Grace is a junior at Immaculate Blessing Academy for Girls. She deeply admires young, fervently devout Sister Mary Alice. Her best friend is Anne, who wonders how far she should go with her boyfriend. Grace is dating Glenn. Then she meets the rebellious, sensuous Meg.
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Teens and preteens who are confused about their sexuality may derive comfort from the exploits of this first novel's protagonists, but adults will wince as they stumble on inept prose, particularly the infelicitous metaphors ("Her stomach was churning like a washing machine in the heavy-load cycle"). At a retreat sponsored by her Catholic girls' high school, Grace, a sophomore, is perturbed when she eavesdrops on what is obviously a lesbian lovers' quarrel between the school's most popular seniors. She becomes agitated, too, when her best friend, Anne, confides that she is planning on losing her virginity with a boyfriend. Put off by her own boyfriend Glen's "hormonal outbursts," Grace guiltily discovers that it's "amazingly terrific" to kiss Meg, a classmate for whom molestation is an ingredient of family life, and the pair embarks on a sexual relationship. Grace clashes with her parents and the Church; bitterly learns that some gays will "do anything to pass as straight"; and is gradually politicized (a lesbian mentor tells her, "The kind of prejudice and discrimination you'll face as a gay person, Grace, is totally different from the kind any other minority faces. People can insult you to your face because your difference doesn't show. That's either a blessing or a curse. You'll have to decide which"). Salvatore is a senior editor at Redbook magazine.
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"When I first came out, I thought saying 'Catholic lesbian' was redundant," says a character in this novel about a young girl's coming out at an all-girls' Catholic high school in Queens. Salvatore's slight, engaging story captures the hothouse atmosphere in which many Catholic lesbians came of age. At the Immaculate Blessing Academy for Girls, sixteen-year-old Grace must grow up quickly when spirituality, sexuality, and friendship boil together in a heady brew. Unsettled because she is indifferent to her boyfriend's sexual advances, Grace at first thinks she is destined for the cool chastity of the convent. But her aspirations soon change when she and her classmate, Meg, fall in love and begin to explore lesbian passion. Grace's bittersweet coming-out story has great charm. Salvatore draws Grace, Meg, and Grace's straight friend Anne with insight and great compassion for the adolescents' rueful bewilderment. The novel's more ambitious aspects are less successful. Because the nuns are unidimensional and myopic, their spirituality never becomes a credible alternative to the passionate secrets Grace discovers. The most serious obstacle is Salvatore's style. Intended to reflect Grace's sixteen-year-old mind, it instead sounds amateurish. -- From Independent Publisher
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Book Description Naiad Press, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0941483908