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  • Caleb R. Haynes

A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy

Sometimes you read a book and you just instantly know that it will be with you for a very long time. This was one of those books.

It’s funny, charming, and whimsical but at the same time really emotional and meaningful to me as someone who grew up queer in the south. In the same vein as I Kissed Shara Wheeler, this book doesn’t lean on queer folks needing to escape the south to be happy. This book welcomed multiple queer identities to a place I know and love, and affirmed that queer people belong in the south. (i’ll say it again for the horses in the back: QUEER! PEOPLE! BELONG! IN! THE! SOUTH!)

Luke and Emmett were both so easy to root for, and I loved how much of a contrast there was between them. They both had just such drastically different journeys before the book took place and as it was happening. There seemed to be an underlying theme that there’s no one right way to come out, that everyone’s coming out journey is a little different, and that you can never really fully 100% understand someones circumstances and factors that may go into their decision of when/if/how they come out. Something I honestly wish there was more representation for.

Set against the backdrop of East Tennessee and the beautiful Smoky Mountains, a place I grew up visiting and that holds a lot of fondness in my heart - I felt nostalgic. The book overall was really well written, but I felt surprised that someone not from here could make me feel so warmed by the fire of my memories of the mountains. I could picture so much of this book with such clarity, that it was like coming home in so many ways. Kennedy’s ability to do this is remarkable, and reminded me of why I love books so much.

I wanted to say thank you to both BooksForward & Brian D. Kennedy for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book before it’s release. I ended up ordering a finished copy before I even finished the ARC.


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