How to inaugurate this section without mentioning the first book I read in 2021?

Impossible. Billy Lemonade by Sarah J. Maxwell is a book I picked sometime in February out of a Twitter list. The title and the blurb intrigued me, and it seemed like a good place to start due to my heavy reading slump. Now, I don’t particularly like or read a lot of YA fiction but since adults were jumping in, I figured this book might be for me. I wasn’t disappointed.

Image from Whisper Publishing.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5: it was amazing

This book got me out of my reading slump. Billy completely whisked me away. I didn’t expect a fairytale; I saw most reviews mentioned how real and poetic this book was. How human it was. And I must say, it didn’t disappoint.

The first chapter was hard for me to get through because I wasn’t used to the scenery that was painted — a countryside as charming as it was dreadful, and Billy killing ants (lol). I thought this was going to be the beginning of a teenage drama, where the younger girl falls in love with the older boy.

Needless to say I was wrong. Dead wrong.

The story unfolds pretty quickly, and it’s easy to be in Jane’s shoes. She hates school, she can’t make friends, every other girl in school is hard to connect with. She only has Billy and Billy only has her. Their friendship is endearing but mature; a real trip down memory lane for whoever experienced deep male/female friendships in school. But then the truth about Billy comes out and honestly, I was devastated. I’m not easily shaken by a story but that part really made me tear up. It wasn’t what I expected at all, and then I started having doubts about Jane as well but still — I wasn’t prepared for her reality as well.

Sarah is a wizard with words; her vocabulary is amazing, and there is a sensibility in every sentence she writes that takes Billy Lemonade somewhere above your usual YA book. This isn’t ‘just’ a YA book. This is a book for YA and adults, and anyone else who misses innocent summers.

If by the end you don’t fall in love with Billy — oh, wait, no. That’s impossible.

I can’t wait to read more books by this author. She’s a precious stone.

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