Nina was Maya’s best friend, the most important person in her life – with her brothers –, until they slept together one drunken night in their last year of college. Nina, a supposedly straight girl, had complained about a bad experience with a woman (it’s college, right?) and Maya had offered to show her how it’s done. Maya had feelings for Nina, but never told her. Nina had feelings too but didn’t acknowledge them, not even to herself. What she felt that night terrified her to the point that she hurt Maya badly the next day. She immediately regretted it and tried hard for two years to maintain some sort of relationship between them. Maya went along, albeit reluctantly. Now, two years later, Nina is getting married to a man and Maya has agreed to be her bridesmaid, hoping it (i.e. the pain of it all) will help her to finally move on, while Nina is hoping to get her best friend back.
I’ve been struggling with this review for a couple of days and I think it’s because the things I loved about this story are mostly small, intangible things. I loved the characters, I loved Maya’s determination and sensitivity, I loved Nina’s journey to accept herself, I loved Rachel’s (Nina’s maid of honor and her loud and proud lesbian cousin) brashness, I loved everything about Maya’s brothers and the family dynamics, I loved Drew’s (Nina’s fiancé) confusion, I loved hating Nina’s horrifyingly shallow and bigoted mother and I loved that Nina’s first act of rebellion was choosing Rachel, her mother’s despised niece, and Maya, a black woman, both lesbians, as her bridesmaids. I also loved the interaction between Rachel and Nina, and between Rachel and Maya. The three of them together make the best scenes. Their lunch together when they first reunite is one of these, my heart was breaking for Maya and Nina, it was so awkward and sad.
The whole story is excellent and heartwarming. I also found myself smiling unexpectedly quite a few times, and it all felt very natural. I loved that the angst never felt forced, I loved the doubts and the will to trust, I loved the humour and witty dialogue even in dark and deep moments. And I think most of all, I loved loved loved Rachel, she’s someone you’d be lucky to have in your corner.
Big Girl Pill can be pre-ordered already, and will be released on December 3rd.