Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Starting From Here

Starting From Here by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
4/5 stars
Amazon Children's Publishing, 2012
282 pages
YA Contemporary LGBT

Source: Received an ARC through Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

This was a different kind of contemporary for me-most of the YA books I read are filled with characters who are economically comfortable if not insanely rich. The biggest worry might be paying for college, certainly a concern in this age of skyrocketing college expenses. But money isn't so much a concern. That is not the case in Starting From Here.  Main character Colby lives in a trailer, works a boring job at a grocery store to pay for gas and insurance (having worked at a grocery store, I can confirm that it is often dull), and rarely sees her father as he is always off driving his cab, trying to keep them afloat. I liked that this economic situation kind of shook me up and gave me a different perspective.

In some ways, this could be viewed as a pretty bleak book with Colby in a depression, never recovered from her mother's succumbing to cancer and falling further in when her not-quite-girlfriend Rachel dumps her and gains a boyfriend almost immediately. Colby is also extremely isolated and aching for her father's presence even though she cannot spit out the words. There is so much pain. I just wanted to hug Colby and there is an adult character who tries to reach out to Colby with some bumps along the way. She didn't seem to realize she was loveable and it just broke my heart.

Then Colby rescues a dog and starts flirting with a new girl and things are looking up! But not before more drama. Happily, unlike a lot of LGBT literature, this one ends optimistically. I haven't read very widely in that sub-category but I'm glad to have a book with its bright spots to balance out the darkness. I do tend to prefer happier lighter books than this one but you can rest, knowing that although a lot is packed into this story, it ends with hope.

Overall: A short book but a good one. It's not about starting all the way over; it's about starting from here and making the situation better.


  1. How did I miss that this was glbt? Ahhh, I really want it now. Also, I was totally thinking the other day how few books focused on heroines or heroes in a low economic bracket. Most of the characters in YA are solidly middle class. Sounds great!

  2. This book sounds so sad, but I actually don't mind that...
    Sometimes it's good to read a book about kids with real problems, not YA problems like "two hot guys are in love with me."
    Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.

  3. I find I have to be in a very specific kind of mood to enjoy hard/depressing books, even when they end on a positive note. But this one sounds pretty good, so I'll have to add it to my list of books to consider when I'm in the right kind of mood :)

  4. Glad that this one gives a hopeful ending. I find it hard to end on a down note!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake


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