For the first time, I felt something different from the fear of high school shame. He wanted me dead. “One of these nights,” Pip said slowly, “you’re going to go out to your car, and I’m going to be there, and nobody in this whole state is going care.”
Triinu Hoffman has to face cruelties like this every day. Shy, intellectual, and living in a rural town, she just doesn’t fit in. She does her best to hide behind her dyed hair and black wardrobe, but it’s still hard to ignore the bullying of Pip Weston and Principal Pinn. It’s even harder to ignore the allure of other girls.
As she tumbles headlong into first love and teenage independence, she realizes that the differences that make her a target are also the differences that can set her free. With everyone in town taking sides in the battle for equal rights in Oregon, Triinu must stand up for herself, learn what it is to love and have her heart broken, and become her own woman.
A lyrical story told in Triinu’s fierce and passionate voice, Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before reminds us that no love should be forbidden—especially love for yourself.
“The novel includes an ambitious mix of politics, first loves, lost friends, family, grief, cultural heritage, and identity. Readers will be rewarded with a thoughtful narrator, whose bravery shines brighter with every page, and a touching portrait of family and true friends, who shower Triinu’s bravery with love.” — Courtney Gillette of Lambda Literary.
“Karelia Stetz-Waters tells this semi-autobiographical story with humor, humility, and agility. In Triinu, readers will relate to a protagonist who is honest and honorable, visible but not risible, resolute when others are dissolute. Follow your pride and cross paths with this Oregon trailblazer. If you don’t, you won’t forgive yourself.” — Allison Fradkin of Curve Mag.