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  • Keri D. James

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

If you are a writer and you are looking for inspiration, the best way to do that is to READ. Particularly, it is important to read the genres that you are interested writing in.

As I mentioned in my last blog, in the past I was notorious for writing one chapter in Echoes of Blue on Fictionpress and then leaving the poor souls who made me and my story a "favorite" with nothing else to read for a whole year.... or three years.... but who's counting? *cough*

One of the ways that I have kept myself inspired to write and update consistently these past few months is reading. Specifically YA LGBT novels. They've inspired me to keep going even when I'm not "feeling like it." They've made me laugh. Made me tear up. And a couple of them have made me wish I was finished reading when I was only halfway through (sorry).

A YA LGBT novel that really stood out to me recently was Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown.

After running across a couple novels that were good but otherwise depressing, it was a breath of fresh air to stumble upon Brown's novel. I could get into a lengthy reason why but the best way I can sum it up is -- this novel was fun. And it was hard to put down. There were a few nights where I was up till 2:00 a.m. because I still could not put the book down after reading 120 pages (yes, in one sitting). The promise of the morning coming quicker than I would like was the only reason I was able to finally set it aside till the next day. That is how much I enjoyed this book.

I really appreciated how this novel approached religion and Christianity. Joanna (or Jo) was an out-and-proud lesbian who also happened to be an out-and-proud Christian. She found a way to make both aspects a part of her without compromising herself or her faith. So many times we read a YA LGBT story that has a Christian character who hates herself/himself or struggles with being gay and a Christian. Not Jo. She was on fire. And it was refreshing.

The fact that Jo was so comfortable with who she was made it difficult to understand why her proud father would want her to hide. To be the perfect, southern belle when they moved to a small town. While it was difficult for Jo, she found a way to act and embrace "the part" just to make her dad happy. It was when she met Mary Carlson that things began to get interesting.

The slow build-up of their relationship was also one of the things I appreciated most about this story. It's probably also why I ended up reading 120 pages at a time over and over again -- their relationship was a slow burn.

I'm not going to go on much further for fear of spoiling anything for you, but if you are looking for a "breath of fresh air" kind of read, Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is where you want to start. I highly recommend it.

Only downside? I was so into Brown's story that I totally neglected mine... back to the grind!! :)

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