Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit – By Jaye Robin Brown

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Goodreads Synopsis: Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

This book was both painful to read and entertaining.  Painful because there’s a lot of bigoted shit that people say and do to the main character. And entertaining because it is a well written, cute romance story.

The book starts with Jo moving to a new city with her dad and new stepmom. And despite her dad claiming earlier that he doesn’t mind that she’s gay and that he supports her, he decides to tell her spend an entire year pretending not to be gay.  This is not only rude but contradictory on the dad’s part but it made me feel for Jo.  She’s a wonderful character and I loved that she put so many people’s needs before her own.  And it was also good to see her grow as a person and start realizing that she can stand up for herself, and work to make herself happy.

All of the characters in the book have a lot of personality. Jo’s mother grew on me and grew as a character to realize how homophobic she was without meaning to be.  Jo’s best friend is really selfish and honestly quite rude to Jo at times, but Jo is loyal and works things out. I think my favorite character is the love interest Mary, she’s sweet and strong and is willing to stand up for herself and her beliefs. Jo ends up learning a lot from her. Though I do feel like if Jo just learned to communicate better half of her life problems would have gone away much faster. Still it was a lesson she had to learn and I understood that.

The characters in this book are christian, Jo is very strongly so and her dad is a sort of pastor.  Because of this I found the book a bit preachy at times and that I did not like at all. I know some people didn’t find it preachy, so I guess it’s really just up to the reader.

In the end I gave this book 4 stars.

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