Two Vancouver-area teens struggle with putting labels on themselves.
In You’re You, Freyja has just been dumped by her girlfriend, Rachel, who thinks Freyja is too much of a spotlight-hogger (both girls are white). A vlogger and gay-straight alliance leader with a growing following, Freyja is exhausted by how many people reach out after Rachel announces they’ve broken up, but when she considers stress eating, that prompts a web search—what do poor people do when they can’t afford to stress eat?! She decides to volunteer at a food bank, but the real learning experience isn’t about poverty—it’s coming to terms with feeling attracted to Indian-Canadian Sanjay, the team leader, when she’s always considered herself a lesbian. Filled with pop-culture references that already seem dated, this hi-lo novel otherwise handles Freyja’s learning experiences reasonably well. True to You, by Tony Correia (Same Love, 2017, etc.), tells the story of Portuguese-Canadian wrestler Jorge, whose relationship with his first boyfriend, Thom (who is black), is strained because of socio-economic differences (Jorge is from a working-class family and Thom’s is wealthy and status-conscious) as well as Jorge’s decision to take steroids to further his wrestling career. There is nuance in the appropriately lower reading level in both books, however they falter when it comes to shifts in time, and readers may be confused as to how quickly feelings change and decisions are made.
Standouts for queering the world of fiction for reluctant readers. (Fiction. 13-18)