“Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before” by Karelia Stetz-Waters


Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before, by Karelia Stetz-Waters, is a coming of age story full sex, religion, and politics. It’s 1989 and 15-year-old Triinu guards herself against high school tormentors by abandoning her BFF and dressing Goth–after her head is turned by a fierce senior girl named Deidre. As the years progress, Deidre isn’t the only girl that catches Triinu’s eye. Ursula…Ava…. are they friends or something more?

Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before is also a scary flashback to the underside of the 1990s. No cellphones, no texting, no Glee, and proposed laws on the  ballot like Oregon’s Measure 9 that would have made it illegal for LGBTQ people to be publically employed. A gay teacher for example, could be fired. If Measure 9 had passed Oregon schools would have had to establish atmospheres that condemned homosexuality.

Reading Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before made me realize how clueless I was in high school about the need for gay rights. Thankfully teenagers today are a lot smarter. I bet they would enjoy this unique YA literary novel that takes a hard look at the past.

The only negative comment/observation I have is that the cover could have been a whole lot better because it doesn’t convey what the book is about. If I had been the artist, I would have put a Goth girl on the front along with a political button from 1992.