Genre: YA Fiction/LGBTQIA+

The Gist: A bunch of superstitious theatre students put on a performance of Les Miserables.

Short Review: A delightful young adult fiction that celebrates the love of theatre, falling in love and the growing up.

Long Review: Aspiring stage manager Melody McIntyre promises her crew that she won’t fall in love during their upcoming performance of Les Miserables because they are worried that it is bringing on a theatre curse. However, when popular student Odile Rose starts showing interest in Melody McIntyre her resolve begins to crumble. However, when strange and unusual things begin to happen during the performance rehearsals Melody starts to believe that the curse is real.

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre is a great read. It doesn’t try to be anything other than it is. A fun theatre romp that looks at the love lives of teenagers. One aspect of the novel that I really appreciated is that LGBTQIA+ relationships are central to the plot however Robin Talley does not emphasise this as an issue. I think more YA novels need to have non-heteronormative relationships at the heart of their stories without it being the main point. It shows that LGBTQIA+ relationships are the norm. By taking away what she my see as an issue Robin Talley has moved the goalposts to where they should be for other authors writing fiction with LGBTQIA+ relationships at the heart of it.  

A fantastic read. Be warned though, you will be singing the soundtrack to Les Miserables for days afterwards – I don’t see how that is a bad thing. 

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley is available now.

For more information regarding Robin Talley (@robin_talley) please visit

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What We Left BehindThe Blurb

A sweeping, powerful and incredibly modern young adult love story. What We Left Behind follows teen couple – Gretchen, and Toni, who is starting to come to terms with being transgender. Despite the growing rift caused by distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity, they struggle to stay together during their first year in college.

The Review

Since reading Golden Boy by Abigail Tartellin a few years back, I have been intrigued by fiction that features central characters who are transgender. It is a subject that I am fascinated by; equally I am encouraged that more and more fiction discusses this topic.

The LGBTQIA community has been hidden away for so long that it truly makes me smile that young adults can read about characters’ struggles and maybe even identify with their stories. This is a great way to change opinions and remove ignorance along with giving the young adult reading the book (who is confused by their feelings in the convention societal arena) hope.

In What We Left Behind, we meet Gretchen and Toni(y) – our two protagonists; a lesbian couple who are trying to make their long distance relationship work as they head off to two different colleges. Alongside this struggle, Toni is discovering that s/he (for ease of description) wants to go through with transgender realignment. However, Gretchen is confsed as to what role she will play in Tony’s life now. Will she be his girlfriend? Does this make her straight? Both of them are struggling with these big life changes and are falling apart rather than anchoring each other.

What We Left Behind is a book that is essentially about relationships; our relationship with others and our relationship with ourselves. Robin Talley handles the topic with sensitivity whilst also managing to make the reader question our own levels of acceptance and how we perceive those around us.

What We Left Behind is an excellent novel.

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley is available now.

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