Rainbow by Verde Arzu is a coming-of-age queer love story — plus, you could win a signed copy in the giveaway!
Thank you to Shannon of R&R Book Tours for sending me a free copy of Rainbow in return for an honest review.
Rainbow follows Taylor, a college student who only has time for basketball and studying in her life. She dreams of one day playing in the WNBA. But that all changes on a student union trip to Washington DC to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March. Taylor meets Melody, and this changes her whole life and world view.
The start of the story describes Taylor’s trip to Washington, DC, and her anger — two months before, Hurricane Katrina has destroyed the city of New Orleans, and the Black community were left to deal with the aftermath alone. On the bus ride there, Taylor sits next to Melody, who is friendly and outgoing, and already knows Taylor’s basketball stats off by heart.
I really enjoyed this coming out tale. The story is told from Taylor’s point of view as she struggles with her internal conflict about her sexuality. She is worried about being judged for being gay, that her family, friends and teammates will disown her. That if she goes public about her sexuality, she will be subject to cruel rumours and that it will affect her chances to join the WNBA. She also hasn’t been honest with herself — she refuses to believe that she could be gay or what that future might look like. Or even accept the possibility that maybe, things wouldn’t be as bad as she believes.
I’d always wondered what kind of girl I would date if I could. But I never acted on those yearnings; I was too afraid of being alienated for being gay. I listened to conversations some of my teammates had with each other about what people said about them, the kinds of rumours that spread once people found out they were gay. Half the time they laughed it off because of how ridiculous they were, but I was mortified at the thought of people talking about me in that way.
Throughout the story, Taylor’s concerns affect her life more and more — and ultimately the message is about acceptance and being true to yourself. While this story is only short, it has a big impact and I think it’s one that a lot of people will be able to relate to.
In addition, I really liked that the chapters are all basketball themed (Chapter One is called Pregame, Chapter Two is Second Quarter, and so on). There are also sketches and poetry at the start of each chapter which add a nice extra touch to the story.