“J had always felt different. He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was: a boy mistakenly born as a girl. Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him; eventually J stopped praying to wake up a “real boy” and started covering up his body, keeping himself invisible — from his parents, from his friends, from the world. But after being deserted by the best friend he thought would always be by his side, J decides that he’s done hiding — it’s time to be who he really is. And this time he is determined not to give up, no matter the cost. Cris Beam delivers a powerful and inspiring story of self-discovery as readers share in J’s struggle to find his own path and to love his true self.”
326 pp; $16.99 (hardcover); ISBN: 9780316053617; OCLC: 548642110
I feel that this book has significant value for both teens and adults because it touches on themes which are commonly overlooked and typically dealt with in a trivializing and cursory fashion when represented in other works of Young Adult fiction. In other words, this story isn’t sugarcoated – it portrays realistic characters from varied backgrounds actively coping with real life situations. This is one of those books I deem as a life-changing because it not only opens your eyes, but your heart as well.
A review by School Library Journal recommended this book for grade 9 and up – while I agree, I also feel that this book could be appropriate and supportive for younger individuals due to J being transgender and navigating the choppy waters of school, and dealing with classmates as well as teachers.
I’d like to add that I was pleased to find this book on the shelf at my rural public library – I had anticipated on borrowing it from another library. When I checked the book out, I inquired about its circulation statistics – since being added to the collection in August of 2011, I was the fifth person to check out it. Not bad, but it certainly could be better.