Pop singer Hayley Kiyoko more than successfully adapts her iconic music video for the song “Girls Like Girls” in her debut novel, expanding on the characters and deepening queer themes.
Just like the music video of the same name, Girls Like Girls follows Coley, an Asian-American teen who moves into a new town in the 2000s and falls in love with her charismatic new best friend — despite the fact that said best friend has a boyfriend. As she tries to find her place in this new environment, she also has to deal with the fact that she’s falling in love in a time and place where it isn’t easy to be queer.
While this could’ve been nothing more than a vanity project from a pop star, Kiyoko is actually a great writer, especially when it comes to writing about girls liking girls. We’ve known this for a while, as she’s directed and written many of her music videos and writes her own songs — and now, she gets to show off her excellent prose in full YA novel length.
Kiyoko is able to tap deep into the heart of what makes queer women tick, what drives us, and what it is we love about other women. Her dialogue is fresh and alive, especially when it’s between queer girls.
Kiyoko is able to be a true romantic in this book, including giving her character a knight in shining armor scene. But these aren’t one-dimensional characters. They lie, they fight, they do cruel and jealous things, they’re like real people. And that’s what makes the story really shine.
Girls Like Girls is available May 30 from Wednesday Books.