Yamilet Flores might not be religious, but when her mom sends her to a local Catholic school, she’s pretty sure it will solve all her problems. She’ll be academically pushing herself and making her mom proud of her. She’ll be able to keep her brother out of the trouble he always got into at their old school. And, maybe most importantly, she can get away from the best friend who outed and rejected her last year, and start over somewhere where no one knows she’s gay. Yami will definitely make a convincing straight girl. Right?
But then she meets Bo on day one of her new school. Bo: who stands up to the questionable academics in their classes, is bedecked with enough rainbow pins for Yami to be sure she’s gay too, and is really, really cute.
Yami is determined not to get a crush on Bo. After all, she has to be a convincing straight girl, and straight girls definitely don’t fall in love with their cute, lesbian friends. But as she begins to realize that denial can only get her so far, Yami has to figure out whether the alternative is even a possibility.
Combining hilarious twists and characters with a beautifully authentic storyline, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Yami and The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School. I was quite literally laughing from the very first page as Yami’s take on Catholic school unfolded in a brilliant cross between You Should See Me In A Crown and Heretics Anonymous, but this story also goes far deeper than that comparison implies, with a powerful undertone of self-discovery and identity that was utterly beautiful. This is one of those novels which truly feels real, with a layered complexity and diverse set of relationships that brought Yami and her story to life. The relationships in this story bear a second mention; Yami’s relationships with her parents, her brother, Bo, and her other friends are each distinct and powerfully realistic, and their choices, conflicts, and interactions gave this book an extra, incredibly authentic dimensionality. The Lesbiana’s Guide often strays into more difficult or potentially painful topics as well, but every moment is carried out with depth and sensitivity, so that this book feels not like an issue book or something remotely preachy, but like an ode to the many layers of every person’s life and the ability each of us have to support one another. Full of strength, resilience, and deft writing, I highly recommend The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School to readers ages twelve and up.