Review: If I Tell You by Alicia Tuckerman

Get your tissues ready, because If I Tell You is one hell of a story of courage, with a real tear jerker of an ending. Alex Summers lives in a small Australian town. In Two Creeks, the saying 'small towns, small minds,' certainly applies. It is expected of her that she will become a school teacher, marry her best mate (and long time admirer,) Justin and follow in her mother's footsteps by baking award winning Victoria sponges. However, deep inside Alex is a secret, something that she is too afraid to tell anyone, even her closest friends. Alex is attracted to girls, not boys, and fears the consequences if anyone, particularly her homophobic mother, finds out. However, life has other plans and things start to unravel for Alex when the charismatic, and very out, Phoenix, moves to town, along with her twin brother, artist mother, and rock and roll star father move to town. Alex finds herself falling for Phoenix, but can she find the courage to face who she really is.

This was a well crafted and believable story about identity, first loves and the price that one young woman must pay for being true to herself. Alex's coming out is a tumultuous experience, filled with highs and lows--between the rush of her first love is the disgusting way that her mother reacts to the discover that Alex is gay and the judgement that she receives from various people around town.

And then there is that ending. 

This is a well written novel that tells a believable story about one young woman's struggle to be true to herself in a town where she is expected to be someone and something different. It's very much a story of identity and of the things that people keep to themselves (Alex isn't the only one keeping secrets.) All of the love scenes faded to black, which I think was a good call--not because I'm offended, but because too often, people get all kind of voyeuristic over what two women do in private and that isn't what this story is about. This is a story of love, and identity. 

Another great thing about this book is that there is a real sense of timelessness in the narrative. Mobile phones and the internet aren't really mentioned, and most of the pop culture references are to well established bands that can appeal to more than one generation such as Guns N Roses. Consequently, this story feels as though it could have taken place anytime during the early 21st century. 

A well written story on love and identity.



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