Published on February 2, 2016 by Balzer + Bray
[This book was given to me by the Publisher, this in no way affected my opinion.]
The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?After about three days without picking up any book I threw my January TBR out of the widow and picked up this tittle on an impulse and boy am I glad I did that. This book captivated me since the first chapter and I ended up reading it on two sittings, it's a necessary story to be out there and I'm so glad more books are focusing not only on the gender/sexual normative ways, this being on the YA section is definitely a victory to society because teens need to be aware of the world surrounding them and fiction always has its way of touching us more than an informative piece.
Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.
On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.
The thing that I most enjoyed about this story is that while it shows the bad things that can happen to someone that doesn't fit on the "normal" box of our society, it is still not a "issue" book, it manages to have a light tone, at least for the most part of it, and to show how there is a way to be accepted and have a supportive network of friends, family and therapy. I can't stress how important it's to have stories like this out there, because this set an example to other teenagers, parents, educators that may find themselves in situations like this and don't know how to react to it, well now I can just shove this book on their hands and tell them to read it.
I would have liked a bit more of feels and a little bit less of the informative because I'm a very character driven reader, but I think that this is more of a personal thing since a lot of the informative stuff will be necessary to people that have never read on the topic of gender fluid. Sometimes things also go a little bit more on the cheesy side than I like on my stories, but again that is a personal peeve and not something that I think will bother most readers.
Overall this was a great book, I'm always in for books that represent diversity but this one got super bonus point for having a set of characters so amazing, I loved the friendships, the family presence and even the minor romance, how the fact that there is a psychiatrist that is actually very present on the story and the show that therapy is medication is something necessary at times, and the hopeful tone that this ones gives. Super recommended to everyone, especially for lovers of coming of age stories, teenagers and people that work with teens.