The comedienne's guide to pride

Hayli Thomson

Book - 2022

Wicked funny and hella gay, it's time for Taylor Parker to come out about a lot of things. Taylor Parker has always been a funny girl--but when she is accepted as a finalist for a diverse writers' internship at Saturday Night Live, it turns her life upside down. If she wants a shot at winning in a little more than a month, Taylor will have to come out about both of her secrets: She wants to be a comedian...and she's a lesbian. With a mom who gave up a career in comedy to raise her, and a comedian dad who left for a younger woman, working in comedy is a sore subject in Taylor's house. To keep her secret under wraps, she sneaks out to do improv and hides her sketches under the bed, and to distract from her anxiety about th...e competition, Taylor frequents Salem's Museum of Witchcraft to pine for Abigail Williams from the back row. It's at the Museum of Witchcraft where Taylor falls deeper in love with the girl who plays Abigail Williams--Charlotte Grey, an out and proud lesbian at Nathaniel Hawthorne High. Charlotte radiates so much confidence in her acting and queerness that Taylor can't resist her. So when Charlotte reaches out for help on a school project, Taylor readily agrees. As they spend more time together, Taylor sees what living her truth and pursuing her dreams could bring her, but Charlotte can't understand why someone as funny as Taylor wouldn't go all out to make the most of her opportunities. To live up to her own comedy dreams and become the person she wants to be, Taylor will have to find the confidence to tell everyone exactly who she is and what she wants.

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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.