I recently read Brandy Colbert’s most recent novel, The Voting Booth, and I loved it. Little and Lion was even better, and is one of my favorite books that I’ve read all year. Here is my review for this wonderful novel.
Little and Lion
Author: Brandy Colbert
Release Date: August 8th 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Representation: Bisexual, Black, and Jewish main character, pansexual and lesbian side characters, bipolar character
*this review is spoiler free*
When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.
But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.
I honestly don’t know how to describe my love for this book.
Brandy Colbert writes with so much confidence in the story that she’s telling, and reading the book, the characters come alive.
The diversity and representation in the cast is everything: Suzette, our main character is pretty sure she’s bisexual, but is still figuring things out. Her best friend is a lesbian: she’s known since she was 8. She is, and it is just there, a part of the story. Lionel, Suzette’s brother is bipolar, and is struggling with trusting Suzette again after she broke his trust when he confided in her about something.
The book is mainly written in the present day, following one story, however we do get a few flashbacks into Suzette’s past.
The sibling relationship is complex and adorable. It’s what the book is about, after all. Little and Lion, their nicknames for each other, are really close. They’re not biological siblings, but that doesn’t matter: they’re family.
Suzette wants to support her brother, be there for him, as he struggles with his mental health, but she also doesn’t know how.
I really appreciated Suzettes parents; her mom and Saul. Often, in young adult, parents are nonexistent, not there for their kids, or not supportive. While I’m not saying that that should not be in books, amazing parents exist, and amazing parents deserve to be in books.
Suzette’s parents are so supportive of their children, are loving and caring and are really present in their kids lives, and I think that was really good for the story.
Overall, this book is amazing in so many ways. The sibling and family closeness is so well written, and the diversity of the characters is done really well. Watching Suzette come to terms with her identity, and really embrace who she is is really beautiful, and I loved reading about her.
This book, since the second I finished reading it last night, has become one of my favorites, and I think that it’s a really important novel. This is the second book that I’ve read by Brandy Colbert, and it was even better than the first. I’m definitely going to be reading her other books.
Brandy Colbert is the award-winning author of several books for children and teens, including The Voting Booth, The Only Black Girls in Town, The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, and Stonewall Book Award winner Little & Lion. She is co-writer of Misty Copeland’s Life in Motion young readers edition, and her short fiction and essays have been published in a variety of critically acclaimed anthologies for young people. Her books have been chosen as Junior Library Guild selections, and have appeared on many best of lists, including the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. She is on faculty at Hamline University’s MFA program in writing for children, and lives in Los Angeles.
This book is on my list of books that I think every one in the world should read. It should be required reading for all high schoolers. It is just so amazing! The diversity and representation is so important, and Brandy Colbert does an incredible job of writing about a main character who is so realistic and complex: Suzette is not perfect in anyway, but she is doing her best. She wants to help her brother, but also gain back his trust. She is grappling with her identity, and is also trying to fit back into her friend group after being away for the school year at a boarding school.
My rating: 5/5 stars
To who? I recommend this book to everyone, and although this is a young adult book, I think that it will be enjoyed by teens and adults alike.