We all long to be understood. Not on a surface level, but in that in-depth way that creates unbreakable bonds between people. Imagine feeling like no one will ever know you, and then finding the one person who might know you better than yourself.
Bastián and Lore aren’t your average teenagers — and that’s a good thing. At least, it should be. But the world isn’t as accepting of “different” as it should be. Which is why these two friends are the only ones who have ever seen the world beneath the lake.
It’s hard enough growing up as it is. But being non-binary and living with ADHD sure doesn’t help. Perhaps the universe brought Bastián and Lore together because it knew they both needed a friend who understood what it was like to be everything the world said they couldn’t be.
Anna-Marie McLemore is a master of young adult fiction. This book in particular takes the trope of “two teens who don’t fit in” and gives it what some would call a “modern” twist. I prefer to call it a necessary application of the idea that different isn’t bad … but that doesn’t mean different is easy.
I can’t personally speak to Bastián and Lore’s experiences and won’t talk over those who can by any means. But as a reader, reviewer, and someone with a small but mighty (?) online presence, I feel it’s my responsibility to promote books like these. Stories that give voice to the very real, meaningful experiences that are constantly being attacked by people who, for whatever reason, want everyone in their world to be exactly like them. Sorry, but isn’t that kind of boring? Shouldn’t we want to surround ourselves with all kinds of people, not just people who look like us, grew up like us … think and feel and behave like us?
Lakelore is a beautiful book. That phrasing doesn’t quite speak to how important and wonderful it is, but “beautiful” is just one of many things it happens to be. Books exist to be read, especially when they feature characters who aren’t like you. Open your mind and heart to new things through a medium that you’re used to: reading.
Read this book. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what you believe. I’m recommending it to everyone, everywhere, immediately.
Everyone deserves to see themselves accurately represented in the stories they and their friends are reading. Not all books have to be about living as transgender or neurodivergent teens specifically. But more stories should and MUST feature diverse characters.
Readers, especially young readers, need to know they matter. Stories can show them that, sometimes in ways other things simply can’t.
Lakelore is available now wherever books are sold.
Meg Dowell is the creator of Brain Rush, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words, and Not a Book Hoarder, celebrating books of all kinds. She is an editor, writer, book reviewer, podcaster, and photographer. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about nonsense and Star Wars.