I first heard of the Lillac Town series by M. Hollis this year thanks to the #DiversityBingo2017 challenge. Looking everywhere for a book which shows pansexual rep in a main character, there were very few titles being tossed around in any recs threads I was looking at but The Melody of You and Me, book one in the Lillac Town series was one of them. I bought the ebook early this year but didn’t pick it up until recently when I realised the second in the series, The Paths We Choose, was also out in the world. I have just read both books back to back and absolutely loved them!
The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis
“After dropping out of university and breaking up with her girlfriend of three years, Chris Morrison’s life is now a mind-numbing mess. She doubts that working at the small neighborhood bookstore is going to change that. The rest of her time is spent mostly playing guitar and ignoring the many messages her mother keeps sending her about going back to college.
But one day, an adorable and charming new bookseller waltzes her way into Chris’s life. Josie Navarro is sweet, flirty, and she always has a new book in her hands. The two girls start a fast friendship that, for Chris, holds the promise of something more. But is she reading too much into this or is it possible that Josie feels the same way?” (goodreads)
This is a book about falling in love when you least expect it and allowing life to guide you into new opportunities and experiences. The romance in this book is like a sweet and delicious cupcake with a sexy cherry on top, but even though Chris and Josie’s story together was beautiful warm fuzzy fluff it was not what I loved most about this novella. What won me over ultimately was that, in the short 144pages Hollis discusses some big topics in such a clear and perfect way. The diverse rep in this book is 100% with queer and POC main characters, and Hollis uses these diverse and rich characters to talk about many topics like the normalisation of women masturbating, pansexuality, the whitewashing of the ballet culture, the pressure of deciding the rest of your life at 18, controlling relationships and so much more. I think what I liked the most about TMOYAM is that there was no queer ‘drama’, even with a coming out scene (which was handled EXCELLENTLY!) I really appreciated the simple nature of a beautiful romance.
The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis
“Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.
Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.
A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs. Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.”
The Paths We Choose is the second book in the Lillac Town NA series by M. Hollis. It follows a co-worker of Chris and Josie from book one named Lily, and her ‘no strings attached’ relationship with Chris’s housemate Mayte. This was another just beautifully written book! Hollis’ writing definitely improved from book 1 and I think I enjoyed the plot of this second book also. This book is truly wonderful. It’s all about friendship and found family which really resonated with me, its not uncommon for those in the queer community to have a dysfunctional or broken relationship with their family and instead they have a found family of close friends, so this book was extremely relatable. It has wonderful diverse rep, with both main characters being girls of colour and talks so well about body positivity, sex positivity and also, something not talked about enough, positive talk about not being pressured into having sex by a certain age.
Both of these books were a HUGE hit for me and have got me in the mood for queer romance in a big way. The author of the Lillac Town series M. Hollis was kind enough to tweet me with some recommendations for delicious queer romance which I thought I would share with you to wrap this review post up:
Young Adult recs:
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee,
Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley,
When Women Were Warriors by Catherine M. Wilson,
Complementary and Acute by Ella Lyons,
Crush by S.R. Silcox,
Ash by Malinda Lo.
New Adult/Adult recs:
Flowers of Luna by Jennifer Linsky
Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon,
Knit One Girl Two by Shira Glassman,
Take me Home by Lorelie Brown,
Roller Girl by Vanessa North