Amanda's Reviews > Lemon Reef

Lemon Reef by Robin Silverman
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's review
Jul 10, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: abuse, arc, contemporary-fiction, glbtq, mystery, standalone
Read from July 10 to 14, 2012

This book was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster to read, which of course is a sign of a good book.

The plot structure is incredibly complex and engaging without ever being confusing. There is the mystery of Del’s death, but also (for the reader) the mystery of why and how Del and Jenna’s romance ended tragically, as it is evident it did.

There are no easy answers in this book, and no one is easily demonized, including Talon. Every single character has flaws and good qualities. Del stands up for her siblings but won’t stand up for her love of Jenna. Jenna loves people but can sometimes get too caught up in her own world and her own needs.

The writing is lovely and fills in the framing of the plot and the characters. There are lines that just totally grab you.

I also really enjoyed that while Jenna’s coming out story (told in flash-backs and reminiscing) is rather typical, Del’s is much more complex. She is bi but is uncomfortable with the fact that she likes women too. She doesn’t want people to know, doesn’t say a thing about it to her sisters, denies it even. But we find out later that there were other ways in which it was clear she did identify as bi and part of the community. I won’t say how, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise. But I found this complexity interesting. It shows how for Jenna she had to push and come out because there was no other option. Del could sometimes pass but not always and clearly it was a struggle for her throughout her whole life. This shows an understanding of what it is to be bi that I honestly was not expecting, as it is hard to find that in novels.

There were, unfortunately, a couple of things that didn’t quite live up to the rest of the book. There were a few passages that weren’t as well-written or well-edited that detracted from the overall beauty of the book.

I also was disappointed that we didn’t get to see very much at all in regards to how this whole drama of the first love’s mysterious death impacted Jenna’s relationship with her wife. It seems obvious to me that such an incident would at least lead to a few discussions and maybe difficult moments between a married couple. I wanted to see that and not seeing it made Madison and Jenna’s marriage to her feel more like a prop than an actual element of Jenna’s life.

Overall, though, this is a unique work of GLBTQ lit. Its themes of reconciling with your past, coming out, being queer, and first love are all beautifully told within a plot that keeps the reader invested and interested. I highly recommend it to GLBTQ readers, but also to anyone with an interest in stories addressing the complexity of human relationships and the long-reaching impact of first loves.

Check out my full review. (Link will be live July 16, 2012).

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Quotes Amanda Liked

Robin Silverman
“Because minds do blow and hearts do break. Those are not just sayings. And wolves and roaches are not the only creatures that chew off their legs to get out of traps—human beings do that, too.”
Robin Silverman, Lemon Reef

Reading Progress

9.0% "Refreshing change from my more recent reads so far."
36.0% "I'm really enjoying Silverman's plot structure."
62.0% "This book gives me so many feelings!"

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