Publisher/Date: iUniverse, Inc., June 2005
A girl comes of age and acknowledges her sexuality in Toy Styles’ debut novel, RAINBOW HEART: YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER WHAT THE HEART DECIDES. This saga stars Evelyn Kelly, and her quest to love herself enough to be who she is.
At the novel’s start, Evelyn is 13 years old. Her world revolves around her crew that includes younger sister Tammy and friends Kiesha, Tiffany, and May. The girls share their lives and troubles at home, always leaning on each other for support. As the fivesome grow up in their Washington, D. C. neighborhood, they each have trials of their own. Sisters Kiesha and Tiffany live with a crackhead mother, while May endures sexually abusive father. Evelyn and Tammy have the best home life, being raised by their overbearing but loving mother.
But as close as the girls are, Evelyn has always felt different. Evelyn’s not quite like the other girls, with their crushes on boys. This is evident from the first chapter as her sister teases her constantly about not having a boyfriend. She’s never had one, and doesn’t want one.
She’s only comfortable around her girlfriends, especially May. The two share a special bond that no one, even jealous sister Tammy can break. Evelyn adores May, and they have this special connection. Although she doesn’t know what it is, Evelyn feels a deeper love for her that she can’t explain. Things turn sad for them, though, when Evelyn has to move from D. C. to Texas They lose touch after a while, and she is simply heartbroken. She never stops thinking about her, even when the story fast forwards 10 years later.
At 23, Evelyn is seriously dating Antwan, or at least Antwan is serious about her. Evelyn’s not so sure she’s in love. She feels something isn’t right between them. Antwan doesn’t have a clue as he’s ready to propose marriage.
By this time, Evelyn has a new best friend and roommate, Six, who’s gay. She confesses this to her, and the two enter a secret relationship. This is enough for Evelyn to know she’s gay – and that she has to break it off with Antwan.
No better place to out yourself than your own birthday party. After her sister Tammy manages to bring all of the fivesome back to surprise her, including May, it gives a bold Evelyn the courage to announce to family and friends her true self. Does her family accept her? Will she get back with May, and what about Six…and Antwan? Evelyn doesn’t have all the answers, and author Styles plans to answer them in the next two books in this trilogy.
All in all, Rainbow Heart is a novel that keeps your attention. Toy Styles is a great storyteller, but the grammatical errors do take away from the story. But that aside, you will want to know what happens next-and to see exactly where Evelyn’s heart takes her.
Reviewed October 2005