The Harper360 proof newsletter is always a joy, and from the last newsletter, I was sent a copy of Margo Zimmerman Gets The Girl. It wasn’t a book I’d heard of before, but a queer YA contemporary is always a safe bet. Especially when there’s some disability rep as well. I’ll admit, I almost forgot about this book as I wasn’t in a rush to get to it, but when I finally picked it up, I had such a great time.
Margo is a lesbian but doesn’t know until she kisses a girl. But being an overachiever, she feels like she has to learn how to be gay if she will do this right. Abbie, on the other hand, is openly bi and proud. Still, she needs tutoring in US History to get accepted into college. As the two girls agree to help each other, they learn a lot about themselves and each other and soon realise that neither of them would be happy with just any girl. Instead, they want each other.
This book begins at the party where Margo has her first kiss with a girl. You get a glimpse into her head and see how she doesn’t even seem to think that maybe she likes girls. Even if she’s thinking about the other girls’ boobs. And then she kisses her and feels something she hadn’t felt with her boyfriends. Jump three months ahead, and Margo has come to terms with her sexuality but is still figuring out the whole being gay thing.
A lot of Margo’s overachieving and lack of understanding stems from her autism. She asks her pan brother how he acts gay, and she copies him exactly, not automatically making the distinction that things would be different for him. Most people were pretty understanding of her disability, though. There’s only one instance of someone making fun of her for it, and they’re automatically called out on it. Which was lovely to see.
Both Margo and Abbie were good characters. I prefer Margo, though being in Abbie’s head was pretty interesting. Her home life was terrible, her best friend kind of sucked, and she regularly had to deal with biphobia. But despite that, she’s a really caring person, and it was nice to see her settle into this thing with Margo. Even if her attitude was something, I pulled faces over at the start.
The back of this book describes it as hilarious, and it really is. Both girls can be ridiculous, and I loved their flirting. I also loved Margo’s relationship with her brother. There’s a scene where she comes home early, and he’s hiding his back from her and clearly has some people upstairs. She was so awkward about it that I was cackling.
This was a book that tackles the idea of teenage girls having sex. It’s not smutty, but you do see them explore their sexuality and begin to experience things together. It felt realistic and was done tastefully enough that I’m sure teenage readers will enjoy it. Still, it’s clearly not being targeted at adults. So that’s great.
I’m not sure if this is a book I’d reread, but I did enjoy it. I would recommend it to teenagers who are beginning to explore their own sexualities but want a funny story to be able to approach that with.
Title: Margo Zimmerman Gets The Girl
Editor: Brianna R. Shrum & Sara Waxelbaum
Age Range: Young Adult
Publisher: Inkyard Press / Harper360
Release Date: 8/6/23