Monday, May 14, 2007
Angela has finally decided on her new name. Grady. Gender ambiguous and perfect. But when she lets her family know her decision, she is met with a distinct chill.
Angela had been homeschooled until she hit her sophmore year in highschool. She and Eve had been best buddies, and the fact that Angela never felt like she fit into a girl mode was not that big of a problem. Not until the uber-girliness comparisons of highschool. She had first come out as a lesbian, but that didn't feel right either. She doesn't feel like a girl who likes girls, she feels like a boy who like girls.
Imagine it. Imagine binding down your chest, chopping off your hair, buying some boys clothes. Imagine changing your whole identity...rather revealing your whole identity.
Grady is lucky in a way. He first reveals himself to classmate Sebastian. Sebastian is a geek, but has managed to be friendly with everyone. Sebastian's reaction to Grady's announcement is to exclaim, "Wow!...You're just like the stoplight parrotfish!" Not exactly the reaction Grady was expecting, but not the worst reaction either.
But all reactions to Grady are not so positive. Mean girl Danya has decided that Grady is a pervert and hatches a plan to embarass him infront of everyone. Some teachers refuse to call Grady anything but Angela. And then there are the logistics of where to go to the bathroom, and what to do with a crush.
Ellen Wittlinger has written a story about the search to fit in a world that is either male or female. Readers are forced to face their own stereotypes and opinions about gender identity. This is a book that will fill a large void in the YA lit world, and would make for an amazing classroom read (at least at the school I work in). I had a couple of problems with the way that Grady waxes poetic about Kita's ethnicity, but other than that, this is a solid novel with likable (and not so likeable) characters. You will be rooting for Grady and loving Sebastian before you know it!