But when an exotic new girl, Xanadu, arrives in the small Kansas town, Mike's world is turned upside down. Xanadu is everything Mike is not—cool, complicated, sexy, and...straight. 

If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I love Peters books, and even though I have a stack of books on the waiting to be read pile, I couldn't wait to start reading it when I got it last week. And I really enjoyed it. Admittedly, I didn't click with it when I first started, which I usually do - but after a while, I was hooked.

It's basically a novel about this girl, Mike, who is a lesbian and has lived in this small town in Kansass her entire life. So it's a bit of a typical storyline - how would the town take her when they found out she was gay? But actually, that wasn't the storyline at all. The storyline dealt with a lot more problems than just liking the same sex - it was about liking someone who couldn't love you back; about coming to terms with living without someone; about learning to accept who you are; about learning that dreams can come true, you just have to believe. And at the end, I did look back on the novel and felt this wave of emotion, like I do with all her novels. I can guarantee you that after reading just one book, you will learn something new about yourself - or accept it. And I think that is a pretty amazing thing for a book to do.

However, there were some things I didn't like - another first. I'm pretty used to adoring all of the characters in a Peters novel, but it took a while with Mike. I think that is probably because she's very sporty and active, and I'm...well. I'm a couch potato. But one thing that really put me off was how harsh she was to everyone. Of course, she was going through a lot, and I would say that she is one of the strongest characters I have ever read about. But she was horrible a lot of the time - to Jamie, to Darryl, to her mum, her teachers...The only person she was nice to was Xanadu, which got me rather annoyed - though I won't say why, because spoilers. But she did annoy me a bit, which is why I wouldn't give this book a ten.

But despite it not being a ten, I would recommend it if you like books by Peters and David Levithan and John Green, and are interested in learning more about what it is to be LGBT. I still really enjoyed it, and I can't wait till I get my hands on another novel of hers.

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