Title: Little & Lion
Author: Brandy Colbert
Release Date: August 8, 2017
I know how easy it is to believe you’re doing the right thing if you say it to yourself often enough.
I think I’m predisposed to like sibling-centric stories, and Little & Lion did not break that trend. We follow Suzette, as she returns home from boarding school and looks to help support her stepbrother Lionel, who is dealing with his bipolar II diagnosis.
Things I Liked
I really loved all the family feels I got from this story! I liked seeing an interracial Jewish family. I liked seeing a family represented without the ties of marriage – and they’re still seen as a valid family. I LOVED seeing Suzette and Lionel’s sibling relationship. As you know, I’m a sucker for sibling relationships, and theirs was my favorite part of the story. Plus their nicknames were adorable.
There is such a fantastic and wide range of diverse representations in this story! As mentioned above, we have a practicing Jewish family, Suzette is black and comes to identify as bisexual, Lionel has bipolar II disorder, Emil Choi, a childhood friend and potential crush of Suz’ is Black and Asian and has Meniere’s disease and uses hearing aids, Rafaela identifies as pansexual. DeeDee, Suz’ bff is a lesbian. I liked that we got explicit conversations about Suz discovering her sexual identity and what it meant to her. This story does feature a bisexual character in a love triangle caught between a boy and a girl – here are a few reviews that did not like the bi rep.
I always appreciate when a story addressing micro -isms that marginalized people face. We see Suz and Emil deal with racist comments and how the burden for confronting racist remarks falls on them, we see Suz thinking about her and her mom being followed around a store, she also talks about the double standard that bisexuals face and how they’re seen as greedy, or they can’t makeup their mind. We also get to see Lionel talk about people’s judgements of mental disorders. We just get a lot of great conversations going in this book.
Things I Didn’t Like
I felt like some of the side characters were really lacking. I wanted more from from Rafaela and DeeDee. I felt like they weren’t really their own people, they mostly only seemed relevant in relation to Suzette. I get that she’s the focus, but I would have liked more from them.
There’s this weird is their emotional cheating or is there not going on in this story, and it wasn’t my favorite. The entire situation with Emil, Suzette, Rafaela and Lionel was this big mess and there was a lot going on.
Little & Lion is very much a character driven story about family and finding yourself. I loved seeing Suzette and Lionel’s relationship, and I really appreciated the many forms of representation that Brandy Colbert incorporated into the story. While some characters fell a little flat for me, the pure love and connection between the family won me over completely.