|Little & Lion|
Author: Colbert, Brandy
Suzette returns home to Los Angeles from boarding school and grapples with her bisexual identity when she and her brother Lionel fall in love with the same girl, pushing Lionel's bipolar disorder to spin out of control and forcing Suzette to confront her own demons.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 192414
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 6.40
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 71815
Kirkus Reviews (+) (05/15/17)
School Library Journal (+) (00/06/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/09/17)
The Hornbook (00/09/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/15/2017 *Starred Review* Suzette’s back in California for the summer after spending the year at boarding school in New England, and she’s looking forward to being back home, though she’s nervous about reuniting with her stepbrother, Lion. Before she left for school, she broke a promise to Lion and told their parents his bipolar disorder was getting out of control. Now that she’s back, she’s worried she irrevocably altered their relationship, and while she’s trying to rebuild it, Lion starts to spiral again. Meanwhile, Suzette is facing some new truths about herself, too. At boarding school, she was surprised to fall hard for her roommate, Iris, and back home, she’s even more surprised to discover feelings for her old friend Emil, her mother’s best friend’s son. As the plot bounces back and forth in time, Colbert juggles all the moving parts expertly, handily untangling Suzette’s complicated feelings about herself and her relationships and gradually illuminating pithy moments of discovery. One of many notable strengths here is Colbert’s subtle, neatly interwoven exploration of intersectionality: Lion is desperate to be defined by something other than his bipolar disorder, and Suzette learns to navigate key elements of her identity—black, Jewish, bisexual—in a world that seems to want her to be only one thing. This superbly written novel teems with meaningful depth, which is perfectly balanced by romance and the languid freedom of summer. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2017 Gr 10 Up—Suzette has been devoted to Lionel from an early age, and vice versa. At first glance, they don't look like siblings—a black girl and white boy barely a year apart in age—but their blended family is closely knit. At her parents' insistence, Suzette has been away at boarding school since Lionel's mental health began to deteriorate and he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Now she's back in L.A. for the summer, and she finds more complications waiting. Suzette is dealing with the aftermath of a secret relationship with her roommate at school, new feelings for her childhood friend Emil, and an attraction to the same girl her brother likes, and the secrets Lionel wants her to keep are the last thing she needs. Intersectional and honest, this book covers topics of mental health, sexuality, and family without sugarcoating or melodrama. The supporting characters are just as vivid as the leads, with full personalities and backgrounds of their own (for instance, Emil is black and Korean and wears hearing aids) that are never a cheap plot point. Suzette is a sympathetic and flawed character, struggling to overcome her own fears to do right by the people she cares about. VERDICT A moving, diverse exploration of the challenges of growing up and the complicated nature of loyalty. Recommended for all YA collections.—Amy Diegelman, formerly at Vineyard Haven Public Library, MA - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.