Book Cover: Don’t Tell My Mother
Editions:Kindle Edition - Kindle Edition: $ 4.58
Pages: 94

With an overly zealous mother as her guide, 19-year-old Sam has never had problems navigating through Christian suburbia before. But, all that changes when she befriends and becomes intrigued with Clara, her widowed neighbor and the village’s social outcast. When their friendship grows into the “unnatural”, Sam is forced to examine her upbringing and come to terms with who she really is.

Reviews:Jay Tria on Goodreads wrote:

Stellar, sharp writing. Prose so hilarious it brought me to the edge of tears so many times, both tears of joy and tears of aching lament. Characters so tangible I felt I could reach out and touch them, play chess with them, eat their chicken gallantina. Bautista is another author added to my auto-buy list.

Emily on Goodreads wrote:

I picked Don't Tell My Mother for the 2k17 Asian Lit Bingo's prompt "queer romance with asian mc". Apart from that, I didn't know much what to expect from this short novel. But I'm glad I read it - It's a beautiful story.

And a painful one, too, since we're here. And powerful. Don't Tell My Mother presents us Sam, our narrator, a 19yo girl from the Philippines with an overly religious mother, a desire to please her parents no matter what and also some history with Cristina, the girl next door sent to the USA for being a pregnant teen. Sam's still trying to find her place, even though she's grown up in the suburbia, when, one day on church, she has to sit next to Mrs. Alves, the windowed woman from down the street that everybody else avoids. From holding hands with the older woman to evening strolls to her house, the relationship between the two of them turn into something more as Sam can't really hide her feelings for Clara - and as Clara slowly let herself fall into that too.

Sam's struggles, her relationship with her dad (view spoiler) and, mostly, her navigating life as the only child of a super religious mother were a lot, but everything felt so real I couldn't help but fall for her and Clara and hope for their best. At some points, this book even reminded me of Purple Hibiscus, and I couldn't wait to find out if it had a bittersweet ending, too. I ended up reading most of it in one seating.

I was surprised at how mature this whole thing was, and how well Briggite Bautista handled everything. Sam's struggles felt very real and I loved every single bittersweet moment she had. My next read will be Better At Weddings Than You, by Mina V. Esguerra, another philippine writer (who's also mentioned by Brigitte by the end of the book!!) and I can't wait to read more authors from this country.

H. Bentham on Goodreads wrote:

I got my own copy at #AprilFeelsDay2017 but I’ve been craving to read this since news of its existence reached me through Twitter last year. This is my first FF romance and I’m fortunate enough to have been ‘devirginized’ by this book! LOL

I hate slow paced stories. A slow first few chapters is enough for me to DNF a book, but with Brigitte’s witty prose and stellar writing (and probably my own experiences growing queer in the PH), I only noticed the not-so-fast pacing after I’ve read ‘til the end. I’m not complaining, mind you, because I think the it was just right to tell the story’s grit, to make the reader understand where Sam was coming from, as well as all the other well-rounded characters.

I loved that it started the way it started. No spoilers but here are hints: vintage(?) Nokia phone, genderbent American Pie scene and “we’ve all been there, one way or another” LOL

The romance is sweet, touching and the author managed to make me root for Sam. Even when he seemed to be making mistakes with all the confusion, I wanted so much for her to be happy.

I also loved that it touched issues that are dubbed controversial and difficult. The way this book tackled authentic queerness, from the first realization down to the struggle of acceptance is notable. I also loved the treatment with the ‘villains’ and how their methods and motivation to be that cruel isn’t downplayed or over shown. That’s precisely what happens.

Lastly I weep for Sam’s Papa.

I highly, highly recommend this book! In fact, I already asked my niece to read it and as of this writing, she’s starting the last chapter (we’ve been fangirling over the book at lunchtime today!). It’s not for everyone, that’s true, but I wish everyone would read this. It’s lovely, sometimes sad, but a good read overall.

5 of 5 Stars. A+ writing and A+ content. Thank you, Brigitte, for being brave to tell this story.

*This review also appears on my personal blog:

Bryan Montallana on Goodreads wrote:

A new adult fiction book fit for the 21st century and a binary reading--either 1 or a 0 in general. And it's a 1 for me. It's a blend of positive and negative, testing the value of perspective. Centered on a subject that not everyone will agree on, this book will burst out curiosity and will keep you company in a heartwarming manner. It's a love story that takes twists and turns, like any other love stories, but the struggle of keeping the love story alive is what this book's all about. (Not to mention the humor here and there XD storytelling's superb *thumbs up*)

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