Blog Tour +Giveaway: Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee

Published by Aladdin Genres: Contemporary, GLBT, Middle Grade



I am thrilled to be participating in the Star-Crossed blog tour today. Today I am joined by author Barbara Dee and she will share with us the 5 qualities she admires most about her main characters.



Mattie is chosen to play Romeo opposite her crush in the eighth grade production of Shakespeare’s most beloved play in this Romeo and Juliet inspired novel from the author of Truth or Dare.

Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.

As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.


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Five qualities that you admire about your main characters

Mattie’s bravery. It takes her a little while, but I admire how she embraces her feelings for Gemma, and also challenges herself to shine onstage.

Gemma’s charisma. For the premise to work, Mattie needs to be as smitten with Gemma as Romeo is with Juliet. I do think Gemma has a magical quality that makes it possible for Mattie to be hit by a “thunderbolt.”

Lucy’s loyalty. She gently prods Mattie to own her feelings, all the while reassuring her of her support. True friends want you to be your best.

Tessa’s wit. I loved writing her–yes, she could be a bit obnoxious sometimes, but she always cracked me up!

Mr. Torres’ endurance (he’s exhausted, but not burned out) and dedication to his students (“And the thing about bring a teacher, you never bet against your students. You always give them a chance to do their best.”)



Barbara Dee is the author of seven middle grade novels all published by Simon & Schuster, including TRUTH OR DARE (Sept. 2016) and STAR-CROSSED (March 2017). Her next middle grade novel, HALFWAY NORMAL, will publish September 5, 2017. Barbara is one of the founders and directors of the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. She lives with her family in Westchester County, New York.



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One signed copy of STAR-CROSSED, USA only
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YA Book Review: Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

YA Book Review: Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin BrownGeorgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
Published by HarperTeen on August 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, GLBT, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 432

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, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

This year I’ve been trying to amp up my contemporary YA reading because (normally I am all about YA fantasy) and Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit was one of my top choices to read in this genre. I feel that this book will be an important read for teens dealing with their sexual identity and having a crisis in faith because of it. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit had a little bit of everything I have come to expect with contemporary YA. It was funny, witty, romantic, and dealt with some pretty vital issues plaguing queer teens in today’s society. The book deals with finding acceptance, new family dynamics, faith, and friendship (but don’t worry it doesn’t get overly preachy or overly religion filled).

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is the story of Jo’s journey to accepting herself. It is also about Jo’s struggles in finding acceptance in her personal life, family, and faith. Jo was one of my favorite characters. She often made me laugh out loud with her observations of things. It was easy to root for her and hope that she would find happiness with her new romance. What bothered me about Jo was how easily she accepted her pastor father’s wishes to “tone down” and basically go back in the closet. I assumed she did it out of love for her dad, but I also felt like she didn’t mind being closeted. However, I reminded myself about how young Jo is and reflected on how hard it is for a teenager to freely admit to being different. I also really liked Jo’s best friend Dana, she’s wild and thinks she can turn anyone gay and is the epitome of the term “YOLO” (you only live once) which reminded me of a good friend of mine. I liked that we got to see Jo’s relationship with her new stepmom grow and develop, even to the point that Mother #3 became “mom”. There are a few plot points that seemed a bit far-fetched but I could overlook those because I really liked the characters the author created and the overall message of the book.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is beautifully written, the author does an amazing job exploring how religious faith doesn’t always equal to closed-mindedness or hate. I would highly recommend Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit to all readers (queer or not). I think it is an important book for young teens to read, especially those struggling with accepting themselves and their fear of how their family or religion might react to their sexual identity.

Thank you, Harper Teen and Edelweiss for providing me with an E-ARC of this book in return for an honest review.