"Suzette returns home to Los Angeles from boarding school and grapples with her bisexual identity when she and her brother Lionel fall in love with the same girl, pushing Lionel's bipolar disorder to spin out of control and forcing Suzette to confront her own demons"-- - (Baker & Taylor)
Returning home to Los Angeles from boarding school, Suzette grapples with her bisexuality when she and her brother Lionel fall in love with the same girl. - (Baker & Taylor)
Returning home to Los Angeles from her New England boarding school, Suzette considers staying home for good so that she can be near her friends, her crush, and her recently diagnosed bipolar brother, a situation that is complicated by her growing feelings for the girl her brother loves. By the award-winning author of Pointe. Simultaneous eBook. 15,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)
A stunning novel on love, identity, loss, and redemption.
When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she's isn't sure if she'll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (as well as her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.
But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new...the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel's disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself--or worse.
"Little and Lion is beautifully insightful, honest, and compassionate. Brandy's ability to find larger meaning in small moments is nothing short of dazzling." -- Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything - (Grand Central Pub)
*Starred Review* Suzette's back in California for the summer after spending the year at boarding school in New England, and she's looking forward to being back home, though she's nervous about reuniting with her stepbrother, Lion. Before she left for school, she broke a promise to Lion and told their parents his bipolar disorder was getting out of control. Now that she's back, she's worried she irrevocably altered their relationship, and while she's trying to rebuild it, Lion starts to spiral again. Meanwhile, Suzette is facing some new truths about herself, too. At boarding school, she was surprised to fall hard for her roommate, Iris, and back home, she's even more surprised to discover feelings for her old friend Emil, her mother's best friend's son. As the plot bounces back and forth in time, Colbert juggles all the moving parts expertly, handily untangling Suzette's complicated feelings about herself and her relationships and gradually illuminating pithy moments of discovery. One of many notable strengths here is Colbert's subtle, neatly interwoven exploration of intersectionality: Lion is desperate to be defined by something other than his bipolar disorder, and Suzette learns to navigate key elements of her identity—black, Jewish, bisexual—in a world that seems to want her to be only one thing. This superbly written novel teems with meaningful depth, which is perfectly balanced by romance and the languid freedom of summer. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews
After her stepbrother's bipolar diagnosis, their parents sent Suzette to boarding school. While Suzette is home in L.A. for the summer, Lionel covertly stops taking his medication and then obliviously pursues a romance with her friend/crush Rafaela. With compelling honesty, Colbert portrays Suzette's evolving understanding of her bisexuality, Lionel's longing for self-sufficiency alongside the challenges of his mental illness, and the difficulty of shifting familial relationships. Copyright 2017 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews
"Little" (Suzette) and "Lion" (Lionel) Nussbaum-Mitchell are close teen stepsiblings in a happy, blended, biracial, Jewish family. But when Lionel began exhibiting frightening symptoms and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with hypomania, their parents sent Suzette away to boarding school. Now returning home for summer break, Suzette isn't sure what to expect from their changed family dynamic, and she definitely isn't ready to share her recent realization that she is bisexual. Her apprehension is borne out when Lionel first covertly stops taking his medication and then pursues a romance with Suzette's new friend Rafaela, oblivious to the chemistry between the two girls. Suzette struggles with her commitment to her brother; her still-raw feelings for ex-girlfriend Iris (her first love and sexual partner); and an unexpected attraction to her boy-next-door childhood friend Emil. Suzette is refreshingly comfortable in her sexual identity but realistically must consider what she truly wants in a relationship, whoever her partner may be. Her first-person, present-tense narration draws readers in to moments of heart-racing romantic tension and those of frantic fear for Lionel. With compelling honesty, Colbert portrays Suzette's evolving understanding of her sexuality, Lionel's longing for self-sufficiency alongside the challenges of his mental illness, and the difficulty of shifting familial relationships. katie bircher Copyright 2017 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Sixteen-year-old Suzette was sent to boarding school when her bookish older brother, Lionel, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but now she's back in Los Angeles for the summer.Despite the strange looks their family attracts—Suzette and her mom are black, while Lionel and his dad are white—Lionel and Suzette were always close before Lionel's diagnosis. With Suzette back home, Lionel confides in her that he's going off his medication. Fearing that to divulge his secret will ruin any chance of rebuilding their bond, Suzette keeps quiet even though she feels responsible for her brother's well-being. Simultaneously, Suzette balances her blooming feelings for Emil Choi, a sunny, biracial (black/Korean) boy with Ménière's disease, and for Rafaela, a pansexual Latina—whom, disastrously, Lionel is also falling for. To make matters worse, Suzette is still grappling with a homophobic act that exposed her relationship with her white boarding school roommate , Iris. Suzette's engrossing present-tense narration intertwines with sporadic—but pertinent—flashback chapters. Colbert (Pointe, 2014) sensitively confronts misconceptions about mental illness, bisexuality, and intersectional identity ("people have too many questions when you're black and Jewish," thinks Suzette). A vibrantly depicted Los Angeles and a rich, though at-times unwieldy cast of characters create a convincing world. Readers will empathize with Suzette as she explores both her sexuality and the tricky line between honesty and betrayal. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
After a year at boarding school, 16-year-old Suzette is happy to be home for the summer, but that doesn't mean life is simple. Her stepbrother, Lionel, has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder; Suzette has just had her first same-sex relationship (and first encounter with homophobia); and she's attracted to both her longtime friend Emil and her flirtatious coworker Rafaela—whom Lionel also likes. Although love and sexuality are important to the story, its core is Suzette's feelings of responsibility for Lionel and uncertainty about how to help him. Colbert (Pointe) powerfully depicts the difficulties that mental illness presents not just for those diagnosed but for the people around them, and her characters reflect the diversity of Los Angeles. Suzette and her mother are black, Lionel and his father are white, and Suzette's friends and love interests are ethnically and sexually varied. While the characters occasionally feel slightly idealized—Suzette always tries to do the right thing, her parents are unfailingly accepting, and her friends have an impressive ability to articulate what they feel and why—it's a moving and well-realized examination of secrecy, trust, and intimacy. Ages 15–up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Aug.)
Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.
School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 10 Up—Suzette has been devoted to Lionel from an early age, and vice versa. At first glance, they don't look like siblings—a black girl and white boy barely a year apart in age—but their blended family is closely knit. At her parents' insistence, Suzette has been away at boarding school since Lionel's mental health began to deteriorate and he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Now she's back in L.A. for the summer, and she finds more complications waiting. Suzette is dealing with the aftermath of a secret relationship with her roommate at school, new feelings for her childhood friend Emil, and an attraction to the same girl her brother likes, and the secrets Lionel wants her to keep are the last thing she needs. Intersectional and honest, this book covers topics of mental health, sexuality, and family without sugarcoating or melodrama. The supporting characters are just as vivid as the leads, with full personalities and backgrounds of their own (for instance, Emil is black and Korean and wears hearing aids) that are never a cheap plot point. Suzette is a sympathetic and flawed character, struggling to overcome her own fears to do right by the people she cares about. VERDICT A moving, diverse exploration of the challenges of growing up and the complicated nature of loyalty. Recommended for all YA collections.—Amy Diegelman, formerly at Vineyard Haven Public Library, MA
Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.