Book Review: Starting From Here by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Crushed on by Shannon, on November 4, 2012, in Reviews / 1 Comment

We are so excited that one of our BookCrushin readers Marie M., wanted to do a guest book review for us! If you would like to do a book review please do not hesitate to reach out to us via our contact page. We are always looking for great reviews as it helps to introduce us to so many great books and authors. Read on for Marie’s review:

  • Author: Lisa Jenn Bigelow (website, twitter)
  • Genre: Young Adult, Gay & Lesbian
  • Published, September 4, 2012 by Marshall Cavendish
  • Pages 288
  • Synopses Goodreads
  • Purchase here
  • [book rating=4/5]

Sixteen-year-old Colby Bingham’s heart has been broken too many times. Her mother has been dead for almost two years, her truck driver father is always away, her almost girlfriend just dumped her for a guy, and now she’s failing chemistry. When a stray dog lands literally at her feet, bleeding and broken on a busy road, it seems like the Universe has it in for Colby. But the incident also knocks a chink in the walls she’s built around her heart. Against her better judgment, she decides to care for the dog. But new connections mean new opportunities for heartbreak. Terrified of another loss, Colby bolts at the first sign of trouble, managing to alienate her best friend, her father, the cute girl pursing her, and even her dog’s vet, who’s taken Colby under her wing. Colby can’t start over, but can she learn how to move on?

The thing about living in a trailer park is that you can’t bring home, say, a three-legged dog without attracting attention…

Colby Bingham probably wishes that life would stop trusting her with so much to handle. Mom’s dead, Dad’s absent, girlfriend’s got a bad case of heterosexuality, and she’s going nowhere fast. Sure, she’s got the best friend in the world, and sure, a not-so-handsome-but-totally lovable three legged dog winds his way into her heart, but Colby’s got way too much on her plate for a 16-year old.

Such could be the setup of your workaday YA problem novel, but Lisa’s gift is that she takes these really harsh elements and weaves them into a very human, very believable story. Colby’s an endearing heroine, even at her orneriest. I wanted to sick Mo the Mutt on her vet’s husband when he….well, you’ll have to read it. She’s got a good handle on who she is (totes refreshing in a lesbian YA novel, let’s be real) and a great supporting cast (writing this review with my own furry friend purring in my lap, let’s just say Mo, Mo, Mo. And Van. :D) ; where she’ll end up is the big question mark. A third-act scene change brings remarkable resolution, and gives Lisa’s descriptive powers the chance to stretch out across the country. What’s that? Well, I can say no more….

I love that Lisa has written a queer YA novel that addresses class issues; as much as I love a gaytopia, readers need to see their realities reflected in their literature. Colby may have the gay thing figured out for herself, and she’s using her small-town resources to the best that she can. Oh, and lest you think this is all about Dad and daughter and the great divide, let’s say there’s a nice bit of romance in here too…

Can’t recommend enough as a solid YA contemporary. (Especially if you love dogs. And girls.)

Tags: ,

One response to “Book Review: Starting From Here by Lisa Jenn Bigelow