Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, thing...

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Title:Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
Author:Jaye Robin Brown
Rating:
Format Type:Kindle Edition
Number of Pages:432 pages

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit Reviews

  • Dahlia
    Dec 20, 2015

    Love love loved <3 Two things I've come to realize about Brown's books:

    1) I always expect them to be tamer than they are, and am always surprised in the best way

    2) I love how she draws characters casts -

    many great secondaries here, and one of the few great examples in YA of how queer people tend to band together

    This book is also going to be massively important to queer teens struggling to balance their orientation and religion, and I cannot say enough good about how that was handled here

    Love love loved <3 Two things I've come to realize about Brown's books:

    1) I always expect them to be tamer than they are, and am always surprised in the best way

    2) I love how she draws characters casts -

    many great secondaries here, and one of the few great examples in YA of how queer people tend to band together

    This book is also going to be massively important to queer teens struggling to balance their orientation and religion, and I cannot say enough good about how that was handled here. I'm going to be recommending this book a

    , I already know, especially since it's one of the very few mainsteam f/f Contemp YAs with an HEA. Such, such, such an important book, and I'm really excited for it to get out into the world.

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    Mar 10, 2016

    4.5 stars

    Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit has been one of my most anticipated releases ever since Dahlia (author of awesomeness) told me it was totally a Christina book. I mean, it was already on my to-read list because a contemporary f/f romance set partially in my hometown was a necessity. However, since I’d DNFed Brown’s debut, I feared that this one too wouldn’t work for me until Dahlia assured me that I most definitely would love it. Dahlia was right yet again. Georgia Peaches and

    4.5 stars

    Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit has been one of my most anticipated releases ever since Dahlia (author of awesomeness) told me it was totally a Christina book. I mean, it was already on my to-read list because a contemporary f/f romance set partially in my hometown was a necessity. However, since I’d DNFed Brown’s debut, I feared that this one too wouldn’t work for me until Dahlia assured me that I most definitely would love it. Dahlia was right yet again. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit has a great voice, a beautiful look at faith, and an adorable romance.

    Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is the perfect readalike for Openly Straight, which I loved earlier this year. Both novels tackle some similar thematic elements, one m/m and one f/f. Jo has been out and proud for years, accepted by her radio preacher dad and dreaming of her own ministry to help LGBT kids of faith feel accepted. When her dad marries his third wife, Elizabeth, snarkily known as Three, she’s uprooted from the open-minded, LGBT-friendly land of Atlanta to Rome, GA for her senior year. Jo’s dad shocks and saddens her by asking her to lie low for the year, so as not to upset the in-laws.

    Jo agrees to her dad’s request in exchange for a radio show of her own, on which she will eventually be able to reveal her sexuality and begin her ministry to change hearts and minds. She changes up her look to be more “normal,” so that she can blend. At first, she hates doing this, but, as she makes friends, she enjoys a lot of the privileges of passing. Like in Openly Straight, there’s this internal conflict of how nice it is to pass and not have to fight, but it’s also so fucking soul-killing hiding key elements of her true self.

    For those who don’t already know, I generally really don’t like religion in books. It’s really hard to write about a character with strong faith without it coming across as preachy. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but books like Things I Can’t Forget and Level 2 have managed that feat. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit joins the short list of books that I think get this just right.

    Jo’s faith is strong and very crucial to who she is as a person, but she doesn’t judge others with different views. When it comes down to it, I think her radio tagline sums up her base views pretty well: “Keep it real. Keep it kind.” She doesn’t believe in using religion as an excuse to be hateful, as her step-grandmother does, but she wants to work to help people be more inclusive, not give up on her faith as a result of the hate some of the faithful have. Though I don’t share Jo’s faith in God, I relate to her views on kindness, caring for others, and not hating people for qualities intrinsic to them. There are many different kinds of faith shown in Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, and it’s not advocating any way of being aside from being kind.

    The romance manages to be very hot and shippy despite relying on one of my least favorite romantic tropes: the inevitable fight over a secret kept for no good reason. Jo doesn’t want to break her promise to her father, but she can’t resist her feelings for Mary Carlson, so she ends up starting a secret relationship. Obviously, this doesn’t go well. It’s inevitable from the beginning that the two are going to fight when the truth of Jo’s past comes to light, but Jo makes a succession of bad choices. It’s not my favorite plot. Still, I did like that Jo put her family above her love interest at all points, which isn’t something you see in YA much. Also, for all that I’m a bit tired of romance plots like this, I think they’re very believable bad choices.

    The one thing that I really didn’t like about Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits was the character of Deirdre. With most everyone else, Brown did such a great job developing the characters. Jessica, for example, doesn’t end up being supportive when Mary Carlson and Jo come out, but she’s not simply a terrible person. People have complexities, and anyone who’s actually important to the plot shouldn’t be one dimensional and evil. But then there’s the evil bitch lesbian Deirdre. She is characterized as having no good qualities whatsoever and I just don’t know why this happened at all.

    In the author’s note, Brown mentions that this novel might possibly be too optimistic, and I think that’s true in some ways. Jo’s accepted by most of the people she’s gotten to know in Rome, despite the fact that she’s almost exclusively befriended people from a judgmental Baptist church that regularly preaches about how homosexuality is a sin. Still, as fiction, I think it’s important to see optimism in some LGBT novels. For years, what LGBT there was tended to be really sad. Those are important too, obviously, but it’s nice to see fluffier contemporary romances with happy endings coming out as well.

    If Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits isn’t on your radar, it should be.

  • Danika at The Lesbrary
    Apr 25, 2016

    It seems like all the lesbian YA I've been waiting for is out this year. This is definitely the first time I've read an inspirational (aka Christian) YA lesbian romance. I loved the writing style, which made me laugh out loud a couple of times at Jo's observations. The premise is interesting: Jo is the out lesbian daughter of a preacher, but when they move to a conservative small town in her senior year, her dad asks her to go back in the closet. She reluctantly agrees.

    What I found interesting w

    It seems like all the lesbian YA I've been waiting for is out this year. This is definitely the first time I've read an inspirational (aka Christian) YA lesbian romance. I loved the writing style, which made me laugh out loud a couple of times at Jo's observations. The premise is interesting: Jo is the out lesbian daughter of a preacher, but when they move to a conservative small town in her senior year, her dad asks her to go back in the closet. She reluctantly agrees.

    What I found interesting was how tempting being closeted was, even for someone who was used to being out. It's torturous, but it also comes with benefits. Jo tells herself she's doing this for her dad, but it's clear that she's also reluctant to let go of the privileges that come with being part of the crowd.

    I did have some issues with the book, but I realized that those are standard romance tropes, and this really is an inspirational romance book at heart, I think. Definitely one that I'm glad exists for teens today, especially religious ones.

  • Bee {Quite the Novel Idea}
    May 13, 2016

    I've been having bad luck with reading lately. Either I'm going into a slump or I'm just expecting too much from books these days. Because yeah, there are some stand-outs every now and then that get 5 stars out of me. But those moments happen less every month. And I hoped this book would be one too, but it just... wasn't.

    So, because I have no idea how else to go about

    I've been having bad luck with reading lately. Either I'm going into a slump or I'm just expecting too much from books these days. Because yeah, there are some stand-outs every now and then that get 5 stars out of me. But those moments happen less every month. And I hoped this book would be one too, but it just... wasn't.

    So, because I have no idea how else to go about this, I'm going to make a list. Here's hoping it'll make any sense.

    It's the kind of style that I love and that I seem to enjoy the most. Very realistic and easy to read (but omg so hard to write). I read this book in one day because it was so easy for me to get lost in the writing.

    It felt very real to me and not exaggerated or anything. Either the author lives in the area or she's done her research very well. (I could look it up, but you know... so much effort really.) So yes. Points for setting.

    Don't get me wrong, it was executed nicely and everything. I just didn't feel sucked in at any point. It didn't wow me at all and I kind of want books to wow me.

    She was a fine character. They all were. I liked Gemma, Mary Carlson & her brother, George, ... I liked Jo's parents. They were unique and developed well enough, but I just couldn't connect. Joanna made some stupid mistakes that I honestly don't really get. I just never really got her. It's kind of hard to describe.

    Not because it was preachy or anything, because it wasn't. I just... It's a huge part of the story. And I knew that when I went into this. But I loved The Serpent King, so I wanted to give this one a try too because it's an LGBT book and I love those. But in this one it just felt very different. More present somehow. And it didn't gell with me. It didn't stick.

    I wanted to be and there's really nothing wrong with it except for that unnecessary drama near the end, but I just didn't buy it. Probably because I never connected to the characters. It did get a tad more steamy than I expected, which I did really like and highly encourage in YA.

    ♦ Also, haha, just a sidenote, but Joanna & her dad are Italian. But there is not nearly enough Italian food in this, just saying. If you're MC's Italian, take advantage of that and showcase the fooooood. Honestly now. Just a missed opportunity.

    That rating I gave it just represents how I felt about it. If you love YA Contemporary, you absolutely should give this a try and I hope you'll enjoy it a lot more than I did.0

  • Sarah
    May 13, 2016

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a YA story about a girl who had to pretend to not be gay when moving to a new town with her father.

    Joanna was a girl who obviously cared about her father enough to hide her sexuality when she was previously very out-in-the open about the fact that she was gay. It really was good of her to do what she did

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a YA story about a girl who had to pretend to not be gay when moving to a new town with her father.

    Joanna was a girl who obviously cared about her father enough to hide her sexuality when she was previously very out-in-the open about the fact that she was gay. It really was good of her to do what she did for her father and his reputation, but I disliked the way she lied to people who were very open with her.

    The storyline in this was about Joanna getting a make-over, and not being openly gay at her new school, and we then got the complication of a romance with another girl who wanted to come out. I really disliked the way that Joanna didn’t seem to be able to know when it was best to be honest about things though, when a simple explanation as to why she was behaving the way she was could have solved things.

    The ending to this was okay, and I was glad that things worked out in the end.

    6.5 out of 10.

  • Journey
    Sep 22, 2016

    this was really really fantastic and one of those books where i cannot read any reviews less than 4 stars because i will get irrationally defensive.

    the summary is spot on, so i won't rehash the plot of the book. here's the things i loved:

    - it highlights how sometimes even for someone totally out, and even though it sucks, closeting yourself in situations can be tempting. and, further, that if you have the closet pushed on you, coming out AGAIN can be just as hard as it was the first time. even t

    this was really really fantastic and one of those books where i cannot read any reviews less than 4 stars because i will get irrationally defensive.

    the summary is spot on, so i won't rehash the plot of the book. here's the things i loved:

    - it highlights how sometimes even for someone totally out, and even though it sucks, closeting yourself in situations can be tempting. and, further, that if you have the closet pushed on you, coming out AGAIN can be just as hard as it was the first time. even though you've already done it.

    - this is such a romance book, but it's not wasting away in the lesbian romance fiction niche!!! (which i read, so not putting that down, but lesbian romance isn't going to be on the shelves of a teen lesbian's high school library). Jo and Mary Carlson are SOOOO into each other, and you have the highs, then a miscommunication/deception, and then a grand romantic gesture. and a sweet epilogue.

    - ok, speaking of miscommunication/deception, i normally HAAAATE this as a trope. it generally makes me want to turn off the show or throw the book. but this has set up a really unusual scenario. the problem is never that the person is hiding they're

    out!

    - there's no crises of faith. yes, sometimes they express doubt/anxiety about how other people will/do react--but there is no "does god still love me? am i going to hell?" angst.

    - minor spoiler:

    - they maybe get a better reception than they would IRL in small-town Georgia, but i wouldn't call it unrealistic. there are a variety of responses, from strangers shunning to grandmothers tsking, to some friends leaving but most of them staying.

    - Joanna and Mary Carlson are not the only lesbians in the book!!! this is so important. one guy in their friend group has two moms; Jo has her lesbian BFF back in Atlanta; there are two other girls in the theatre group in Rome who are gay.

    - the friends are fantastic. one of them ends up leaving because of The Gay, but the rest are so hilarious and it really seems like a solid group of friends.

    - minor spoiler but lemme tell you how gay this book is:

    - Joanna's relationship with her dad, who says he supports her, and does, for the most part, but who eventually realizes that what he asked her to do ("lay low") is unfair.

    - also Joanna's evolving relationship with her new stepmom, Elizabeth. love them!!

    - Mary Carlson is so cute..... so cute y'all.

    favorite quotes:

    -

    -

    (before they've even admitted feelings)

    -

    -

    I have mixed feelings about Dana, who is a flighty party girl and leads Jo into a terrible decision, but she is genuine when she says this:

    (that's not the end but i can't spoil you with any ending quotes!!!)

    ANYWAY READ THIS.

  • Katherine Locke
    Jun 02, 2016

    For the most part, I'm not a contemporary reader. I'm more likely to go on a fantasy binge reading kick than a contemporary kick. And I'm not someone who particularly loves HAPPY books, though I recognize a need for them in my life.

    But for the second time, as I absolutely loved NO PLACE TO FALL, Jaye Robin Brown reminds me that there *is* a special place in my heart for the contemporary that hits all the right notes: sweet, and funny, introspective and self-aware, relevant to the world, and yet

    For the most part, I'm not a contemporary reader. I'm more likely to go on a fantasy binge reading kick than a contemporary kick. And I'm not someone who particularly loves HAPPY books, though I recognize a need for them in my life.

    But for the second time, as I absolutely loved NO PLACE TO FALL, Jaye Robin Brown reminds me that there *is* a special place in my heart for the contemporary that hits all the right notes: sweet, and funny, introspective and self-aware, relevant to the world, and yet deeply personal to that character, one story in a sea of stories but with a universal feeling. \

    GEORGIA PEACHES is what I believe contemporary YA could be: romantic, and funny, and smart, and important, and balanced. There's queerness and there's faith and there's new family relationships and changing friendships and fears of the future. And they work together, for better or for worse, because that's how real life works. We rarely have one aspect of our identity that doesn't affect another aspect of our identity and Jo's struggle and desire to be ALL of the things she is hit so close to home it's nestled under my ribs and is building a nest.

    The ship is swoony. The story is timely. Joanna's a character who is easy to love and easy to root for. This book is the Cameron Post of this decade and it's earned its spot in queer YA canon for years to come.

    Put this into the hands of every queer girl of faith you know, and get it into every library regardless of location.

    And I'll eat my favorite hat if this doesn't get a Stonewall Honor.

  • Keertana
    Jun 03, 2016

    is not a perfect book, not by any means. In fact, it is so full of plot holes and unnecessary dilemmas that I'm surprised I managed to get through it. But

    shares some deeply important messages in a thoughtful manner that cannot be ignored--perhaps, especially, in wake of the Orlando tragedy. This is a story of a girl who has already come out to her friends and family in Atlanta but who is asked, by her father and

    is not a perfect book, not by any means. In fact, it is so full of plot holes and unnecessary dilemmas that I'm surprised I managed to get through it. But

    shares some deeply important messages in a thoughtful manner that cannot be ignored--perhaps, especially, in wake of the Orlando tragedy. This is a story of a girl who has already come out to her friends and family in Atlanta but who is asked, by her father and new stepmother, to conceal her sexual identity in small-town Rome, Georgia where she moves for her senior year of high school. It's a ridiculous set-up because it hardly seems just that a father who supports his daughter regardless of her sexuality would ask her to change herself, but it brings up a host of fascinating points.

    Firstly, Joanna finds that she doesn't mind being closeted. It's not quite true to herself, but in Rome no one stares at her for her outfits or for her lesbian best friend who flirts with every attractive woman she meets. In Rome she is invisible and as confusing as that is, it's also easier. It turns out that coming out isn't something that happens just once. We treat it that way and think about it as such but in reality, coming out means repeating yourself and re-introducing yourself to every community you find yourself a part of and hoping that they accept you. That if you meet their parents or grandparents that they accept you as well. It's a privilege that non-queer people take for granted and I appreciated that Brown called out the blatant heteronormative society we live in and how harmful that is to our own minds and to LGBTQIAP+ individuals around us.

    This book calls for further suspension of disbelief since Joanna reveals her secret to a friend of hers whose parents are both lesbian but she can't trust the girl she falls in love with with the same secret. If Joanna had simply communicated better, half this novel would be unnecessary. But Joanna's journey to support a friend in coming out, making her own plan to come out again in Rome, and deal with telling the truth to the people she's become friends with is all such an important path. It's also important for her parents and those around to her to come to terms with her truth, even if they're re-coming to terms with it. Back in Atlanta, people always judged Joanna for her lesbian haircut and outfits and for once in her life, she's surrounding by people judging her for her character and then accepting other facets of her personality.

    To add to the convoluted plot line, though, we have a hacker lesbian and a manipulative theater lesbian thrown into the mix. I don't feel great about the inclusion of these characters and their lack of depth but I did appreciate that the issues in this book were not resolved overnight and no matter how badly the plot was constructed, it was still dealt with in a realistic manner. What's more, in a strange way the fact that girlfriends can also be manipulative--not just boyfriends--and that girls can be just as jealous as boys can be is normalizing. In some way.

    What I particularly loved about this book, though, were the relationships. Joanna's relationship with her stepmother evolved throughout the novel to a point where Mother #3 became "mom". Her anger with her father is realistic and festers throughout the story, even though her father has always accepted and supported her decisions. Joanna's new friendships, and especially her romance, are believable and heart-warming and full of swoon. It's just a shame that a host of such fabulous relationships must be against the backdrop of an unbelievable plot, but it works.

    This book does a REALLY good job of discussing issues that plague queer teenagers and I'm a huge fan of the way that Brown approaches a lot of important topics. Unfortunately, this contains a terribly implausible plot line so if you're prepared to suspend your belief quite a bit, this is going to be a resounding hit. I'd definitely recommend this one, if only for its thoughtful nature, but it isn't stellar as a story by itself without the queer romance at its core.

  • Book Riot Community
    Aug 31, 2016

    Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for most of her years in high school. But when her radio evangelist father moves the family to Rome, Georgia, he asks her something unfair: lay low in her new school and pretend to be straight. Though she reluctantly promises, that agreement is tested when she meets Mary, the friend of a sister. This is a fabulous read! It’s a smart, sexy, funny book at queerness and teens and religion, and a refreshing take on what it means to be yourself. More, please.

    Backl

    Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for most of her years in high school. But when her radio evangelist father moves the family to Rome, Georgia, he asks her something unfair: lay low in her new school and pretend to be straight. Though she reluctantly promises, that agreement is tested when she meets Mary, the friend of a sister. This is a fabulous read! It’s a smart, sexy, funny book at queerness and teens and religion, and a refreshing take on what it means to be yourself. More, please.

    Backlist bump: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

  • Jess♡
    Dec 07, 2016

    this book had a very important message to give and i'm so glad it exists, i'm smiling a lot right now