Category Archives: Three Rooms Press

Review: Everything Grows by Aimee Herman

Title: Everything Grows by Aimee Herman
Publisher: Three Rooms Press
Genre: Historical (’90s), Young Adult, LGBTQ
Length: 239 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Fifteen-year-old Eleanor Fromme just chopped off all of her hair. How else should she cope after hearing that her bully, James, just took his own life? When Eleanor’s English teacher suggests students write a letter to a person who would never receive it to get their feelings out, Eleanor chooses James.

With each letter she writes, Eleanor discovers more about herself, even while trying to make sense of his death. And, with the help of a unique cast of characters, Eleanor not only learns what it means to be inside a body that does not quite match what she feels on the inside, but also comes to terms with her own mother’s mental illness.

Set against a 1993-era backdrop of grunge rock and riot grrl bands, EVERYTHING GROWS depicts Eleanor’s extraordinary journey to solve the mystery within her and feel complete. Along the way, she loses and gains friends, rebuilds relationships with her family, and develops a system of support to help figure out the language of her queer identity.

Through author Aimee Herman’s exceptional storytelling, EVERYTHING GROWS reveals the value of finding community or creating it when it falls apart, while exploring the importance of forgiveness, acceptance, and learning how to live on your own terms.


Everything Grows by Aimee Herman is an introspective young adult novel.

Eleanor Fromme’s reaction to the news that her classmate who bullied her, James, committed suicide leads to unforeseen consequences. Her best friend Dara’s shocking comments serve as a catalyst to a realization that Eleanor has struggled to articulate for quite some time.  In the midst of this uncertainty, she is also still grappling with her mother Shirley’s suicide attempt and Eleanor’s fears that she will try again.  Her journey to understand herself is viewed through a class assignment in which Eleanor writes diary format letters to James.  By the end of the assignment, Eleanor has a better understanding  of herself, yet there are still layers she has yet to explore.

Eleanor’s voice is quite engaging as she ponders the shifts within herself.  Her hurt at Dara’s rejection is tempered by her unexpected friendship with new student Aggie.  Her lingering concerns about  her mother’s mental health issues are realistically depicted and rather poignant.  With her oldest sister Greta off at college, Shirley’s best friend, Flor, provides Eleanor with a steadying influence and someone to confide in as she becomes more comfortable with who she is. Meeting James’s mother, Helaine, gives Eleanor access to James’s diary where she learns she and her bully have more in common than she thought possible.

Everything Grows is a thought-provoking young adult novel that is insightful and reflective. The characters are well-developed and likable.  Aimee Herman deftly handles sensitive subject matter in a forthright and realistic manner. The novel ends on  a positive note, but Eleanor’s journey is not yet complete since she is still wrestling with other parts of her sexual identity.

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Filed under Aimee Herman, Everything Grows, Historical (90s), LGBTQ, Rated B, Review, Three Rooms Press, Young Adult

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