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Girl Walking Backwards

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,514 Ratings  ·  63 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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Andy Gavin
Oct 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbt
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I would have liked this better if there had been more hand washing in it. A lot more hand washing.
rated it did not like it
Jan 26, 2010
Amelia Jessica
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Spider the Doof Warrior
May 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 19, 2015 rated it liked it
The blurb pretty much tells the entire story, but Girl Walking Backwards is about Skye, a gay teenage girl navigating her last few months of high school. But it’s easier said than done when her crazy mother is forcing her to attend New Age consciousness-raising workshops and the like by threatening to not let her attend college. Also, she insists that Skye is only pretending to be gay as a way of acting out. Then Skye meets and falls in love with Jessica, a deeply troubled girl who is probably s ...more
Kaylin Jones
Nov 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
Stopped reading.
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I searched "LGBTQ+ literature" and stumbled across this gem of a novel :)

This book is good, but if you're a cynic-- stop. Do not pick up this book. You will not like the main character, the plot, and the writing style.

Okay. So. My favorite novels are The Catcher in the Rye, Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. In other words, I am an angsty teen, and I fully recognize that. Why am I clarifying this? Well, this book is ANGSTY. As in, every oth
May 04, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
this book is like "meh meh meh, i'm a lesbian, i feel things". but some parts were fine.
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
Aug 28, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Rating: 2.5 to 3

Review coming soon. Maybe I need to re-read this at a different time.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Why do we always fall for the wrong girl? Probably because we do not know any better. That is what most of this book is about. Skye is a typical teenage character who is surrounded by typical teenage characters. The plot is typical but still good. This wasn't a blow me out of the water type book but it was definately readable.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book is trash. I highly recommend that you don't read it. I am just giving my opinions to many drugs and nothing makes sense. Why the heck does she eat grass who does that? Someone is not telling the truth about these relationships so don't read it please unless you like books that don't make any kind of sense. Thank you for your time have a good day :)
Alexandria Hayden-Gill
Nope. I'm cool with sex in books, lez or hetero. However, masturbating while your best friend jerks off not once, but many times in a lesbian book? Nope.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
it was the best book in the world!
Meet Skye, a 15 year old girl growing up (mostly unassisted by her parents) in southern California. Her mother is a hippie come New Age junkie who tries every new movement as it comes out, while still medicating herself heavily. Her father is an independent film producer who lives in LA, and indulges in shallow relationships with various girls...remembering he has a daughter only when it suits him. Skye herself has had a rocky life. She was exposed to the hippie/drug/free love culture as a young ...more
JSA Lowe
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia, young-adult
This book isn't getting enough love on Goodreads. I almost gave it five stars, but an earlier reviewer had a point--it needs more hand-washing. Every chapter contained at least one scene that needed to be followed by one or more characters using gobs of GermX.

Skye is a perfectly self-involved teenager whose stream-of-consciousness sort of narration is charming as can be. Her mother is trying to cope with divorce by immersing herself in all things New Age-y, including hypnosis and bizarre self-co
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Skye is a girl who is sort of bisexual, but mainly lesbian. She and her boyfriend do very heavy petting but never have intercourse; he gets her to orgasm and then brings himself to orgasm.

Her parents are divorced, her father works in Hollywood, and her mother is into New Age-type workshops. She also can't really accept Skye being a lesbian.

Jessica is a girl that Skye sees and is attracted to. Jessica is a cutter of a fairly extreme nature.

Skye's mother has a mental breakdown and tries to kill he
Nina Cooper
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a love-hate book to read. Much more love than hate though. Skye, the main character, is told over and over again that something is wrong with her, because she likes girls. The one saying this is her mother, with whom a lot is wrong. She is great for the story, but I learned to loathe her for how she treats Skye.

Throughout the book I had this impression that almost everybody was drifting, and we experience all this from Skye's point of view. She is the one who is fighting her insecuriti
Iris Espinoza
Dec 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I read this book I realized there is more to learn about in people my age, that our friends can show us a part of them but be hiding their real self. Skye, the main character was insecure about her interests and goes through the struggle of high school. Her mother, a modern women who goes crazy when she finds out that her daughter is bisexual, first goes off on her, but afterwards went and looked for help to understand Skye; she felt uncomfortable and weird when they had those sessions. Dur ...more
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-read, ya-lgbt
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
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