Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
First published August 8th, 2017
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBT, Mental Illness
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon
When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she’s isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (as well as her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.
But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.
This was way more emotional than I predicted. It left me in tears… It was impossible not to be touched by it.
Little & Lion is about two siblings – Suzette and Lionel. Suzette just came from her boarding school home, where she was sent after her brother was diagnosticated with bipolar disorder. She has some loving family and friends, and everything seems pretty much like any contemporary book, expect it isn’t. At all.
This is one of the most diverse books I’ve read in a while. First, we have Suzette, a black, Jewish and bisexual girl. Lionel is Jewish and recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And Emil is Korean/African-American and has Ménière’s disease. And there are some other characters that are also diverse. But these for me were the most important. Sometimes when a book has too much, it feels forced or unrealistic, but this didn’t – it actually made it even more realistic! I loved each character in this book and how different and unique, and yet normal they all felt.
This book touches themes like racism, sexuality, mental illnesses, and much more! One of the things that makes this book extremely special is Suzette’s family. Her mother got together with Lionel’s dad when they were young. Suzette is black and Lionel is white and for a lot of people, it’s hard to understand how they are a family… I loved that point in the book, and how much their family showed they are one, that color doesn’t matter. It was beautiful and extremely well done and I loved the family’s dynamic.
Another strong point in this book for me was sexuality. Suzette is still trying to figure out who she is, and we have points of view from different people on that, which appear a lot in real life. Especially the concept of bi that is often misunderstood. It was beautiful to watch Suzette trying to understand herself and I loved how powerful and realistic it felt.
This is a book that touches incredibly important themes in a realistic and beautiful way that will captivate you on every page! It was quite emotional to the point of leaving me running tears and I definitely recommend it!
Have you read this yet? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!