Realistic fiction is a unique genre in YA because it illustrates challenging situations you may not have personally experienced but connects you to emotions you have. Whether it's uncovering life-altering secrets, making a tough choice, coming to terms with your sexuality or finding your voice, realistic fiction addresses themes relevant to real life. To highlight some of their fantastic realistic fiction, Macmillan established their ReaLITy program. Our Teen Board decided to check out these reads and respond to them in this blog series.
Which ReaLITy Reads book did you read?
I read FREAKBOY by Kristin Elizabeth Clark.
In a couple of sentences, how would you describe this book to your friends?
FREAKBOY is a book about Brendan, a gender fluid boy, who is trying to understand his identity. The book rotates between three perspectives: Brendan, Brendan's girlfriend and Brendan's transgender friend. Each person has a different struggle connected to Brendan and/or his being transgender.
If you had to pick three words to describe the book, what would they be?
I would describe this book as unique, intriguing and emotional.
What was your favorite part?
My favorite part of this book was when Brendan finally understands who he is. I loved that he came to peace with the fact that there is no clear solution for his problem, but that is okay with him. He chooses to have a positive outlook on his gender fluidity and to take life one day at a time.
Did you have a favorite character and if so, what did you like about him/her?
My favorite character in this book was Angel, Brendan's transgender friend who works at a LGBTQ teen center. I was inspired by her because she went through a lot of difficult situations; yet, she is now living happily as a girl with friends and foster mom who support her.
What did you take away from reading it?
After reading this book, I really feel like I have more of an understanding of transgender and gender fluid people. Although I have always felt like I accept the idea of being transgender, I now feel like I am a supporter of the LGBTQ community. There is nothing weird or different about people who are transgender, and they should never be judged before you get to know them. Everyone has their own story, and it is important to understand the background of a person before deciding if you will talk to them or not. Being transgender is not something to laugh at. It is something to be accept, understand and support.
Who would you recommend it to?
I would recommend this book to all teens and adults. I think it is extremely important to understand the perspective of a transgender person so that they can be more fully accepted in the world. There are a lot of people who don't like anyone who identifies as transgender. I think a lot of that hate comes from the opposing party not understanding the idea of being transgender. This book gives people the opportunity to understand the other side.
Can't wait to read this ReaLITy Read? FREAKBOY will be on sale October 22nd.