I received this book for free from NOVL in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
TITLE: Little & Lion
AUTHOR: Brandy Colbert
PUBLICATION DATE: August 8th 2017
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A stunning novel on love, loss, identity, and redemption, from Publishers Weekly Flying Start author Brandy Colbert.
When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn't sure if she'll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with 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.
Setting the Scene:
5 Word Summary
Diversity. Diversity. Divsity. Love triangle.
Mood Before Reading
Little and Lion is a coming-to-age story that follows the life of Suzette (aka Little) after she arrives home in the summer after spending the school year at boarding school across the country. She’s questioning her sexuality and at the same time handling her changing relationship with her brother Lionel (aka Lion).
There are so many things I loved about Little and Lion, but what stands out the most is the amount of diversity it contains. It’s like diversity on steroids! I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite as diverse as this one. Suzette, the MC, is a questioning bisexual black Jewish female. The guy she’s crushing on is biracial (Black & Korean) and wears hearing aids because he has Ménière’s disease. Her best friend is gay, along with a handful of her acquaintances. Lion is not only Suzette’s white (step) brother but has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The girl they’re both interested is bisexual (or pan) and is from a different part of town.
With all that diversity, there are quite a lot of issues to explore and this book does it so well. It covers everything from the bigotry that comes from racism, homophobia, and the stigmas attached to mental illnesses to the micro-aggression minorities experience to the effect of bystanders to the idea that family isn’t always determined by blood to the importance and consequences of loyalty.
The amount of diversity is great and all but it would mean nothing without the characters. Because they are all so well developed the diversity none of them feel like token characters. They have a lot of depth which makes it easy to empathize with them. The characters are the backbone of the novel.
As much as I enjoyed Little and Lion, I was a little bothered by the love triangle. I hate love triangles and the drama they create more than you can imagine, so one that divides siblings is especially aggravating to me. That being said, I feel like it was a necessary evil and cannot picture this story without it… but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Little and Lion is an incredibly diverse book full of well developed characters. I loved how it explored a lot of important issues, as well as Suzette’s relationship with Lion. That being said, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the love triangle.