If You’ll Have Me

Viking. Oct. 2023. 336p. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9780593403235.
Gr 9 Up–Momo is a shy college student whose closest friends are, like her, queer women of color. She’s insecure about dating after being badly hurt in an early relationship. Classmate PG has a reputation as someone who dates lots of women, none seriously. Momo first encounters PG while dropping off class notes to a friend when unexpectedly, a partially undressed PG answers the door. Momo is both attracted and intimidated. She sees PG again at a dance; PG gets slapped while arguing over her mistreatment of someone she dated. Momo follows PG into the bathroom to see if she needs help. Given Momo’s insecurities, she’s surprised and somewhat distrustful when PG invites her to spend time together. Their relationship blossoms but isn’t without bumps. In the end they both understand that putting assumptions aside in favor of honest communication will help them both get over hurts from the past and make room for their own relationship to thrive. The narrative lovingly centers on queer women of color. The art, with its rich color palette and beautiful depiction of distinct characters, makes the story vibrant and engaging. PG is Vietnamese American, and all other characters have a wide range of skin tones and hair textures. Another strength of this book is the inclusiveness of expression, showing women ranging from femme to androgynous.
VERDICT This sweet romance will attract many readers, especially queer women of color who will see women like them getting their happily ever after.

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