Jo's father is marrying for the third time, and now Jo and her father are moving from metropolitan Atlanta to the small town of Rome, Georgia. What's more, Jo is an out lesbian, and her father has asked her to go back into the closet, so to speak, for her senior year. Jo agrees somewhat reluctantly, but things become complicated when Jo meets the girl of her dreams.
First off, Jo's life is already hard enough, what with moving her senior year of high school and getting yet another fill-in mother, so her father really, truly was being unreasonable in asking her to un-out herself for her last year of school. I absolutely agree with Jo that this sends her the message that he is less-than-okay with her sexuality. That being said, I just moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Midwest, and I work in a small town not unlike Rome, Georgia. While I do not hide my queer status from those around me, I don't have a pride flag on my office or an HRC sticker on my car, so there's that. I kind of understand. Would "straight Jo" have an easier time in Rome than lesbian Jo? Definitely. Would it be super hard for lesbian Jo to pretend to be "straight Jo" while in Rome? Absolutely.
The drama in Jo's high school life was understandable and realistic. Jo's confusion and conflict over whether to stay closeted per her father's instructions or to be honest with her new friends is also understandable. I liked that the story ended on a good note, even if that seemed a bit Disney-esque. Will this book be added to my library's collection? Yes. Will any of the teens actually check it out and read it? Not sure.
Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: at least two of the supporting characters are sexually active and like to talk about it; Jo and Mary Carlson nearly have sex (but are interrupted); underage drinking; Jo's Atlanta friend is put in jail because she's involved with identity theft
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars
Read-Alikes: Dumplin', Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature, Openly Straight