Sunday, June 24, 2012

My take on: Queer Greer

Greer MacManus is a girl in transition. She is about to begin her junior year of high school in a new town. She's separated from her best friend, Nick, for the first time. Her mother is too caught up in her own world to notice when something is wrong with Greer. Her father is caring and attentive, but only when he is in town. And on top of it all, she is in love. But who she is in love with causes Greer to question her sexuality.

Queer Greer by A.J. Walkley is a coming of age story that can appeal to everyone. Greer is like a lot of teenagers. One moment she knows what she wants and the next she doesn't. She wants to fit in, but is unsure how. She wishes she had someone to talk to, but is afraid to say too much.

Moving from South Carolina to Arizona, Greer no longer has Nick as a safety net. He's off to prep school in New York. They still speak to each other, but can't be there all the time. Her mom goes from work straight to the gym. Greer and her younger sister, Emmy, are left to their own devices. Her father is off saving the world, helping Mexican families cross the border into the U.S. Despite his absence, Greer believes her father cares more about her than her mother does. He asks about her swim meets, he cares about what she is feeling, and he notices changes in Greer. Her mother doesn't notice things unless they are forced upon her.

At school Greer makes friends, but she slowly develops into two personalities. Football jock and pot-head Cameron is attracted to Greer, but she can't figure out why. Becca, who is also captain of the swim team, also sees something in Greer. Becca and Greer quickly become friends. Greer feels a deeper connection with Becca than with Cameron, but she doesn't understand it. In public, it's easier to be with Cameron because no one will look at them funny. With Becca, Greer measures her words and expressions of affection. In private, it's easier to explore her feelings for Greer. She's lying to Cameron about her relationship with Becca, but it gets harder and harder to hold off his advances. Becca is comfortable in her own skin, and doesn't care what people think. She wants a relationship with Greer, but not in secret. But Greer cares what people think. She's not ready to really be "out" there with Becca.

What will her parents think? What will Emmy think? What will the future be like? Internally, Greer is a mess. Is she really in love with Becca? Is she in love with Cameron or is it just easier to be with him? Is she gay or is she bisexual? Her methods of coping with the turmoil are dangerous. Like any teenager, she's unsure of what to do. It doesn't matter which side of the fence she picks someone will get their feelings hurt. There's no easy answer for Greer.

Throughout the book I kept waiting for Greer to make a decision. I know her character is a teenager, but she seemed a little weak. Sometimes it seemed like Greer was waiting for someone to tell her what to do. She needed to be tougher, and in a way Becca was trying to make her stronger. Becca wasn't pushing her to be gay, she was pushing Greer to stand up for herself. Greer has to search internally and discover the person she is meant to be.

Regardless of sexual orientation, this is a book all teenagers can relate to. A new kid in town trying to make friends, feelings of self-consciousness, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, absentee parents, and discovering your first love who can't relate to that?

Rating: Superb


Note: I received an e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

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