Dive by Stacey Donovan

Genres: Young Adult, Coming of Age, LGBT
Publisher: Open Road Media Teen & Tween
Publication Date: September 1st 2015 (first published 1994)


**Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was given to my by the publisher for an honest review.

“Books have saved my life, or stopped me from thinking I’m purely crazy anyway.”

It all starts when Virginia’s dog is hit by a green VW. That is the day that her life begins spiraling out of control. Her dog is almost dead, her dad is sick and V is filled with nothing but questions. Who hit my dog? What’s wrong with my dad? Change is happening fast, and V feels like she might just sink under all this pressure.

This book starts fast, and stays fast. There is so much happening in V’s life that there isn’t a chance to breath. It’s a quick read.

Unfortunately Virginia is a highly distracted protagonist. I found myself wondering if she was thinking in a flashback or if the story had already moved on. She also thinks about literature at great lengths, which while poetic, does throw off the flow in certain parts of the novel. Her voice is good, but doesn’t sound entirely fifteen. Despite that there are several fantastic quotes in the book that are meaningful and rooted in truth.

Touted as and LGBT+ story I did expect more. The romance is at the very best a side plot. The second leading lady doesn’t appear until halfway through the novel and she only has a handful of real interactions with V. The romance feels poorly developed. It could have done well if it had more time and pages devoted to it. As it is we never really see V and and her romantic interest grow close. They just suddenly are.

As well, for a book set in the early nineties, V doesn’t go through a lot of anything. There is a brief paragraph of her pondering the implications of being gay and then it’s dropped like it’s a non-issue. While I can appreciate having a novel with a gay couple not focus entirely on their struggles, it shouldn’t be treated like V discovering her love for women meant nothing at all. As though it wasn’t a huge change for her.

That being said it is still a very good coming of age novel. V’s methods of dealing with her father’s sickness and impending death are realistic and relatable. She’s strong without being unbelievable for a fifteen year old girl. It hasn’t aged badly, and many teens might still find something relatable in V today.


Read this if you’re a fan of: Unspeakable


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