By Lucy Sutcliffe
Release Date: 24th June 2016
Girl Hearts Girl is the open hearted and easily readable memoir from YouTuber, Lucy Sutcliffe. Charting her journey of self-discovery from bookish little girl to confident film editor, the book is a story of overcoming anxiety and breaking down society's heteronormative views to find the girl she is at heart. Funny, inspiring and uplifting, Lucy’s candid introspection is the perfect book to share with anyone questioning their sexuality or wanting to gain some perspective on a life that doesn’t fit into the mainstream girl meets Prince Charming narrative.
Sutcliffe's debut memoir is a personal and moving coming out story. In 2010, at seventeen, Lucy Sutcliffe began an online friendship with Kaelyn, from Michigan. They began a long distance relationship, finally meeting in 2011. Lucy's video montage of their first week spent together was the first in a series of vlogs documenting their long-distance relationship. Funny, tender and candid, the films attracted them a vast online following. Now, for the first time, Lucy's writing about the incredible personal journey she's been on.
I very much enjoyed reading Girl Hearts Girl – as a fellow queer girl, growing up in rural Oxfordshire, I related so much to Lucy’s story. It makes me so happy knowing girls who follow Lucy will have this book available to them to see they aren’t alone. The first time I heard of Lucy Sutcliffe was when Diva Magazine reported on a meet up she and Kaelyn had organised for queer women in London. It was the first time it had occurred to me to check out YouTube to hear directly from real women out in the world, living their life and celebrating their loves openly. Girl Hearts Girl is the perfect book to check out for anyone curious about how she got to that place of living out, open and proud, and sharing glimpses of her life with fans around the world.
The book begins with stories from Lucy’s experiences being the self-proclaimed quiet, bookish weird girl at her Primary School who struggled with anxiety and making friends. She idolised young female protagonists in books such as Little Women, Pippi Longstocking, and Hermione in Harry Potter. Wallpapering her wardrobe in magazine clippings of Emma Watson, she experienced crushes on actresses whilst internalising Hermione’s determination and desire to achieve well academically and stand up for her self worth as a young, intelligent and fiercely independent young woman. Girl Hearts Girl speaks directly to anyone who struggled to join in a conversation with their friends at school because the gender of their celebrity crushes doesn’t match up with the topic (or boyband) of the day.
As Lucy begins to realise she is gay at age fourteen, the book moves along to her internal struggle to define her sense of self, attempting to find a label so she knew where she belonged, despite not being ready to claim that label out loud, nor fully ready to embrace her identity fully. It’s a great exploration of evolving ideas of sexuality, both allowing you to proclaim yourself and giving the reader (and Lucy’s past self) the space to try ideas on and cast them away if they don’t quite work. Being honest is a process, and there’s no end point. Embrace the journey and you’ll find your way. It's a strong case for the continued need for coming out stories, to help young people feel their own way along the path. The process is ongoing and changeable.
But there’s no rush to this discovery – as Lucy explores through her memories of three years of self-denial to her decision at the end of Sixth form to finally come out to friends and family, it takes time to get to a place of comfort with self proclaiming something as intimate as desire and love, or something as integral to who you are as a person.
Lucy also candidly discusses the negative mental health effects of keeping some integral part of yourself a secret out of fear. The constant nagging feeling of lying to those closest to you, even if you know you aren’t yet ready to come out. The worry that you’re different, weird, an outcast, just waiting to be discovered amidst the terrible clashing ground of school personalities. Lucy’s honesty in this respect is very relatable and reinforces the point that even those most out and proud still experienced the struggles of self-acceptance we all go through. Her advocacy of CBT and therapy groups in university is particularly relevant to teens and young adults finding their feet in the pressures of today. Rejecting toxic friendships and finding friends who love and accept you is so important, and that applies to everyone but particularly LGBTQ* youth who may experience alienation and bullying as well as their own struggles.
Lucy’s relationship with her American girlfriend Kaelyn is also a large focus in the latter parts of the book, as she embraces her sexuality and reaches out through tumblr to someone she sees to be going through similar experiences. This incredibly brave step led to a long lasting long distance relationship that has inspired young women around the world. Their story is sweet, fun, real, and honest, and by choosing to share their love with the public in this small but important way, they've changed lives.
I think Girl Hearts Girl is the perfect book to give to any young teen wanting to think about the world in all the many shades of the rainbow, however they identify.
Co-star of the popular YouTube channel Kaelyn and Lucy which documented the long distance relationship she had with Kaelyn Petras. She and Kaelyn finally came together in August of 2014, ending the long distance element of their relationship. She graduated from Plymouth College of Art and Design in 2014 with a degree in Film Arts. She works as a freelance film editor and author. She and Kaelyn's channel mainly focuses on advice videos for LGBT youth.
Find Lucy on Twitter at @LucyLiz and on YouTube
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE.
There is a tour-wide giveaway! 3 copies of Girl Hearts Girl for 3 lucky winners! Participants must live in UK or IRL
Follow the link to enter: GIVEAWAY