Kristin Elizabeth Clark. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-374-32472-8
Debut novelist Clark uses free verse to write a gripping story about a complex topic: the challenges of growing up transgender or genderqueer. Brendan struggles with his occasional desires to be a girl; in her own series of poems, Brendan’s devoted girlfriend, Vanessa, worries about why he is suddenly avoiding her. Meanwhile, transgendered Angel—whom Brendan meets near the teen center where Angel works—reveals her own painful journey; her intense story includes physical abuse and a hospital stay after being beaten up while working as a prostitute. Clark doesn’t stray far from central theme (the back matter includes resources and further reading) as she empathically explores what it can be like to be a transgendered teen (for example, not every transitioning character considers sex-reassignment surgery to be important). The author emphasizes that there are no simple answers for her characters, especially Brendan, who wonders if the transgendered label even fits. At the same time, through Angel, she gives her story a current of hope: “Everyone feels like a freak/ until they make up their mind/ they’re not.” Ages 12–up. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/16/2013
Release date: 10/22/2013
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-374-32473-5
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-1-250-06295-6
Prebound-Glued - 448 pages - 978-0-606-39285-3
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