Teenage girls falling for each other at a summer program for academically gifted high schoolers. Need I say more?
Empress of the World has two key factors which make it stand out from the general mass of teenage queer books: the main character and her love interest are bi, and there relationship has issues which are not related to their queerness. Now, we absolutely need books about lesbians, and we need books where issues of sexual orientation cause tension in romantic relationships. And we need books about straight people. Of course! But there are very few bi chicks in fiction – and as a bi chick in nonfiction, I really appreciate the representation.
The relationship in Empress of the World is delightfully realistic. They’re so sweet, they like each other so much, and they are awkward and they miscommunicate and they generally act like teenagers figuring things out as they go along. Their missteps make sense and are well-portrayed, so they never become jokes or embarrassment.
It’s a snapshot of a summer: one girl’s experience of a relationship. And it’s a lovely book.