Book Review: “Never Trust a Gemini” by Freja Nicole Woolf

never trust a gemini book coverNever Trust a Gemini follows Cat, a 14-year-old student who is obsessed with star signs and is in love with one of her best friends, Alison Bridgewater. Only Cat’s best friend Zanna knows how she feels. Readers can follow Cat on her journey as she tries to open up to Alison about how she feels, only for the stars to send her in a new direction in the process.

I truly love the thought put into the formatting of this book. Rather than having a book divided into Parts 1, 2, and 3 or something similar, it is divided by which zodiac season it is, which I think is super fun. I also love that nearly every chapter has a cute something at the end, like a text conversation or a rambling from Cat. It really adds to the reading experience.

As a whole, I admire what the author is trying to do. This is a book that doesn’t center the main character’s story on coming out or dealing with the aftermath of that. It is an important representation of what LGBTQ+ stories should look like. That said, it ultimately feels like a middle-grade book despite being categorized as a young adult one. While I recognize that may be due to the age of the characters and some of the themes, the immaturity of the characters really places this on the younger end of the young adult scale. With exclamation points every other sentence, you really get a sense of just how young the characters are, and it isn’t always in the best way.

While it feels like Cat is trying to go on a journey, she doesn’t appear to change as a person. She does “get over” her crush on Alison, but only because she finds someone else to like instead. Though this is common, especially at that age, it feels like another crush is used to force character development. That said, she is a young teen, and I didn’t expect any type of significant change, but I do believe a step in a new direction would be realistic.

The amount of bullying depicted in this book is a bit much at times. One of the people within Cat’s friend group, Siobhan, is particularly nasty. She is regularly demeaning to other members of the friend group, demands to be the center of attention at all times, and even destroys someone’s phone because she has singled them out as her latest victim. While I recognize that level of bullying certainly exists in the world, the character never quite faces repercussions. There is discipline at the school level, but again, no real character development.

Never Trust a Gemini has a lot of things going for it. It shows a lesbian character who is (mostly) comfortable in her own skin struggling with issues anyone can relate to. But it also depicts struggles that appear to be unique to others within her community, which is especially important in today’s world. It’s a book best for the tween and early teen crowd, especially those who are going through similar problems with crushes and friend groups.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Walker Books, for review.

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