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Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  670 ratings  ·  123 reviews
Shy, intellectual, and living in rural Oregon, Triinu Hoffman just doesn't fit in. She does her best to hide behind her dyed hair and black wardrobe, but it's hard to ignore the bullying of Pip Weston and Principal Pinn. It's even harder to ignore the allure of other girls. As Triinu tumbles headlong into first love and teenage independence, she realizes that the differenc ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 31st 2014 by Ooligan Press (first published October 9th 2014)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  670 ratings  ·  123 reviews

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Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"And I knew what I had always known: I would not trade my loneliness for the halogen glow of their certainty, their dissecting light, their public lust, so bright it scared God away..."

(review also posted here.)

I first discovered this book thanks to a review by Sara Quin of the band Tegan and Sara (she tweeted about it and also has a blurb on both the front and back covers of the book). I finally ordered a copy for Christmas and decided to make it my first read book in 2015 and, W
William York
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Unique in its ability to communicate both a beautiful story, filled with well developed characters, and brilliant social commentary. In short, you will enjoy this book, and it belongs are not only your book shelf, but that of all your friends as well.

I originally wrote the rough draft of this review several weeks ago, as is my habit I put it aside awhile to rest before coming back to it. In that brief time span, however, Forgive if I’ve Told You This Before by Karelia Stetz-Waters was nominated for the

Aliena Jackson
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The lesbian representation in this book is amazing. I love this book. Oh my gods, I love this book! Read it!

Happy Pride Month everyone!!! 🏳🌈
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jessica Miler (Editorial Intern, Tin House Books): I’m reading Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before by Karelia Stetz-Waters, the newest book from Ooligan Press, where I am a staff member. It tells the story of Trinuu Hoffman who’s just entering high school in southern Oregon in the early nineties. As Trinuu comes to the realization about her identity as a lesbian, the battle over Measure 9 heats up. Filled with colorful characters who leap off the page and a dizzingly, lyrical style, Stetz-Wa ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Things I almost never do on Goodreads: write reviews and give five stars.

For me, books start out at three stars. That's the baseline. If they're good they can move up and if they stink they can move down, but a three-star rating means that the book was a solid, nothing groundbreaking but no actual bad parts read. I know this is not how many people on Goodreads rate books, but I rate books with a system that helps me remember how I felt about them when I look back through, not to appe
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-lgbt
I didn't like it. It is well written, I agree with that.
But it is too angst, too sad, too drama. And that's is not the kind of story I want to read when I open a lgbt book. Specially when the main character is cute.
Hanna Ziegler
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Forgive Me is the breathtaking coming-of-age story of Triinu Hoffman, a young woman coming to terms with her sexuality during the tumultuous gay rights struggle in Oregon during the 90s. In the broader context of homophobia and oppression, Triinu’s story is one of perseverance, bravery, and strength. Her emotional journey was compelling and relatable, and I found myself wholly invested in her triumphs and discouraged by the obstacles in her path to happiness. Her voice was fresh and enchanting, ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved it, I loved it, I loved it. Stetz-Waters writes with the delicious, simple prose that I can't get enough of. "Forgive Me" is a coming of age story about a teenage girl who realizes that she is gay at the same time that the majority of people in her hometown are fighting for anti-gay legislation. The story is both beautiful and painfully honest. Stetz-Waters perfectly captures the unique pain of first love with someone who does not want to be interested in you, as well as the bittersweetn ...more
Jean-Michel MUYL
This is not the first YA LGBT fiction I read. You'll find some of the usual conventions of the genre : the high school and its cliques, the hateful or supporting teachers, friends and foes, and the end, the prom.
Triinu and most of the novel's characters are complex, and their motives are described or suggested in the deepest manner.
She's not strugling with her sexual identity only, but also with the process of growing up, leaving childhood.
There is almost no sex her
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes one thing is enough. I loved a lot of things about this book, but none as much as the way it contains so fully the visceral truth of what it means to be sixteen and in love. The biggest triumph of Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before is Stetz-Waters's deft sewing of that prickly seam between utter pedestrian banality (Slurpees, used RV dealers, homework) and the sensational huge-ness that is falling in love. Stetz-Waters captures it perfectly here:
How could I step out of my life of Scant/>
I liked the story I think Karelia Stetz-Waters was trying to tell. And she gets full marks from me in how originally she tackles Triinu's inner turmoil and how she navigates through her friendships and romantic relationships and how she goes away from the trope of meeting the love of your life in high school.

I loved that Triinu's home was filled with poetry and parents who loved each other. I liked Triinu's childhood best friend, Isabel, a lot and how she always managed to stay true to who she
Kelly Quindlen
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt
This is such a beautiful book. I finished it two months ago but still find myself thinking about it. Trinu is an amazing, dynamic, empathetic, refreshing main character, and Stetz-Waters relays Trinu's path through adolescence beautifully. The intersection of Trinu's queer and Estonian-American identities is delicate and understated, but powerful. Her relationship with her parents is the best I've read in any queer YA book, and one of the best in YA books at large. Her parents leap off the page ...more
Shelley M.
While I was reading this, I had big feelings of déjà vu that made me realize that I started reading it a few years ago never finished. But it’s a coming out story set in the early 90s in small-town Oregon, so there was a second where I wasn’t sure if I really had read it before, or if I was just having déjà vu to my own life. I’m glad I finished it this time, because I loved it more and more as the story went on. At first, I was nervous when Triinu got so into poetry, because I kind of hate poet ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: unowned-and-read, ya
The best kind of book. Left me feeling less lonely, more creative, able to handle the animosity of others. I especially loved and connected to Trinu’s thoughts about God and faith and I feel super lucky I came across this book.
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before is a memorable coming-out story. I found the protagonist, Triinu, a smart, independent young woman, to be very relatable and real.

The setting, in both time and place, is very well defined. The temporal setting in the form of the social and political context, specifically the 1992 referendum on anti-gay measures in Oregon (Ballot Measure 9), provided a fascinating background that brought Triinu head-to-head with anti-gay discrimination. The feel
Title: Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before

Author: Karelia Stetz-Waters

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Coming of Age/Gay Fiction

Series: N/A

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was given to me by the publisher, Ooligan Press, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

Part of the reason I love young adult fiction is a classic topic: coming of age. We can all relate to being a teenager. But the tric
Terence Brierly
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If your perception of the state of Oregon derives from liberal, urban havens like Portland or Salem, you might be surprised to see the sheer number of rural, conservative counties that stretch from the Pacific to the Idaho border. Oregon is a state with a complicated history of racism, sexism, colonialism, and as portrayed in this young adult novel by Karelia Stetz-Waters, homophobia.
Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before is the story of a young, gay person growing up in a time when anti
J. Peters
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the things I ended up taking away from this book was some rather unfortunate history. And for once, it wasn't just about LGBT related history. I never really knew about Estonia and the crisis it faced, and the refugees that fled. Both of these issues are still prominent ones today.

Going in to the book, I knew it was set in the 90's, and I knew that previous decades had some very rocky moments for LGBT rights. But learning about the Oregon Citizens Alliance - that was a bit of an eye open
Sometimes the good pictures aren't the good pictures. Sometimes, it's what in the corner of a bad picture that you really care about.

3.5 stars! This was wonderfully written and though it started very slow and didn't connect to Triinu's character right away I enjoyed it. I love how Triinu developed through out the novel in terms of finding out what and who she really is, search for true love and faithful friends.

Triinu's relationship with her parents was a refreshing take, it's rare to find a
Aris Taylor
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
im fifteen years old, and ive been reading for about nine years. for about the same time, ive known i was a lesbian.
this book was the very first time ive ever seen myself in anything.

triinu is just like anyone else. shes still trying to figure out who she is, and along the way, she changes out the people who are important in her life. she slowly but surely is able to figure things out.

my favorite part about this book is that triinu doesnt seem to mind that shes a le
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As someone who lived through the '90s I relate to this story a great deal, but I hope this doesn't deter younger readers, especially teens, from picking it up. The story is beautiful and the pain is universal. Stetz-Waters captured the angst that comes with being a teenage outcast so well. The occasional arrogance, the near-impenetrable loneliness, the joy and relief of having one good friend. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this book is that it doesn't descend into common YA tropes where the prot ...more
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Writing a teen novel can be an opportunity of poetic verse that goes deep into the heart or it can be a trite tale of a superficial existence, Adding in the complexity of the LGBT experience made this YA title totally readable and fundamentally relatable.

Extra kudos for the music list in the back of the book.
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, lgbtq
A head above every YA coming of age novel I've read so far. I haven't been so engaged with a young protagonist since finishing A Tale for the Time Being. Lyrical and so very honest while maintaining a stabbing strand of realism.
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm not much of a fan of teenage characters talking like they have masters degrees, but this made a better case than most.

Biggest peeve: unsignaled gaps in time.
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If I could, I'd give it 10 stars...
Anna Chappell
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written, sad but hopeful.
I really enjoyed this book. It's really a great coming of age story.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about a young woman, Triinu Hoffman, discovering her sexuality in a rural, homophobic Oregon community—but it’s even more than that.

Author Karelia Stetz-Waters brings additional significance and impact to Triinu’s fictional story by weaving it into a broader historical moment: the statewide election in 1992 that included Measure 9, an anti-gay ballot measure that would have required all governments i
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
As is true to me for most YA titles, I found it hard to relate to the minor plots from this book: the woes an angst of a teenager, sexuality notwithstanding, have long since slipped out of my grasp, which made this book tiresome to me at points and had me sighing with annoyance at others. Some of the characters seemed overwrought, but no more than any other YA title – if I recall anything about being a teenager, it’s the vague feeling that everything is slightly more dramatic than it is when you ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished-lgbtq
'I wanted to tell her what I had suddenly realized, instantly and utterly: that the first kiss held in it the sweet bitterness of the last, and that we were all whole in the mind of God. Even my sorrow was a pinprick in that starry sky, and I would choose her over all others for this, my first heartbreak.'

Wow. This book is beautiful in ways I cannot describe. I am completely swept off my feet by this book, and its beauty. Every moment is immortalised in such gorgeous language. It is so rare to find
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