Review | Girl Haven by Lilah Sturges

When seventh-grader Ash, his crush Eleanor, and their friends are transported to a girls-only imaginary world, Ash must come to terms with the fact that he may actually be a transgender girl. Full of wonder, humor, and heart, Girl Haven is the newest original story from the author of Lumberjanes.

Three years ago, Ash’s mom, Kristin, left home and never came back. Now, Ash lives in the house where Kristin grew up. All of her things are there. Her old room, her old clothes, and the shed, where she spent her childhood creating a fantasy world called Koretris.

Ash knows all about Koretris: how it’s a haven for girls, with no men or boys allowed, and filled with fanciful landscapes and creatures. When Ash’s friends decide to try going to Koretris, using one of Kristin’s spellbooks, Ash doesn’t think anything will happen. But the spell works, and Ash discovers that the world Kristin created is actually a real place, with real inhabitants and very real danger.

But if Koretris is real, why is Ash there? Everyone has always called Ash a boy. Ash uses he/him pronouns. Shouldn’t the spell have kept Ash out? And what does it mean if it let Ash in?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I found this to be such a lovely story, it opens a great narrative about gender as well as being a great adventure between four new friends. You immediately know what the themes of the story is about if you read the author’s preface, which I felt was wonderfully written.

I really enjoyed how different the characters were and how Eleanor especially worked towards being supportive and really buoy her friends up as they go on a fantasy adventure to not only answer questions but to save a special world. I can’t speak to representation or accuracy, but I really loved this story and it’s exploration of gender.

Happy reading!

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