Rick's never questioned much. He's gone along with his best friend, Jeff, even when Jeff's acted like a bully and a jerk. He's let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn't given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out.
But now Rick's gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school's Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that . . . understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones.
As they did in their groundbreaking novel George, in Rick, award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world . . . and all the steps you and the people around you need to take in order to get where you need to be.
In this standalone companion to Gino's George, 11-year-old Rick grapples with his identity while navigating shifting relationships and learning about allyship. Now that he's starting middle school, it seems that everyone expects Rick to "turn into some sort of hormonal beast," but he worries that he's never had a crush. Though he hopes that the Rainbow Spectrum, "an after-school club for LGBTQIAP+ rights," might provide answers, he hides his interest from his best friend Jeff, a homophobic bully. As Rick begins to find words that describe his orientation asexual, aromantic he bonds with his fellow club members and is forced to consider his friendship with Jeff, whose bullying exempts Rick but not his new friends, among them Melissa, the star of Gino's debut novel. In addition to feeling accepted by his club peers, he begins conversations with family about his identity, but it's his deepening relationship with his Grandpa Ray, who loves cosplay, that provides Rick the safe space to be himself. Bonding first over a science fiction program, the two find that their connection spans beyond the screen, further highlighting the power of authenticity and acceptance. Through the Rainbow Spectrum, readers are introduced to a wide range of identities and pronouns. Ages 8 12.
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