Girl Walking Backwards
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Girl Walking Backwards

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,021 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Skye wants what all teenagers want--to survive high school. She lives in Southern California, though, which is making that difficult. Her mother has fallen victim to the pseudo-New Age culture and insists on dragging her to consciousness-raising workshops and hypnotists. As if this weren't difficult enough, Skye falls in love with Jessica, a troubled gothic punk girl who c...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published September 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne PetersAnnie on My Mind by Nancy GardenAsh by Malinda LoKissing Kate by Lauren MyracleHuntress by Malinda Lo
Lesbian teen fiction
19th out of 233 books — 176 voters
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah WatersFingersmith by Sarah WatersAnnie on My Mind by Nancy GardenKeeping You a Secret by Julie Anne PetersFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Best Lesbian Fiction
251st out of 947 books — 1,109 voters

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Community Reviews

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Andy Gavin
This book is rather brilliant, but isn't for everybody. In my review of Lost It (CLICK HERE), I had inquired if anyone knew any YA that was racy, and this was recommended. It's written in a breezy first-person past with a kind of stream-of-consciousness lightweight quality that made me have to look to make sure it wasn't persent tense. The prose is very very good -- fitting the material perfectly.

Skye is a fifteen-year-old growing up in Santa Barbara, and she's basically raising herself. Her mot...more
Do not waste your time with this book. To quote another reviewer on goodreads, "this book is like 'meh meh meh, i'm a lesbian, i feel things'" and is non-stop whining from cover to cover. The plot is whine whine whine, do some drugs, whine whine whine, get drunk, whine whine whine, fight with mommy, whine whine whine. Whine. It was obvious that we were supposed to be able to see through Jessica and her pseudo-deepness, but the problem was that all the stuff that was supposed to actually mean som...more
Jun 14, 2009 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: see above
I was looking for queer YA Lit, when I stumbled upon this book. As the Amazon reviews say, one of the strengths of this book is that coming out isn't the focus. I love a good coming out story as much as the next lesbian, but it's always nice to see the person behind the sexuality, and that's something we don't get very often right now. :crosses fingers: Hero by Perry Moore accomplished something similar to this book, but it happened in an extraordinary setting. I appreciate how raw the emotions...more
Amelia Jessica
This book strongly reminded me of "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson, and I mean that as the sincerest type of compliment, because I love her writing. I really loved the LGBTQ issues presented in this book, and would definitely recommend it. However, it did deal with some very adult issues and had some explicit sex scenes as well as depictions of drug use, so if those things bother you, don't read it. But if not, don't skip it, this book has a strong, unique voice (just like it's protagonist!) whi...more
I bought this from Amazon, in search of a great coming of age young adult fiction. It definitely wasn't great. The characters are so unlikable, dirty, and very, very white. I imagine goth tweenies, filty and stinky, having sex with each other and passing on STD's. Another thing I disliked, was the fact that all the lesbian sexual encounters involved drugs or alcohol. This book was really disappointing.
I felt way too old to be reading this (i'm 25) despite the explicit sex, drugs, general deviance, etc. I could get the same feeling hanging out at Hot Topic in the mall.
I would have liked this better if there had been more hand washing in it. A lot more hand washing.
hmmm, strange one. I liked this book well enough. But.
It was a slow slog for me, took me ages to read. So obviously it wasn't *that* great.
I think it was this: Bett Williams writes realllllly well. Beautifully even. But the storyline & characters were a bit petty, disguised as heavy.
Well, I suppose the issues were in a sense heavy, if you are a young adult reading this nice piece of young adult fiction.
If you're a grown woman who likes young adult fic and decide to give this book a go, you g...more
What I like about this book is the fragility of the main character as she deals with her sexuality and the people who surround her. Her mother is unstable and is obsessed with these expensive seminars. I hope things like this don't exist. They cost thousands and consist of being yelled at. She drags her daughter along. Her daughter didn't expect her vegetarian, new agey mother to go crazy over her being gay.

Poor Skye is stuck with hippie dippie parents I want to smack for being so irresponsible...more
Girl Walking Backwards: A Novel
Author: Bett Williams

Despite the negative reviews I've come across on this book, I found it to be a delightful read. I suppose you could call it an acquired taste. If you're an avid reader of many types, don't mind more of a raw over-tone, like the ladies; then I think you'll enjoy this piece of writing. It's more than a coming out story considering the main character really doesn't care who knows. The fact that she has to deal with a mother who is a bit of a new-a...more
A heartfelt and enthralling story - I felt more like an observer than a reader and the characters had so much depth. To have a story involving sexuality that doesn't focus on 'coming out' is very refreshing. I've already read Girl Walking Backwards several times and know that I'll read it again.
There is something sort of refreshing about this book: the high-school social structures seem somewhat less rigid here, and the teens themselves seem more autonomous. I was really rooting for the protagonist, who, despite having parents who have sort of checked-out, is tender-hearted and wise.
Not every book is a masterpiece, and this is one that isn't brilliant, but is an enjoyable, casual read. There isn't enough homo YA fic in the world, so this fills a niche quite nicely.
Mar 23, 2009 Tisha added it
i got this book as a gift when i was about 14 or so and now at 23 this is still my all time favorite book
this book is like "meh meh meh, i'm a lesbian, i feel things". but some parts were fine.
JSA Lowe
I apparently needed to start out the year with a YA lesbian novel, so I did. And this fit the bill perfectly. Reminded me a lot (scary parties, drug use, downwardly mobile families of origin) of Michelle Tea's Rose of No Man's Land but with a weird romance-novelesque ending. (Honestly, none of these books would have been possible without FLB, though. That you could write about queer punk teens taking Ecstasy and puking in clubs.) I finished it and was perfectly happy having my brain entertained...more
Amanda K.s.
I had a very hard time connecting to any of the characters in this book which is why I rated it so poorly. This book portrayed all the teenagers as over sexualized, crazy party goers, and drug users. Even the supposedly even- headed, over achieving athlete. I just had a hard time believing any of these characters could be real people. Just not the book for me.
In this rather modernistic literary-style novel, Skype, like most teenagers, is trying to survive high school. Turns out doing this in Southern California while having an identity/sexual orientation crisis is a bit more difficult than she anticipates. When she spots a girl, dressed in an antique black lace dress walking backwards down the street, she finds herself even more confused yet intrigued. Could this person be her salvation?

Williams has some outstanding evidences of excellence in writing...more
Tara Calaby
This isn't a poorly written book. It's just so... negative. In a showy kind of fashion. I really don't like YA books that are all about how edgy everyone's lives are and how messed up the entire world is. When I was a teen, I wanted to escape from the bad, yanno? I liked going into the happy world of Sweet Valley, because it was a lovely, escapist dream. Girl Walking Backwards is a nightmare.

And the other thing is that, once a book is all about how every sixteen year old is taking hard drugs an...more
Lily-chelle Naish
This book had the worst cliff hanger ending you dont know what happens with anyone and you dont fucking care cause it sucked to much to give a fucck
Apr 16, 2008 Nykole rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 18+ females who need enlightenment
This book is one of my favorites, I have read this so many times and it never gets old. I can relate to this no matter what I am going through. Although I wouldn't recommend it for a young teen (17 and younger), it is a very mature read for those who can handle the notation of suicide and self mutilation aswell as not so conventional relationships (this book is very heavy on the girl-girl relationship talk). This book opened up alot of doors to me and taught me alot.
This book didn't grab me the way some books do, but I can also say I read the book three times, mostly because of it's third person account of mental "illness". The entire book seems to be about her realizing that people actually ARE people who have their own realities. I'd definitely recommend this to a much younger teenage girl dealing with madness in her life.
Nov 12, 2007 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tatiana by: amazon
Shelves: young-adult, lez
i think there are two kinds of lesbian-teen fiction. girl meets girl, girls fall in love, chaos ensues when everyone finds out. or, girl meets cooler/self-destructive/straight girl, girl tries to get cooler/self-destructive/straight girl, girl fails and possibly meets girl-right-under-her-nose, all with minimal coming out drama. this is the latter.
Sarah Clark
This is the story of Skye, a 16-year-old with a mentally unstable mother and who falls for a mysterious goth girl who is also mentally unstable. See where this is going? Depravity! While the author has many beautiful sentences and observations, the story is too jagged and the characters are too depraved to really carry it off.
Devin Tait
May 14, 2008 Devin Tait rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Courtney, Ray
Recommended to Devin by: Amy
The main character's inner dialogue, personal exchanges and experiences create a tale that alternates between heartbreaking and ultimately heartwarming. The characters are so vivid you feel like you really get to know them. Bett Williams is an amazing writer with a profound ability to extract poignancy from the mundane.
While reading this book, I felt that it didn't portray teenage life very well. It was more like "Lets see how much crap I can shove into this one book and since every kid is a drug addicted alcoholic, lets have Skye be one too. Yay!" I had a hard time getting through it because it wasn't realistic to me at all
What do you do with a book that is painful to read for the first 2/3 to 3/4 and then it becomes something beautiful? This doesn't feel like a situation that is easy to rate.
In my trying time of adolescence, this book explored many curiosities and risks that my destructive self wanted to explore but wouldn't allow myself to.
Vfields is happy!
This was not one of my favorite stories. The protagonist is a mess and her mother is in even worse shape but once you start this book you have to finish it.
Adrienne Urbanski
When I was 14/15 years old I was absolutely in love with this book. I still think it's pretty good as far as coming of age/troubled teen stories go.
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“Runaways are romantic. The girls are waiflike with dyed ratty hair and baggy pants. They usually own a stray dog of the mutt variety and drag it along by a rope, plopping down in front of storefronts to beg for money from passersby. They're a mess. It is likely they'll charm you, make you think you're their best friend and savior only to end up using you and then they'll disappear. That's why they're romantic. They're there and then they're gone. Romance is always about people appearing in a flash out of nothing or people who are there and then suddenly are not. A magic trick.” 132 likes
“She was beautiful, too, with dark eyebrows and deep-set eyes outlined in black. Her image was like sharp glass cutting into me, I rushed to the surface to meet her with an urgency bordering on hysteria. Someone get gauze and bandages. I'm falling out. She's some dream I had. She's got part of me I didn't know I needed.” 3 likes
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