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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
It's Not Always Rainbows by Joey Paul is one of the very few books I have had to read twice before posting a review; yes, because the writing is gorgeous and the thematic development exceptional; a book that will appeal to readers interested in LGBTQ literature and the pain experienced by a cross-section of society. Sixteen-year-old bisexual Catherine finds herself in a very complicated situation, always fighting to get accepted for who and what she is. While her parents treat her as though she were a curse to the family, she faces discrimination and bullying in school. In a world where everyone has their own definition of LGBTQ, and where gays and lesbians suffer untold prejudices, even in religious circles where they should feel welcome, Cat and her friends have to define their space in a hostile environment.
This story is conflict driven and it takes the reader on a ride from the issues the protagonist faces at home, through bullying in school, to outright violence against members of the LGBTQ community. Joey Paul uses suspense to keep readers turning the pages. The reader wants to know why members of the LGBTQ community are getting physically harassed and, as they read on, they’ll feel for the characters, wondering who could become the next victim. The author has a style of writing that captures raw emotions and plunges readers into the depths of the psychological conflict the characters experience. It's Not Always Rainbows is one of those books I’d gladly classify as protest literature, a book with a powerful message of tolerance, respect, identity questions, and the freedom to be human.