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Summer 2017 Reads
Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert

  My eleventh summer read for 2017 was the book Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert.

Little and Lion
Forgive my tired face. It is because I was very tired.

Suzette is returning home after a school year spent in a boarding school in Massachusetts. She was sent away because her home life had taken a turn for the tumultuous; her brother, Lionel, had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and their parents were concerned about a rocky situation getting worse. Now home and with nine months’ worth of personal growth, Suzette tries to fit back in with the friends she left behind and her brother.

  This is one of those books that is very hard to talk about because it is just so good, so welcome, and so heartfelt that just about anything I have to say will come off as gushing. Suzette is a wonderful character, well-written and intensely likable. Her family—consisting of her biological mom, her boyfriend, and his son Lionel—is a cohesive, supportive, and loving unit. Suzette’s interactions with both them and her friends reveals that our protagonist consists of multitudes. As she struggles with figuring out what’s right, her love and devotion to others is often the lens she uses to determine it (for better or for worse).

  Outside of Suzette and her family, all of the characters that matter are well-sketched and are relatable in a way that feels natural. The cast is super diverse and vibrant, feeling very much like an authentic rendition of an urban center’s population. All of this helps to provide emotional scaffolding to the areas that Little and Lion probes: sexuality, race, mental health, and what makes a family are all the more powerfully underscored by the fantastic cast.

  My only real criticism of the book was that there wasn’t enough of it. I wanted to know more about Suzette’s return to the boarding school and Lionel’s journey after the narrative. But if that’s the only thing I can really level at a book, I think that’s a pretty strong endorsement.

Purchase Project Northwoods at Amazon.com.   Purchase Washed Hands at Amazon.com   Purchase Improbables at Amazon.com.

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