Book Review: Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey

A book with a rainbow cover sits beside the title, Queer Book Review, Santa Olivia, by Jacqueline Carey.

Queer book review! All reviews touch on genre/plot, tropes (if any), and quality of gay content, and include spoiler and spoiler-lite versions. Check out my other book reviews! Ash | Huntress

Light Spoilers


We have a dystopian-society/lying government situation with Santa Olivia. Personally, I’m a big fan of this stuff. From The Hunger Games to 1984, I am all about it. This dystopia rests a little bit on the sci-fi side of things because we have genetically modified humans on our hands.


The protagonist–Loup (pronounced Loo)–is queer. (Unlabeled, but she dates both men and women, although attraction seems to lean toward women.) Loup is an extremely motivated badass but also kind of lost and sad. Loup forms a romantic/sexual relationship with another girl for about half of the book. The other girl definitely experiences attraction to both men and women (again unlabeled) and doesn’t exhibit any super negative bi stereotypes.

Just a heads up, the beginning of the book focuses on Loup’s parents and there is a passage of a pretty explicit hetero sex scene, but it’s bearable when offset with the wlw sex passages.

Gay Content

Sexuality is never an issue for any of the side characters, which is great especially considering that Loup is brought up in a church. (But it is implied that the pastor is in a polyamorous relationship with the two other women that run the church.)

At first, the girl that Loup is in a relationship with shows some signs of being uncomfortable with their attraction to each other, but this could be due to their friendship-to-lovers situation, and not so much about her sexuality. Also, note that the relationship is not the focus of the story. Santa Olivia is about Loup, who happens to be in love with this girl.

Spoilers Ahead

All good news ahead, folks. Although Loup and Pillar (the girlfriend) go through a stretch of separation–and you begin to seriously question the outcome of their story–we get a happy ending with them together, reunited with some good ol’ hurt/comfort angsty feels. And even when they’re apart, you understand. (You’re sad and hurt and you only have half a heart during this part of the story, but you still get that they’re just doing what’s best for each other.)

Coming Up Next

A book review for Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair, Part 6 of the “How I Met My Girlfriend” series, and a blog about Hayley Kiyoko’s concert. Let me know if you’ve read this book before or if you will be looking to read it soon!


4 thoughts on “Book Review: Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey

  1. This has been on my half-hearted TBR (maaybe I want to read it??) for ages. The premise sounds good and it’s gotten a lot of rave reviews and I still just haven’t gotten around to picking it up.


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