Review: South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf
Expected Publication: April 1, 2016
Publisher: Albert Whitman
Format: via NetGalley
What is Kaycee willing to risk for the sake of love?
And what will she risk for acceptance?
In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in town is Friday night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means dating guys she has no interest in, saying only “yes, ma’am” when the local bigots gossip at her mom’s cosmetics salon, and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson.
Unlike Kaycee, Bren doesn’t really conceal who she is. But as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to give her any trouble. Maybe there’s no harm if Kaycee gets closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her life a secret, especially from her family and her best friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the harder it is to hide from everyone else. Kaycee knows Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she’s risking everything for the chance to truly be herself.
In South of Sunshine we met Kaycee who is living in small town Sunshine and who is trying to figure out life and most importantly trying to figure out who exactly she is. Kaycee has been trying to suppress her true feelings and emotions when it comes to her sexuality all until new girl Bren walks into school. When she sees Bren she knows she’s a goner and is instantly smitten with Bren and although she tries to keep her distance there comes a point when neither one can deny that there is something definitely there.
What I loved most about this book was that it wasn't just about her sexuality but also about discovering the person she wants to be. Kaycee knows that she wants more in life than just her small town; she wants to explore and make something of herself. I think in Bren, Kaycee saw that she could do things in life and be more than she ever thought she could be. Bren was that light that showed her anything was possible. But not everyone is so happy for them she does face prejudice and that makes her doubt herself and if she is really ready to be out. She doesn’t know if she is strong enough to handle everything that comes with being her true self.
This is a great read no matter if you are gay or straight it’s all about being your true self. It shows us that we are stronger than we think, and to always take pride in who we are and that if you lucky to find love no matter what that’s a beautiful thing. South of Sunshine is wonderful coming of age story one that demands to be read.