Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
When white closeted lesbian Taylor Parker is named an NBC Emerging Writers Diversity Award finalist, which could lead to a Saturday Night Live internship, she has two months to either come out before her name is released to the public, or forfeit the opportunity. Afraid to confide in her inn-owner mother and Christian-comic father, Taylor considers giving up ("You don't deserve it and it isn't worth it," Taylor says of her own nomination), until her classmate and longtime crush, Charlotte Grey, who is white and out, admits her feelings for Taylor. Then family friend Jen, whom Taylor assumed was a lesbian, visits with boyfriend Ryan in tow, inspiring further internal turmoil. As Taylor and Charlotte begin a secret romance, the clock winds down, and Taylor must decide: is she ready to share her truth, or will she let the internship--and her potential future with Charlotte--slip away? Taylor's struggles to maneuver emotional vulnerability amid tense familial dynamics, which include strained relationships with her father and Jen, resonate. Thomson's laugh-out-loud debut, buoyed by the teens' heartwarming romance and Taylor's sardonic, aspiring-comic voice, deftly intertwines the sometimes conflicting paths to chasing one's dreams and being oneself. Ages 14--up. Agent: Bridget Smith, JABberwocky Literary. (June)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up--Taylor Parker lives in her mother's bed and breakfast in Salem, MA. She's a closeted lesbian, a closeted improv comic, and secretly pining hard for fellow senior, Charlotte, the girl who plays Abigail Williams in a local museum's witch trial reenactments. She also hasn't told anyone that she entered, and is now a finalist, for Saturday Night Live's diversity internship, the opportunity of a lifetime. The major problem is that nobody knows that she's "diverse," and sending in her final submission means coming out to the world and everyone she knows. When her crush, Charlotte, has a project that brings them together for a budding teenage romance, Taylor also begins the journey to accepting all of who she is and letting the world see her shine as both a comic and a lesbian. A slow start means that readers have to stick through a first half heavy with exposition and references to old SNL skits and past cast members to get to a charming romance and heartwarming coming out journey. Taylor's humor and witty one-liners make for many laugh-out-loud moments. Her romance with Charlotte also becomes surprisingly deep and intimate, both physically and emotionally. Taylor is a white, cis, lesbian. Jen, an inn guest and Taylor's queer adult role model, is bisexual. Taylor's best friend Brooke is Black. VERDICT A good pick where coming out stories are popular.--Kayla Fontaine
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
When Taylor Parker becomes a finalist for Saturday Night Live's diversity internship, her life explodes. As a fully closeted lesbian, if she wins, Taylor won't just be out to her friends and family, she'll suddenly be out to the world. She has until Christmas, after which the winner's name will be released. The rest of her life isn't any easier: She's growing apart from her best friend, Brooke; hiding a secret romance with beautiful (and out) theater kid Charlotte; and struggling through family crises. As both her romance and ambitions grow stronger, Taylor must force herself to be more than just the funny girl; she must also be courageous about who she is. The book is carried along by a buoyant tone. Taylor is genuinely appealing, a distinct narrator whose showmanship is funny and whose love of stand-up and sketch writing comes across as a true passion. Thomson uses Taylor's hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, full of quirky locals and locations, to find humor and even pathos in a place associated with persecution in popular culture. Charlotte and Taylor are refreshingly passionate--but also realistically sweet and awkward in turns--and Taylor's relationships with other female friends and mentors are highlights. She's organically surrounded by complicated and caring women who are like herself in different ways, guiding her toward her own truth. Most characters default to White; Brooke is Black. A charmer with hidden depth. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.