4 Stars Reviews

Book Review: Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before by Karelia Stetz-Waters

Goodreads summary: Shy, intellectual, and living in rural Oregon, Triinu Hoffman just doesn’t fit in. She does her best to hide behind her dyed hair and black wardrobe, but it’s hard to ignore the bullying of Pip Weston and Principal Pinn. It’s even harder to ignore the allure of other girls. As Triinu tumbles headlong into first love and teenage independence, she realizes that the differences that make her a target are also the differences that can set her free. With everyone in town taking sides in the battle for equal rights in Oregon, Triinu must stand up for herself, learn what it is to love and have her heart broken, and become her own woman. 

Let me preface this by saying I don’t read a lot of YA. It’s been a really long time since I read any. This book starts when Triinu is around 14 which was a very long time ago for me, as was high school, a setting that dominates this book. It’s very focused on Triinu’s queer coming-of-age within a very religious community, and I’ve never been that surrounded by religion, so to begin with I just felt really removed from the whole story. However, the more I read, the more involved I felt and I started to strip back some of the more situational aspects of the book and consider Triinu’s story from a more generalised perspective that made it more relatable for me personally. Plus, it reminded me of how I was at that age and in school and I was like ‘Oh okay… actually, I get this.’ I really empathised with Triinu and ended up quite emotional by the end of it (luckily I finished reading this in the gym, where any hint of tears was conveniently masked by sweat). I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a great queer YA read.

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Read for the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge prompt: a book set in the decade you were born. This book takes place between ’89 –  ’93, and I was born in the ’90s.

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