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For seventeen-year-old Tabitha "Tabby" Morton, life sucks. Big time. Forced to move to London thanks to her father's new job, she has to leave her friends, school, and, most importantly, her girlfriend Amy, far behind. To make matters worse, Tabby's parents enroll her in the exclusive Queen Victoria Independent School for Girls, hoping that it will finally make a lady of her.
But Tabby has other ideas.
Loathing her new school, Tabby fights against everything and everyone, causing relations with her parents to hit rock bottom. But when the beautiful and beguiling Eden Palmer walks into her classroom one day and catches her eye, Tabby begins to wonder if life there might not be so bad after all.
When Amy drops a bombshell about their relationship following a disastrous visit, Tabby starts to see the need for new direction in her life. Fighting her own personal battles, Eden brings the possibility of change for them both. Gradually, Tabby starts to turn her life around—and it's all because of her.
*I received a free ARC of Because of Her from Bold Strokes Books via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Because of Her is a different kind of YA romance, as it involves a main character who is lesbian, and not afraid anymore because she has figured out that people who judge her are not the ones who would really be her true friends and present in her life anyway. After moving to London, she is upset with the whole world because she is far away from her girlfriend, Amy. Tabby has new friends in school, and they are very supportive of her in every way. There is also this girl she can’t help but watch from afar. Eden is beautiful, with striking eyes and long, soft hair. Tabby feels guilty for thinking of another girl since she is still with Amy, but she really thinks nothing will come of it.
Little by little, Because of Her shows Tabby coming out of her shell, starting fencing, and becoming friends with Eden as well. As she deals with her long distance relationship with Amy, she realizes that she is changing much more quickly than she would have if she had never moved. Tabby finds that she enjoys everything in London – apart from Amy’s absence – and Amy doesn’t understand how she can like it there at all.
Coming out first to her friends, then to her dad, Tabby has the support she needs and deserves, the one person in her family who has difficulties with her being gay is her mother, which surprises me a little, even if I didn’t get to know the mom very well. I guess I projected myself into the mom, and I am certain I would not be hard on my kids if they came to tell me they were gay or bi. Because of Her deals with the coming out, and the trouble with having one or both parents not taking it well.
The budding friendship between Eden and Tabby is very well done as well, even if Tabby would love for them to be much more than friends, she is able to keep her feelings to herself. Because of Her is a very strong story about what love should be, and how we should all treat the one person we love more than any other, and I really enjoyed the soul-searching some of the characters needed in order to realize what is important and what is not.
I also thoroughly enjoyed that Because of Her is set in London, I could see myself walking towards the tube in Covent Garden, or high up on the London Eye. The descriptions of the various neighborhoods are well done, and that enhanced my love for the whole story. The writing is really good, too, and I don’t know if it’s because of the British spelling or something else, but I could totally hear the dialogs in my head in a British accent, and that was actually a great plus for me.
The way Tabby and her two best friends were able to stand up to the people who were complete bigots was very well done, too, and I wish that every person will have at least one friend like Libby or Greg in their lives. I think Because of Her can be read by any age, and people who are hetero, gay or bi, because the story is universal. I also think that the way it showed that being a teenager isn’t always easy, and adding the fact that Tabby also had to deal with judgmental people because of her sexuality rang true.
Why? Because I was different from other girls. I knew I was different. I just didn’t need every idiot on the planet – including my father – telling me that, and I sure didn’t need some posh private school trying to mould me into something I absolutely wasn’t.
It was in the northeast that I fell in love with the girl next door. Such a cliché. Amy is seventeen, like me, and while it took ma long time to notice her, once I did, it was like a light being switched on inside me. My life was never the same again after that.
We said our goodbyes at Covent Garden, and as I watched her get swallowed up by the throng of people inside the station, all I knew was this: after ten magical hours together, I missed her the second she disappeared from view.
“And any ideas what turned you gay?” he asked. “Turned me?” My voice rose a touch. “Nothing turned me. I wasn’t out walking in the woods one day and got bitten by a huge gay monster, who with one chomp, sucked me into a vortex of gayness.”