DiscoverLGBTQ Fiction

Twelve

By

Loved it! 😍

This debut novel layers palpable middle school experiences on top of friendship and self discovery in a beautifully engaging way.

Middle school is hard enough without the added confusion of interpreting feelings that are outside of the norm. Marley is an athletic seventh grader who is well-liked by her classmates and does well in school. When all her girlfriends talk about boys, though, Marley finds she has other interests that are more compelling. One day, a new student named Jess drops her binder after art class and Marley helps her pick it up. Jess takes Marley’s breath away, and Marley finds herself in the middle of an internal struggle between who she is and who others expect her to be.


Marley tells her story in the first person, speaking directly to the reader. The majority of the story is told through a stream-of-conscious narrative, explaining Marley’s experiences and decisions in a conversational and enjoyable way. Interspersed within Marley’s discussion are brief text message conversations with her friends, including emojis and text speak. The addition of text messages increases readability while incorporating an important means of communication among preteens.


Moderate length chapters and colloquial language make this book well-suited to middle grade audiences, including reluctant readers. Occasional profanity appears in the text to amplify Marley’s emotions, adding intensity to the story without being overwhelming. The narration perfectly expresses Marley’s personality and her reactions to the events taking place around her. She is a relatable and likable character who steps off the page and into readers’ hearts.


Instead of being a story with a clear terminus, Twelve is a peek into a specific time in Marley’s life. Readers ride through Marley’s experiences alongside her, sharing in her enthusiasm, disappointment, jealousy, and confusion all along the way. It feels like a true slice of life with characters who are clearly defined and recognizable.


As a twelve-year-old girl, Marley’s body is changing and drama is erupting around her. Add to that the fact that she is trying to understand her feelings for another girl, and it would be overwhelming for anyone. This debut novel layers palpable middle school experiences on top of friendship and self discovery in a beautifully engaging way. Twelve is a highly recommended addition to libraries for middle grade readers.

Reviewed by

My career has focused on children’s literature, primarily, but I have a love for YA books, too. I began reviewing books in 2015, since which time I have had over 500 published reviews!

I primarily write reviews, but will create video reviews like this upon request: https://youtu.be/9MQx-u_NFI8

Chapter 1

About the author

This is my debut book! My goal is to bring awareness to the LGBT+ pre-teen/teen community in a way that let's the world know how "normal" it is to have feelings for whomever your heart desires. Growing up struggling with my sexuality, I want readers to know it's okay to be who you are. view profile

Published on January 20, 2021

Published by Gatekeeper Press

40000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: LGBTQ Fiction

Reviewed by