Battle Hall Davies is a beautiful blonde dancer, and everything Nic isn't. The two become friends-and then, startlingly, more than friends. What do you do when you think you're attracted to guys, and then you meet a girl who steals your heart?
©2001 Sara Ryan; (P)2008 Penguin
This was a cute 'lesbian awakening' or perhaps, 'bi awakening' since the main character never really decides on that one. The story itself was interesting, but I felt like the characters were lacking somewhat in emotional depth: or rather, that the emotion was not properly conveyed. There were several scenes where the main character was quite upset, but I didn't really feel sorry for her due to the way the story was written. Even though this was a young adult book, that didn't mean that the characters need be flat. I also felt as if the characters seemed younger than their ages (15-16) and that their attitudes felt them seem like younger people. People at this age tend to be extremely intense, at least from my experience, and the relationships and interactions felt pretty shallow and frivolous to me.
What's more, I had a lot of trouble with the narrator. While she did get into her work, the characters are supposed to be 15-16 and really she sounded more like a 12 year old. Her reading style made the few scattered curse words sound garishly misplaced. I this this contributed to the lack of emotional depth issue.
All that aside, it was a cute story, and someone else might very well love the narrator's way of conveying the story. I liked 'Annie on My Mind' much better, but I would still say this story is worth checking out if you don't have anything else in mind.
A very simple story about a young girl dealing with the revelation that she is gay, at least when it comes to a particular girl she meets one summer.
I say simple because the story follows the exact path you suspect it will. There are no surprises, you'll know how it ends from page one and yet it fails to build the tension or even dread a 'tragic' (no spoilers - I use the term loosely) story usually would.
Unfortunately, it also never really tackles the big issues of teenage homosexuality or coming out.
That can be a good thing - a straight up gay romance not mired in self-doubt or loathing is a great thing for a young GLBT teen to be able to read but Empress is ABOUT the big issues, the doubt and confusion the revelation causes so it's light approach made it feel lacking in reality and depth.
All I can say, writing this review a year after reading it is...average.
It’s not bad (which is sadly a pretty high compliment in todays YA landscape) but it also left very little impression.
(As an aside, the focus on the character “Battle Davis” – not the protagonist but clearly the one the author cared the most about makes the story very uneven. The fact the second in the now ‘Battle Hall Series’ focuses entirely on her, in an unrelated setting and situation just makes the choice weirder!)
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