Jo is an out and proud lesbian. Her father is the radio famous Reverend Gordon. Before Jo’s senior year of high school, her dad marries Elizabeth (whom Jo calls Three) and moves them from Atlanta and all of Jo’s friends to Elizabeth’s small hometown of Rome, Georgia. Jo’s dad asks her to go back into the closet for her senior year in Rome in exchange for a graduation road trip with her trouble-making best friend Dana, and the chance for Jo to make her own radio show. Jo takes this as a challenge changing her black punk look for the wholesome girl next door and going by Joanna. Jo assumes that living in podunk Rome won’t allow for the opportunity to find a girlfriend or action of any sort. But Rome, and the people in it, might surprise Jo.
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is Jaye Robin Brown’s second novel. Jo is funny,
authentic, and relatable. She wants to dislike Elizabeth (her new step-mom), but also wants her dad to be happy. Religion and LGBT themes don’t often mix in fiction, but they
are a great combination in Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit. Many different characters have different opinions on the topic, but love and acceptance are the overwhelming theme. Love, compassion, and grace are found in unexpected places mixing with family of all kinds – biological, blended, and chosen. Brown’s Georgia Peaches is a compelling read. Jo drew me in and her journey didn’t let me put the book down. I finished it in a day, and it would have been one sitting if things like going to work weren’t an issue. Brown’s writing of great characters and blend of social issues made me want to pick up her first book nearly right after the second. Check out Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit right away.