Fool for Love
From the author, Lisa Lees:
Carys has never willingly worn a dress and Jami, who has, is intersexed. Teenage love is never easy, but for Carys and Jami love is an often terrifying journey in self-discovery and trust.
Carys, a senior, meets home-schooled Jami at a week-long Arts
Camp where she is clowning (as a tramp named Lovelorn) and
Jami is helping teach a photography course. Carys is immediately attracted to Jami and boldly sets out to determine if the interest might be mutual. Jami surprises herself by telling Carys that she is intersexed, and so begins a sometimes very emotional process of figuring out what it would mean for Carys and Jami to be in love, and eventually to make love. They continue to see each other when the Arts Camp ends, becoming involved in each other’s activities and interests.
Life is not going well for Carys at home. Carys has always been much different than her older sister, Caitlin, who has followed the traditional college / marriage / career / kids path. Friction with her parents increases as Carys nears the end of high school and makes it clear that she does not want to immediately go to college and that she is in love with Jami. As a big-city nurse, Carys’s sister Caitlin knows something about intersexuality, and proves to be an ally in
trying to smooth relations with their parents.
Compared to Carys, Jami has an ideal home life. But Jami is perhaps too sheltered and is far from prepared to deal with certain aspects of adult relationships. Her struggle with who and what she is as an intersex person dominates her thoughts of being intimate with another person, and threatens to get in the way of developing a relationship with Carys.
After weeks of dancing around the issue, one Saturday Jami and Carys have “the talk” and do a show and tell of their bodies. This is not sex, but in some ways is more intimate than sex. It is a very emotional milestone for both of them.
Meanwhile, Carys has talked Jami into auditioning for a staged reading of a play, The Captive, by Edouard Bourdet. (One of the first modern plays having a lesbian character.) They both land parts, to Jami’s surprise. The interaction with other people in the cast provides an opportunity for Jami to work on coming out of her shell a little further.
As the school year comes to a close, rumors of Carys’s relationship with Jami begin to circulate, and Carys encounters some harassment at school. The incidents slowly escalate to the point that Carys walks out of her school, with no intention of returning.
Her sister and her family come from Boston for Carys’s graduation, and to talk with their parents. By this time Jami and Caitlin have spent time talking in email and on the phone and are becoming friends. Caitlin is upset by the treatment Carys has had at the same high school she attended with fond memories.
The day before they participate in the state Pride March, Carys stays at Jami’s house so Caitlin can talk to her mother about Carys and Jami. Now, after everything that they have gone through together, Jami and Carys finally make love during the afternoon.
The book ends with Carys and Jami looking for, finding and moving into their own apartment. They’re a little too obviously a couple, and they need to be frugal, so the search isn’t going well until Jami gets fed up and blurts out some information that changes the attitude of the landlord with whom they are talking.
The novel contains several very emotional scenes, but no graphic sexual content. There is a little strong language at times when people are really upset, but nothing out of line with other books in the young adult coming of age / coming out category.
Fool for Love is available for purchase at lulu.com