Starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist * YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers * ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults List * 2017 Rainbow
A sharply honest and moving debut perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ask the Passengers.
Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn't exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in über-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley's 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. And 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.
From debut author Jeff Garvin comes a powerful and uplifting portrait of a modern teen struggling with high school, relationships, and what it means to be a person.
It's the first day at a new high school, and Riley is facing typical problems, such as deciding what to wear and where to sit at lunch, and a few less common ones, such as avoiding being heckled by classmates who object to Riley's gender-nonconforming appearance. Gender-fluid Riley wakes up each morning in a different place on the male-female continuum. To be safe, Riley strives for neutrality, but that doesn't necessarily feel right. As junior year starts, Riley makes an unlikely friend, develops a crush, and encouraged by a therapist acquired after years of anxiety and secrecy led to a suicide attempt starts a blog about being gender-fluid. Despite bullying that escalates into full-on assault, Riley gains the courage to come out with help from friends, a love interest, and a support group. Readers never learn Riley's birth-assigned gender, but there's no question that Riley is a smart, funny, sharp-eyed force. Debut author Garvin clearly wants to teach his readers about gender and gender fluidity, but the knowledge he imparts buoys this rewarding story, never weighing it down. Ages 14 up.
Tears and Truth
I had my choice of books laid out before me at the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester. After casual class introductions, I realized that in my class of thirty-some students I was among the youngest ones there, and I was the only one who openly identified as being a part of the LGBTQ community. And I’ve known for nearly a decade that I was not “normal”. Seeing Riley go through what I have gone through made me want to wrap them up in my arms and protect them from any further harm. But I am so grateful to see that they got, what I am calling, the best case scenario.
Thank you for not shielding away from the truths LGBTQ youths (and adults) face. Thank you for writing a truth (even if I did cry more than once while reading).
Very moving book, changed my paradigm
This book helped me understand the world we live in, the un-accepting world I grew up in and a glimmer of hope for the future. My daughter and I read this book together. She has has been mercilessly bullied in the past and this book helped her understand she is not alone in her struggle to get by and fit in.
Read it at my library in Minnesota and was wowed. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ ppl, I loved the book and message. Peace out, my fellow HOMOsapiens