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Little & Lion

Review

Little & Lion

When Suzette went across the country for boarding school, she left the reason she moved back in California. At her new school, she has created a whole new world for herself and found love in an unexpected place. But now she's back for the summer, and all that she left behind comes crashing back. Suddenly, Suzette founds herself at odds with her brother and his mental illness, her feelings for her best friend Emil and her new coworker Rafaela and, most of all, herself. Right as everything seems to fall into place, an unexpected turn of events shows Suzette that family is the most important and that, no matter what, she can always make things right again.

"From the first page of LITTLE & LION...I knew this would be a book that stayed with me for a long time. Suzette's voice was immediately unique, clear and eloquent....[It] should be a mandatory read for teenagers. "

From the first page of LITTLE & LION by Brandy Colbert, the author of POINTE, I knew this would be a book that stayed with me for a long time. Suzette's voice was immediately unique, clear and eloquent. In addition to her voice, I loved her as a character. She was intelligent but confused, kind but apprehensive and confident but sometimes unsure of herself. In other words, she was the most accurate depiction of a teenager that I have read in a long while.

As the story progressed, so did the characters and the world. I loved how interesting and unique each character was and how each had their own distinct voice. I also really enjoyed the parents in this novel. Sometimes in young adult fiction, the parental figures are rarely shown or not present dramatically. In LITTLE & LION, though, they played a vital role in moving and shaping the story and the focal teenage characters, as how parents help out their children in real life. I found this to be very refreshing and made my reading experience even more enjoyable.

Another thing I loved about this book was the accurate and sensitive portrayal of bipolar disorder. A good amount of teenagers do not have someone in their life with this condition, so accurately showing the ins and outs of bipolar disorder is very important. I also liked how other themes of sexuality and race relations were in this novel. Both were written so well and were very relatable.

Finally, my favorite part about this novel was that the most important relationship in LITTLE & LION was between Suzette and her step-brother, Lionel. Sometimes, I cried while reading their fights or arguments because I am close with my brothers and could not imagine fighting in that way. Other times, I laughed while reading their conversations because they reminded me of mine with my brothers. Even though Lionel was bipolar, he was still Suzette's brother and her closest friend. The evolution and development of their relationship was amazing to experience, and I now want to give each of my brothers a big hug.

Overall, I think LITTLE & LION should be a mandatory read for teenagers. It shows the delicate nuances of a relationship between a sister who is trying to understand where she fits in the world and a brother who is trying to understand his own mind. It also teaches you to put family first, understand that being confused is normal and it shows you that even though you may not be able to fix the whole world, you can always fix your world.

Perfect for fans of HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOR by John Corey Whaley. 

Reviewed by Bryn D., Teen Board Member on August 14, 2017

Little & Lion
by Brandy Colbert