Category Archives: Gender Fluid

Review: Quiver by Julia Watts

Title: Quiver by Julia Watts
Publisher: Three Rooms Press
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, LGBTQ , Gender Fluid
Length: 300 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Set in rural Tennessee, QUIVER, a YA novel by Julia Watts, focuses on the unlikely friendship between two teens from opposite sides of the culture wars. 

Libby is the oldest child of six, going on seven, in a family that adheres to the “quiverfull” lifestyle: strict evangelical Christians who believe that they should have as many children as God allows because children are like arrows in the quiver of “God’s righteous warriors.” Meanwhile, her new neighbor, Zo is a gender fluid teen whose feminist, socialist, vegetarian family recently relocated from the city in search of a less stressful life. Zo and hir family are as far to the left ideologically as Libby’s family is to the right, and yet Libby and Zo, who are the same age, feel a connection that leads them to friendship―a friendship that seems doomed from the start because of their families’ differences.
Through deft storytelling, built upon extraordinary character development, author Watts offers a close examination of the contemporary compartmentalization of social interactions. The tensions that spring from their families’ cultural differences reflect the pointed conflicts found in today’s society, and illuminate a path for broader consideration.


Quiver by Julia Watts is a thought-provoking young adult novel that explores fundamental Christianity and gender-fluidity.

Sixteen year old Liberty “Libby” Hazlett is the oldest of six (soon to be seven) children. Her family is part of the “Quiverfull” sect of Christianity in which birth control is eschewed, the children are home-schooled by their mother and their father rules the home with an iron fist. Libby, her siblings and her mother live an isolated, insular life although her father works in the secular world. Libby does little thinking for herself since she  is fully indoctrinated by her father’s  teachings about the sinful world outside their community. She is close to her mother who is forbidden from working outside the home yet Libby is nervous about what the future holds for her: marriage and childbearing. When new neighbors move in next door, the Hazlett family surprisingly befriends them but what effect will this outside influence  have on Libby and the rest of the family?

Zo Forrester is Libby’s age and due to both her and her brother Owen’s recent troubles and her father’s  hectic work schedule, her parents have decided a slower way of life would benefit everyone. Zo and Owen are home-schooled but their schedule is more flexible than Libby’s.  Zo and her family are quite liberal and her parents are very accepting of their daughter’s gender fluidity.  And yet, Zo and Libby form a fast friendship that easily transcends their differences.

Needless to say, the two families ideologies are so far apart that it is rather shocking they get along. However the Forrester/Hazlett friendship  comes to an abrupt end with the two extremely opinionated and vocal patriarchs clash when the two families are spending an evening together. Although they are no longer allowed to see each other,  Zo’s influence has had a surprising effect on Libby who begins questioning her long held beliefs. As her mother begins preparing her and her younger sister for courting, marriage and motherhood, Libby’s doubts about her father’s teachings grow. Her friendship with Zo is important, yet going against her father’s wishes is unthinkable. Or is it?

Quiver is an absolutely outstanding young adult novel which features a topical and provocative storyline. All of the characters are extremely well-drawn with realistic shortcomings and enviable strengths.  Julia Watts does an exemplary job with her portrayal of the Quiverfull movement.  The novel comes to an unexpected conclusion that is quite uplifting. I highly recommend this insightful novel to older teens and adult readers.


Filed under Contemporary, Gender Fluid, Julia Watts, LGBTQ, Quiver, Rated B+, Review, Three Rooms Press, Young Adult