The Second Mango, by Shira Glassman (Young Adult from Prizm Books)

(From Lorena: this post is written by a friend of mine, who just had her first book published. She did not pay or bribe me to publish her post, I did it because she’s a neat person and my friend. I’m sorry that WordPress is being difficult and not letting me upload the cover graphic, because I really like it.)

Queen Shulamit never expected to inherit the throne of the tropical land of Perach so young. At twenty, grief-stricken and fatherless, she’s also coping with being the only lesbian she knows after her sweetheart ran off for an unknown reason. Not to mention, she’s the victim of severe digestive problems that everybody think she’s faking. When she meets Rivka, an athletic and assertive warrior from the north who wears a mask and pretends to be a man, she finds the source of strength she needs so desperately.

Unfortunately for her, Rivka is straight, but that’s okay — Shulamit needs a surrogate big sister just as much as she needs a girlfriend. Especially if the warrior’s willing to take her around the kingdom on the back of her dragon in search of other women who might be open to same-sex romance. The real world outside the palace is full of adventure, however, and the search for a royal girlfriend quickly turns into a rescue mission when they discover a temple full of women turned to stone by an evil sorcerer.

You can buy autographed copies of the book here at Wild Iris Books, and you can find it on Amazon.com.

There were a lot of themes I wanted to explore in this story, but the most important of them is the idea of women rescuing each other and lifting each other up. I’ve read many times that the feminist answer to fairy tales is for the damsel in distress to rescue herself, and I agree, but I also wanted to see women rescuing each other–it’s not unfeminist to need rescuing from time to time, and isn’t rescuing someone else a true sign of empowerment? I also wanted to show strong platonic friendship and queer people could coexist within the same story, that our existence doesn’t threaten a friendship narrative. I wanted to write about family of choice; I wanted to write about how harmful it is when women aren’t believed when they speak about their own bodies and their own medical problems; I wanted to write about feeling isolated and learning to find your place in the world and your strength within yourself. I also really wanted to write about a dragon!

If you’re interested in reading more about the book, you can go here. Otherwise, it’s available on Amazon in print and Kindle and from the publisher’s website in lots of different eBook formats, but if you want a print copy I’d love it if you chose to do so through Wild Iris. They’re not only Florida’s only feminist bookstore, they’re an important community center and safe space.

Shira Glassman

“I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.”–Alice Walker, The Color Purple

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