By: Charlotte Reagan
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Coming of Age, Homosexuality
Juliet represents the road less traveled. Will Lena take it?
Lena Newman is 17, her best friend’s a cheerleader, her boyfriend’s a football player, and as far as everyone is concerned, her life is sorted. But that’s before she befriends the new girl. Juliet is confident, slightly damaged, drop-dead gorgeous and a lesbian.
Lena realizes that her interest goes beyond just friendship. She sets off on a path of self-discovery where the loyalty of those closest to her will be tested. (from Amazon)
Lena comes from an upper-middle class loving family, has a gorgeous football boyfriend, and great friends. Perfect, right? Close, but not quite. While Lena’s parents may love her, their lives are consumed with their careers, barely qualifying them as actual parents. And her boyfriend? Well, he may be cute and nicer than she thinks she may deserve, their relationship is void of any romantic feelings, especially on her part.
Juliet is the new girl at school. She’s tall, beautiful, fun, and artistic. Lena finds herself quickly preoccupied with her, not understanding why. As their friendship deepens, she begins to realise that she is physically/sexually attracted and borderline obsessed with her. Never having questioned her sexuality before, and having dated boys exclusively, Lena goes through a period of confusion, trying to make sense of her feelings. She searches her past, researches the topic, and confides in her gay friend, Scott. At the end of this journey, Lena discovers and learns to accept that she is bisexual.
Just Juliet touches on, not only the topic of self discovery, but the struggles of “coming out”. It deals with a variety of situations ranging from love and acceptance to physical end emotional abuse, drug abuse, self-harm, and suicidality. Reagan does a wonderful job of incorporating a huge range of real-life struggles for homosexual and bisexual teens without deflecting from the story or bogging it down.
Although I don’t recommend Just Juliet to young readers do to the sexual nature of the story and the language (that seemed to increase as the book progressed), I do think that it’s an important read, evoking much needed compassion.
Disclosure: When I received a review request for Just Juliet, it was perfect timing. I had just completed my last book review and was searching for another YA.(I’ve limited my reading to YA for the time being to help my creative juices while working on Almana‘s second book.) The email didn’t include much of a premise, and I had no idea that it was about a girl coming to terms with her bisexuality and falling in love with another girl. When I figured this out, after agreeing to review it, I thought about backing out and citing my Christian beliefs. But I thought better of it. Ultimately, as a Christian, I am a humanitarian. I strongly believe that I have no right to force anything on anyone. This includes my faith, my sexual beliefs, my vegetarianism, or heck, my love for my sweet kitty, Triscuit. I live my life according to my conscience, and I will not judge, I refuse to judge, someone for doing the same. I love and accept people wholly. In the end, I came to realise that the reason why I was thinking about backing out of reading and reviewing Just Juliet was because I was afraid of others questioning my faith. My faith and convictions are strong, and I see this an opportunity to shine in that faith, showing others that faith should equal love and compassion not hatred and judgement.
Some food for thought…
Fact: You choose who enter into a relationship with.
Fact: You cannot choose what you are attracted to. Clothing, hair style, rough and rugged, lean and athletic, soft and round, male or female.
What if you woke up tomorrow and your religious text had changed? What if it were wrong to be heterosexual? You love your spouse/partner and find them physically attractive. You could choose to remain with them and have a loving, fulfilling relationship. Or you could do what is right and choose to end the relationship and remain single, never to be loved or love again. Never to be touched or desired. Or you could enter into a homosexual relationship, looking for some sort of companionship, only to find that it is empty and lonely. Yeah, s/he is a great friend, but you want love! Not an easy choice after all. Is it?
About the Author:
Hey guys I’m Charlotte Reagan, born, raised, and currently residing in a small town in Texas with my cat. I’ve been writing pretty much all my life, even when I was too young to know how to put my stories down on paper. Once I started I couldn’t seem to stop! I still have boxes of old notebooks filled with ideas and plots that I never finished.
I write young adult romances focusing primarily on LGBT+ relationships. I’m part of the community myself and write about the struggles I’ve witnessed and gone through while coming and living out.
I believe that when you step out of the closet you’re stepping out of the dark and into the light, and I want my stories to reflect that belief. I know it still can be scary and even dangerous, but it’s better to struggle for your truth than hide in a lie.
The LGBT+ Community and LGBT books have always been a source of great support for me and I hope that my books can maybe be there for someone else.
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