Review of The Facts and Legends of Callie Catwell by Sophia DeRise
This was a well-written YA novel. This was actually better than I expected and a real solid debut for DeRise. This is the kind of book I wished would have been around when I was a kid. This book takes on some serious topics and I think it’s the kind of YA book that is important and should be in libraries for kids in the 14 to 18 age ranges. And while I believe this would be a great book for teenagers, it still was plenty entertaining for someone who’s been out of high school for 2 decades -like me-.
This is mostly a pretty dramatic YA book but it also has a little drop of magic. I don’t know if everyone will like the lake monster part but I actually enjoyed it. There is so much YA out there nowadays that the reason this book stood out to me was because of the lake monster part. So while it might make the book seem a little less realistic, I thought the magic added a nice balance to some of the harder moments.
There are some reasonable big triggers for this book but I won’t mention them since they could be a little spoiler-ish. Some of these moments were hard to read about and I found myself yelling at the characters to get themselves out of these bad situations. This book throws a lot at the main character -and us as a reader- but I think the author juggled these tough topics very well. Usually, it is better to stick to one tough thing, but I was surprised how much she made it all work.
I was really happy with the diverse cast of LGBTQ+ characters. I liked that the main character was not just coming to terms with her feelings for her best friend but also wondering if she is might be asexual too. There were also some WLW and MLM relationships that were evolving. All the characters were well written and very easy to root for. I even found the father’s storyline to be interesting. When you hear anorexia, I can’t help but think that it must be a woman or girl who has an eating disorder. That is obviously not the case and I think having a character with an anorexic father was an important storyline.
There is so much going on in this book that there is not a lot of time for a romance. On the good side, what little romance is there, is super sweet and just put a huge smile on my face. The story needed this goodness and joy after these tougher subjects. I think anyone who reads this would just totally ship these two as they are adorable together.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was well written and I was hooked after the first few pages. I’m even more impressed since it looks to be a debut. This is a book that I hope librarians will read because I think it’s an important book for teenagers, while still entertaining for adults. If DeRise writes more LGBTQ+ fiction, I would absolutely read it. 3.75 Stars.
A copy was given to me for an honest review.