GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Jaye Robin Brown is a sweet but complicated love story full of diversity, complex characters, swoonworthy romance, and a full plot.
One of things I appreciated most was the clash between gay teenagers, the culture of the south, and religion. Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years despite being the daughter of a preacher in Atlanta but when her dad remarries and moves the entire family to small town Georgia, things get more complicated for Jo.
Religion can be such a sensitive issue for LGBTQ+ stories but Brown approaches Jo’s faith and her sexual identity so well. It’s one of the few books I can remember reading with a religious protagonist that doesn’t walk away from her faith because of her struggles with people in the church but rather presses further into what religion can and should be. That’s huge and I hope it speaks further into teens lives that they can find places of belonging in faith circles.
The many different relationships also make this book interested. I especially was fond of the gradual development of Jo’s relationship with her stepmother, the friendships she develops at her new school, including Mary Carlson’s brother Barnum, and the romance between Jo and Mary Carlson. There are some parts of their romance that are more explicit than others.
What Left Me Wanting More:
There are some plot holes and unnecessary dilemmas that made some parts of the book confusing. The fact that her incredibly supportive dad would even ask her to hide an important aspect of herself seems somewhat unbelievable but it does help bring up some important points about acceptance within southern culture and religious culture.
Additionally, Joanna’s inability to share the truth with Mary Carlson is a source of confusion and frustration. She can trust other friends in Rome with her secret past but not the girl she’s secretly dating.
GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Jaye Robin Brown is a fantastic books that explores the various issues that plague queer teenagers and I greatly appreciate the way Brown handled a lot of different topics. I would definitely recommend this one to anyone!