Little & Lion: A Novel

By: Brandy Colbert

Colbert has written a stunning novel of love, identity, loss, and redemption, featuring diverse characters grappling with such issues as bipolar illness and bisexuality.

ISBN: 9780316349000

JLG Release: Sep 2017


Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Strong sexual themes, Discussion of abortion, Discrimination based on sexuality, Marijuana, Discussion of a racist joke
Topics: Brothers and sisters , Family life , Dating (social customs) , Bisexuality , Manic-depressive illness , Mental illness , California

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Awards & Honors

Green Mountain Book Award 2018—2019 Nominee 2018 Stonewall Book Award Winner
YALSA 2018 Best Fiction for Young Adults
Rainbow List Choice - 2018
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017, Teen Books
BuzzFeed 28 Best YA Books of 2017
Booklist Top of the List Editor’s Choice, Fiction Older Readers
Tablet Magazine Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2017, Young Adult

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal*, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
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 LionelR
[STARRED REVIEW]
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

Horn Book

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, Suz 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

Book Details

ISBN

9780316349000

First Release

September 2017

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

Trim Size

Page Count

336

Accelerated Reader

Level 5.3; Points: 12;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 6.4; Points: 19;

Lexile

Level HL820L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Little, Brown

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Mild language, Strong sexual themes, Discussion of abortion, Discrimination based on sexuality, Marijuana, Discussion of a racist joke

Topics

Brothers and sisters, Family life, Dating (social customs), Bisexuality, Manic-depressive illness, Mental illness, California,

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