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An Eighth Grade Gay Straight Alliance by Daniel Micko

Part LGBTQ romance, part YA drama, part social commentary—and all heart.  

Intriguing social commentary and an appealingly flawed pair of protagonists make Micko’s latest outing a solid read. Modesto, California. Sydney Troller, an 8th grader from a single parent, conservative Muslim family, has stealthily looked at her classmate Brooklyn Jennings, a headstrong girl who also hails from a Conservative Muslim family, for a long time, but she doesn’t know what to make of her feelings. When Jennings creates the GSA, Gay Straight Alliance, a club without adult supervision, Sidney is one of the eight other students who join immediately. The girls soon realize they are falling for each other. Immersive right from the beginning, the book is a quick-paced adolescent drama. The story is intriguing, with a plot that navigates a horde of social and individual themes but still offers plenty of room for sweet moments of romance between the young protagonists. Micko’s character development is refreshingly deep. Sydney is an interesting narrator, defined equally by her circumstances and her personality, and her dogged determination to remain true to herself and her principles makes it easy to root for her. Jennings is stubbornly resolute and brash. These traits are woven naturally into the main plot. The girls’ relentless struggles amidst their dysfunctional family dramas and their fear about coming out ring painfully true for many young readers. Supporting characters are fully fleshed-out and vividly portrayed. The story is fun, sweet, and exhilarating and is set in a richly detailed contemporary world where life is not always fair but still worth living. Offering moments of genuine depth, it delves into relevant and complex themes of religion, faith, patriarchy, LGBTQ issues, teenage angst, romance, dysfunctional families, the power of community and friendship, and how life—with all its messiness—is still worth exploring. The book also organically weaves in issues of race and cultural identity. Though the dialogue delivery feels less than plausible at times, this only slightly detracts from the sweet, coming of age adolescent drama and the girls’ believable growth. Scenes between Sydney and her mom provide insights into their family situation and the latter’s addictive gambling habit, and the cute banter between the girls will keep readers engaged as the sparks fly and they try to find a way to acknowledge their feelings while navigating the impossibilities of their personal lives. Sydney and Jennings present Conservative Muslims.    An engaging story that sensitively explores bigotry, family, friendship, love, and self-expression.  

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An Eighth Grade Gay Straight Alliance
Daniel Micko
770 Publishing
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Pub date September 27, 2022
ISBN ‎ 978-1737202158
Price $12.00 (USD) Paperback, $0.00 Kindle edition

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