And She Was by Jessica Verdi
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Oh, I had such hopes for this book! Dara's life with her single mother, Mellie, is upended when Dara learns that Mellie was born male and transitioned (as well as fled, with infant Dara, from his/her in-laws, having left his family years before). Dara is, understandably, confused and interested in meeting her extended family... so she and BFF/boy-almost-next-door Sam head off to find her maternal grandparents.
So what went wrong? Mellie's story is told via email, which means far too much telling and far too little showing. The Dara/Sam relationship is so predictable it almost hurts. Also predictable? The conservative, anti-LGBTQ grandparents. And that Dara's new-found aunt is using her parent's Charleston home as an animal rescue operation (in other words, these conservative people do have a really good side! they're not all bad!) is just kitchen sinking. Had any one of those elements been different, this might have been stronger. Take away another element, stronger still.
ARC provided by publisher.