Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, by Jaye Robin Brown

rosekalie's review against another edition

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Amazing! Simply beautiful!

jojorenji's review against another edition

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A main character I never felt like I really knew, endless lying, conflict that could've been easily avoided by just having a conversation, women being hateful to other women, problematic treatment of a character with an intellectual disability, a supposed bff relationship that seems suuuuper unhealthy...yeah. There's worthwhile stuff here - faith and sexuality, balancing how to live authentically with what other people want from you - but it was surrounded by so much stuff that just rubbed me the wrong way that I couldn't get into it. But, you know, what's one star for me is five stars for someone else - I can see how this one could resonate for others even though it wasn't for me.

karibaumann's review against another edition

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Loved the friendships and portrayal of faith and family. The story got a little bit convoluted in a frustrating way. Would be happy to see it get some awards love.

thebooksareeverywhere's review against another edition

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I picked this book up almost a year ago in Gay’s the Word while on a tour around some of London’s bookshops, as I’d seen good things about it and it appealed to me! Although this book wasn’t perfect, it made for an enjoyable contemporary with some deep and meaningful discussions. This story follows Joanna, who moves from being out and proud in Atlanta to being in a much more conservative small town. Her dad is in a new marriage, and asks her to lie low for the last year of high school because of possible judgement from those in and around the family.

This story was a journey of self-discovery for Joanna, who initially feels her life is much easier pretending to be straight and therefore not being judged by everyone she meets. But then she meets Mary Carlson, who makes her question whether it’s really worth staying closeted for the sake of those around her. I really liked the message this book portrayed of having to come out more than once. This is something LGBTQIA+ people face every day, all of their lives. There is not just one big coming out and you’re done. There will be more places and more people and that will involve more worry and concern about how they may react and the judgement you might face. Joanna definitely faces coming-out more than once throughout the course of this book!

I want to feel proud and happy about my selflessness.

Joanna’s relationships with those around her really develop throughout this novel as she begins to question everything again, despite already having an out and proud life back in Atlanta. I really enjoyed Jo’s relationship with her new stepmother, and seeing how they connected throughout the story was so heartwarming. Although her dad was not without his problems, I really liked his willingness to understand his daughter at the end of it all.

Reading about a character with a connection to faith was really interesting and I don’t feel like it’s something we see a lot of in YA. Although I’m not religious myself, I didn’t feel like Joanna’s own views overpowered her story, or that I couldn’t relate to her as a character. Although I felt some of the characters were problematic, there is an undertone of acceptance that meant I couldn’t judge them as much as I felt I would have done in other situations.

But sadly, there is a few things I disliked about this book. The plot seemed far-fetched and frankly, I don’t know why Jo really followed along for so long with what her dad was asking of her. The situation her dad put her in also felt really unfair and made me feel quite uncomfortable at times. I also feel like the ending was rushed, not thought out, and that the character of Deirdre was unrealistic and lacking in any character development. It almost felt as though she was only placed into the end of the story to allow for the ending to happen the way it did, and was not really mentioned throughout the rest of the story or given any opportunity to be more than her actions in the scenes that showed up in the book.

But what happens when being selfless takes away a big part of your self?

Overall, this was a diverse contemporary with some hard hitting discussions that felt like they were handled fairly well. I’m glad I picked it up and I flew through it super fast, so if you’re looking for a quick but hard-hitting sapphic romance this one could be for you!

3.5 out of 5 stars


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

kba76's review against another edition

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Given the shooting that has just happened in Orlando, the need for this book is great. I can certainly see how it could act as support for any teenager exploring a crisis of faith that occurs as a result of their sexuality.
Jo, as a confident and proudly out lesbian, is put in a really difficult situation. At the start of her senior year she moves with her father and new step-mother to a less tolerant area. Her father, a preacher who says he accepts his daughter, then asks Jo to hide who she really is to help them integrate into the community.
The irony that Jo then befriends a boy with two mums, and the beautiful Mary who is coming to terms with her own sexuality, will not be lost on readers. Suddenly Jo is struggling with her own crisis of faith. Should she show love and respect for her father and his new wife, or should she be true to herself?
The question of faith and what it means to us is at the heart of the novel. There are some interesting questions raised, and we see a range of views considered.
Ultimately, this has a feel-good factor in the way key issues are resolved though I did find it hard to accept some of the things asked of individuals and the scenarios that lead us to these results. An absorbing read, which I will have no hesitation to recommend.
Thanks to the publishers, via edelweiss, for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

flowsthead's review against another edition

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It's interesting to read in comparison to the previous book I just read (Everything Leads to You). They are both queer YA books but they feel almost completely different. Peaches is a much smaller story, there really isn't much of a plot beyond the direct one about the character's relationships and feelings. You could say that this story has a lot less ambition than the other one, and that would be true, but I also think it delivers a lot better. For one, this reads much more like actual teenagers. I can imagine these characters a little more vividly than I can the other ones. Whereas the other one felt like it was placed in a specific setting of LA, I didn't feel like the characters themselves were necessarily placed there. In Peaches, the setting feels less important than the way the characters fit with each other and their community. More to the point, I just got invested. I wanted the relationship to work out, I wanted the lies to be resolved, and it was a really enjoyable ride. I love that the romance blossoms before the end of the novel, and I think all of the issues in the relationship are real issues, especially to queer youth. The stakes feel real, and especially they feel real to the characters. It's a general weakness of a lot stories, but Mary Carlson, like Ava, isn't as well drawn as she could be, but I do think her role in the relationship is really well drawn. She feels a little too perfect, but then a lot of first loves do. I feel more inclined to forgive it here than I did in the previous book. And I also can't take away my emotional reaction as I basically cried through the last third of the book. I love reading about people accepting and standing up for each other and finding love with each other. Easy 3/5.

ceris's review against another edition

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Is this really a super mediocre book or am I just not into YA anymore??? Anyone’s guess

amysutton's review against another edition

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I read 2/3 of this book in the span of one weekend, and I had to take it back to the library before I could complete it. I couldn't leave it unfinished, though, so several weeks later I checked it out again and read the rest in one sitting. It's so fast paced, and the characters feel believable in a way that makes it easy to get wrapped up in the story.

I feel like so many LGBT storylines have been overdone or rehashed in so many different ways that it's like reading the same story over and over again. This story took those tropes and inverted them into something new, and I appreciated the reinvention. The main character, Joanna, is an out and proud lesbian who is also the daughter of a pastor who (surprisingly) accepts her when she comes out. However, when their family moves from the more liberal suburbs of Atlanta to the small town of Rome, her father asks her to "lie low" and go back in the closet for the sake of his acceptance into the new religious community. It sounds like it'd have an angsty, manipulative tone, but Jaye Robin Brown makes the story heartwarming with some twists of slapdash humor.

The real theme and intention behind this story was to look at being gay from a religious perspective and challenge antiquated bigotry with the central message of love. I found it very effective and very sweet. I really liked the variety of characters and I grew to love some of them, even if the really large cast made it difficult to keep up with who was whom at times. Some of the plot points also wrapped up a little neater than expected, but I still found this story to be so so enjoyable.

rcaivano's review against another edition

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Joanna, her father, and new wife move from Atlanta to a small, narrow-minded Georgia town. Because he thinks people will hate, Joanna's father asks her to stay in the closet and not let anyone know she's gay. She doesn't want to, but finally agrees. Joanna tries to fit in with this small town crowd and makes friends with a bunch of nice girls. But she starts to have feelings for one of them, and miraculously, she returns the feelings. But when Mary Carlson wants to come out, Joanna refuses and they break up. When her secret is revealed, Mary Carlson never wants to see her again, but Joanna finds that her new friends are a lot more tolerant than her father ever thought they would be. Really good. Like Dumplin'

allyem_reads's review against another edition

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So, that happened.

I’m not sure how coherent my thoughts are gonna be because it’s 2 am and I’m crying so my phone is a little blurry atm.

I truly believe I have found the book that represents me. I still say Fangirl is who I am, but wow this book is right there with it. Growing up religious and queer has always felt weird, knowing that certain people I love can’t know who I really am without rejecting me. And having that written down just made my thoughts and feelings all the more valid.

Extreme trigger warning for homophobia, racism, and ableism. I’m telling you right now please do not read this if any of these things hurt you. As important as it is to have these things in books to raise awareness and show people that these discriminations are happening every day in our modern world, it is not worth your mental health.

Anyway, I related so much to everything in this novel, except maybe the Georgian thing. I may not be the daughter of a preacher but I’m extremely proud of and tied to my faith, and yeah I’ve had to fend so many people off for saying things against queer people. It’s one of those things where like, you know it’s not uncommon for this to happen, but even though it’s a heavy topic, it makes you feel so good inside knowing that you are represented in something.

Not only do I heavily relate to the Christian aspect of this book, but I was in a very similar situation to Mary Carlson during my first relationship with a girl. I won’t get into too many details, but the bottom line is she essentially lied about not being out and therefore kept me from being able to completely come out myself and be with her freely. I completely understand the pain and the betrayal and heartbreak that Mary Carlson was feeling at the end of the book, but I am glad that she forgave Jo by the end. I hope one day God will give me the strength to do the same.

Anyway. Bottom line, I really loved this book. I can’t wait to pick up her other works. Thank you for Georgia peaches, Jaye Robin Brown. God bless you.