Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit - Jaye Robin Brown

Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

There is a lot I liked about this novel. There are parts I also didn't like. Overall, however, I think it's a book that needs to be read, especially by those who are in need of a book about spirituality and sexuality that actually has a relatively positive and even happy direction!

There is a lot of tension and drama in this book, mostly due to unnecessary lies and secrets from Joanna, but even so, the one thing that is practically a given throughout the majority of the text is that homosexuality and Christianity can be reconciled, which is awesome. Joanna's father barely bats an eye while they live in Austin, but after moving to Rome, GA, her father asks her to stay in the closet, at least for a bit. This, of course, doesn't work out too well, and instead ends up causing a lot of unnecessary conflict.

I liked that Brown wasn't afraid to write sex in the pages of the novel, and that she didn't shy away from discussions of sex and religion within a larger spiritual context. Though there were some discussions about slut shaming, slut shaming itself wasn't actually a major part of the novel even though a number of the young women were sexually experienced. It was quite refreshing to read, in fact!

Character-building takes centre stage in Brown's book, and although some of the dialogue is ultimately a bit too didactic for my tastes, the well-rounded characters and dialogue enrich the narrative in the end. I found myself rooting for Jo and Mary Carlson, and also B.T.B, Mary Carlson's brother. There is a a lot to love here, and I definitely Recommend Georgia Peaches with great enthusiasm!


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