Publisher/Date: Lulu.com, Dec. 2008
Genre(s): Coming of Age, Romance, Contemporary Fiction
A woman’s appearance doesn’t define her sexuality, so dressing like a boy shouldn’t make you a lesbian, at least that’s what Francis “Frankie” Livingston believes as she struggles with her imposed identity in TRUTH DISGUISED by first-time author Quandi.
Tell that to her family and friends. They think her tomboy attire, the fact that she’s never really had a boyfriend, and masculine demeanor are signs that she loves the ladies. Frankie hears it from her mother, who boisterously disapproves of her daughter being gay because of her own demons, and from her all-boy circle of friends that accept her but wonder out loud if she likes boys or girls. Only her father and girly twin sister, Arianna, support her no matter what or whom she chooses.
That’s the thing, though. Frankie doesn’t know what she wants. She’s always felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body, but can’t say for sure that means she’s a lesbian. When her dormmate, Tasha, becomes an admirer, Frankie pursues this flirtation with reservations. She’s intrigued at being with a woman, and gives Tasha the relationship she wants, but secretly, Frankie has always held an attraction to her best friend, Maurice.
This confusion has been a life-long burden for Frankie, haunted by whom she should be and whom she should love. Society tells her one thing, but her head tells her another. It’s when serious issues arise with her family that she realizes her heart is the only thing she should listen to.
In Truth Disguised, Quandi has created an appealing heroine in conflicted Frankie. Her protagonist’s journey is enhanced by fully-fleshed supporting characters, like her parents, sister and four homeboys. Also, the “don’t judge a book by its cover” message isn’t forced on the reader. It’s only the grammatical errors that take away from the plot. I was a little sad at the ending, but it’s an eye opener for sure. A book for teens and questioning women alike, Truth Disguised proves appearances aren’t everything.
Reviewed November 2009