As Autumn Leaves, by Kate Sands
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press(Dreamspinner Press)
Release Date: March 24, 2016
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Sixteen-year-old Kayla Caruso, once a well-liked cheerleader, knows that something sets her apart from her classmates. Her reluctance to have sex with a boy she was seeing earned her both the title of “Ice Queen” and the disdain of the other students. Bullied and alone, Kayla finds solace in one of her dwindling group of friends. Althea Ritter is a volleyball star and rumored to be a lesbian. As Kayla’s interest in Althea grows, so does her confusion. Is she attracted to men or women? Both? Neither? Why does sex even have to matter? Kayla explores her muddled feelings, trying to discover where she fits in, and soon realizes her identity might not be as simple as gay or straight.
This is a book that I desperately wish has existed when I was a confused and scared high school student thinking I was broken and wrong. Kayla goes through a huge emotional journey in this short novella, and I really appreciated the sensitivity that the author used.
I think Kayla’s relationship with her mother, friends, and Althea were very well written. Kayla is trying to understand herself in a world that is not built for asexual people.
I did find the prose itself to be clunky and awkward at times though. Sometimes sentences were phrased very awkwardly. I also thought the bullying was a bit too stereotypically written… But maybe my experiences with high school bullying were just very different.
A really nice novella about being okay with who you are and finding people who will accept you as well!
Kate Sands grew up in a small rural town on the Canadian Prairies. She developed a love of reading and writing at a young age, becoming completely enamored with the craft of storytelling. It wasn’t until she grew up and left small-town life behind, moving to the Big City, before she truly understood what diversity was and what it could be. She still reads a variety of fiction, but concentrates writing in the LGBTQA+ genre in an effort to add to that diversity. She hopes that these kinds of stories will reach someone, somewhere, in a way she missed out on in her earlier years.
EMAIL: kate.sands.writes AT gmail.com
You can buy As Autumn Leaves from the publisher!
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.