This book is important. I need to say that before anything else. This book is a necessity in a core collection to depict and answer questions about the trans community. This book is not a guide, and it is not a divine book on trans lives, but it shows the importance of gender identity on the well-being of children and teens (as well as adults).
This book is about a trans girl from Tennessee. This book was written by a trans woman from Tennessee. The cover of this book has model Kira Conley, also a trans woman. If you read this book and say, “It just didn’t relate to me,” that’s probably because it wasn’t written for you, but I do hope you, as a cisgender reader, can see the value in it. Because, it might be a brave letter to the trans teen community about beauty, courage, and what you deserve, but it was written the way it was to show the cisgender reader that Amanda is a teenage girl. That is the important take away.
I am part of two camps when it comes to this book, so I will start with the super positive camp, which I have already alluded to above. This book is a treasure, and it is the most important book for someone to read if they have trouble understanding things surrounding the trans community. This will not be the end of your questions most likely, but I do hope that it makes you cautious of what you say and understand the fear and difficulties these men and women face.
Now for the literary critique: this book was not the best piece of YA literature. I would probably give it 4 stars overall. It did not have the best character development. I think that can be expected with a debut novel though. Grant, Parker, and Anna just seem to be along for the ride in this novel. I can somewhat understand that with Parker. He is a minor character at best with a big plot line, but Grant and Anna appear in almost every chapter. Grant is the typical high school swoon boy (and believe me, you’ll swoon), and Anna is the depiction of new age, teen Baptist. Neither of these characters develop in outstanding ways. It is just disappointing to see an ending that shows such grace and bravery, but it has to hastily wrap up the development of 1 main character and 1 secondary character. It does however have excellent dialogue, heart-wrenching plots, and lovable characters (even if they are undercooked at times).
This book might not be a necessary read in 10 years, but it will always be a trailblazer. This book broke barriers, made some people uncomfortable, and paved the way for trans YA literature.
For reader, No.. For everyone, GET THIS BOOK. Libraries, you need to buy it ASAP if you haven’t already, and readers need to go to their libraries to pick this up. NOW!