I have been intrigued with Over the Rainbow ever since I heard about its Kickstarter campaign and helped back it...and now that I've read it, I have to say that it was pretty amazing, and I am definitely proud to have helped Brian Rowe get Zippy's story out into the world. Not only did this story broach the subject of homophobia and the heinous idea that someone can be "straightened out" as Zippy's dad put it, it also just told a wonderful story about overcoming obstacles, adversity, and finding the one you love.
I absolutely loved Over the Rainbow. The characters were wonderful, and I loved the parallels between it and the Wizard of Oz. Zippy's friends were all clearly in homage to the group that Dorothy has with her in. Frankie = Scarecrow, Mr. Balm = The Tinman, Elle = The Cowardly Lion, Judy = Toto and I also presumed that the dog alluded to the wonderful Judy Garland as well, and of course, Zippy acts as Dorothy and her father as the Wicked Witch of the West. I loved that the characters shared similarities with those in the Wizard of Oz, but I also loved that they fully became characters of their own and I loved the relationships that they all had with Zippy. I also enjoyed Zippy and Mira's relationship. I loved getting to read their email exchanges and I won't tell you if they actually meet up because that's totally a spoiler...but I will say that this book definitely does have a happy ending, so that may give you a hint about all that. ;)
Overall, I thought that Over the Rainbow was a truly wonderful story. I also appreciated Brian Rowe's efforts to get it out there! There really aren't many stories with lesbian main characters, and I may not be a lesbian myself, but I really don't think having a different sexual orientation from the narrator will hinder readers in any way, and it really shouldn't. Zippy isn't a stereotype, and she isn't defined by her sexual orientation...she's just herself, and she's trying to be happy, and to be happy she needs to be with the girl she loves, even if her father thinks the fact that she loves girls is a complete blasphemy.
Over the Rainbow is set in 1999 (for the most part, it also has several flashbacks that go further back), but I think that the different reactions to both Zippy and Frankie's sexual orientation are definitely authentic, and I like to think that we have come some way from there...and hopefully, with fantastic books like this, those that might think poorly on others based on their sexual orientation will finally see that who we love and are attracted to shouldn't be what defines us, and it really shouldn't be something that we judge each other for. We're all people who deserve to be treated with kindness, equality, and allowed the freedoms and rights that we all have been granted thanks to the people who have come before us.
I would recommend Over the Rainbow to anyone who enjoys a story that deals with overcoming obstacles to reach someone you love with the help of your friends. I also think fans of the Wizard of Oz who like quirky narrators, or people who like journeys and stories about friendship will enjoy this one. Also as I mentioned, the narrator is a lesbian in this book, so I definitely have to mention that anyone looking for interesting stories dealing with overcoming judgement and facing adversity because of sexual orientation will like this. Plus...there are dinosaurs, and some pretty trippy Alice in Wonderland-like moments, which I thought were pretty awesome. I loved it though, and I hope that you give it the chance and that you love it, too!