Note* Don't ever write a review until you are 100% done. I have just arrived at the Carrie moment at 82%.
I forgot also to say how completely terrorized and tense I was as I read this, hoping nothing else bad happened to the main character.
Every book review I write cannot but help to show who I am, and how I react to the message, theme, meaning from reading a story by an author. So. Everything I write here is entirely subjective and based on my perspective of a privileged white male growing up in an affluent, northern, homogenous area. I know less than ten gay people and zero transgender. How timely it was that I would read this book now, when gray faced politicians debate what bathrooms a transgender may use. It irritates so much I would like to reach out to these people who are miserable with the gender shown on their birth certificate and feel so strongly that there's been some mistake. For every idiot who puts them down I would like a hundred people who would lift them up and welcome them to Life.
This story of Amanda, born Andrew, moving to live with her father in a different city because she was terrorized by shitheads where she had lived, where she had been taunted and beaten up really touched me. I know little about the reality of switching one's gender and I hope I don't put my foot in it trying to write this review.
This story felt very real to me, at the same time some of the characters our Amanda runs into with her new life seem too good to be true and I couldn't help but wonder if most of the positive treatment she received was based on her own attractiveness. Even with massive doubts and fears she succeeds with fellow students and parents. No matter. I was glad that at least in fiction this can happen though I am concerned with the percentages of real life.
This is one of the few books that has frequent time rips that didn't mess me up. The story is able to tell itself even with the non-linear method the author has chosen to use. How could she not? The full story of the pre-op life of Andrew would be gut wrenching. But the story of her relationship with her mother who was so supportive, as opposed to her father who had seemed to require a couple of shots to even talk about it, was amazing. What are the percentages of real life, 2016 in a pre-Trump U.S.A.? The mother's line of "You ain't sick, hon. That's joy." after they discussed the application of make-up and why Amanda felt suddenly "floaty and light-headed" was powerful stuff.
Loved the story and the characters. The author writes well and I think this is her first book. Maybe too good to be true but the author would know this better than I. I wish I ran into transgender people and could let them know I am very much for them, and their happiness.