Review of Like Other Girls by Britta Lundin
I loved this! I had high hopes for this book but it was even better than I had expected. I’m actually surprised that it’s not getting more of that YA hype and that more people aren’t talking about it. Hopefully, that will change when this releases in a few days because it deserves its readership. While I’m 39 and loved this, had I read a book like this when I was a teenager, it would have meant the world. I hope librarians will pick this up for high school-aged kids.
I was really impressed with the readability and good flow of this book. I couldn’t sleep last night so I thought I would read a little to get my mind off things and hopefully relax before sleeping. That was a bad decision on my part since I could not put the book down until it was finished. This is a book that easily gets its hooks into you. And while it is not without flaws, Lundin sure can write.
I’m a big fan of angsty YA books that play with your emotions. This book is the perfect example of that. I was frustrated, angry, and had to reach for the tissues multiple times, but there were heartfelt and sweet moments that just put a smile on my face. I loved the rollercoaster of emotions you go through as a reader. Not only was this the kind of YA read that I love, but this was also a sportsbook! I love a good sports read and this book had more football in it than I expected. The football scenes were gripping and exciting and this is one of the better YA sports books I’ve read.
While a book about a teenager who chooses to hide her sexuality in a small religious town is not a new idea, there was a bit of a twist to this storyline. While I hate labels, Mara is really a baby butch. It’s a struggle for her to be comfortable in her own skin as a masculine-presenting young woman, but when you are in the closet that’s not an easy step to take. While of course, not all masculine-presenting women are gay, many people just assume the stereotype is true so to watch this struggle for Mara, and her mother especially was really well done.
I do want to mention some triggers for homophobia, major sexism, and forced/unwanted touching and kissing. I do have to say that this leads to the one part that bothered me. A character is assaulted and the way the adults, which she confides in, act really pissed me off. I thought their reaction was a little too unrealistic for being in the Me Too era, but whatever. It really was my only main complaint in the book.
While there were plenty of parts that made me angry –due to some nasty characters- there were some great female friendships and a super sweet romance. The romance was light, this is more a book about sexism, finding oneself, and football, but I was happy with it anyway. I felt like the romance was just what the book needed to balance out some of the tears and anger you will have as a reader. Plus the pairing is really adorable.
This was an excellent read. I believe it will easily make my list of favorite books of the year since I enjoyed it so much. If you are a YA fan, this is a must. If you are a sports fan, this is also a must-read. Even if you are not the biggest YA fan, but love sportsbooks, I would highly encourage you to give this a chance. I hope this book gets the attention it deserves and I can’t wait to read what Lundin writes next. 4.50 Stars.
An ARC was given to me for a review.