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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Book Review: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Genre: YA Contemporary Coming of Age
Publication: February 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Acquisition: received an ARC at ALA Midwinter 2016

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” 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. 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 Goodreads)
4 / 5 Stars

So very good. On so many levels.

I love the way Riley is portrayed. "Am I a boy, or am I girl?" It's the question a lot of people in Riley's life ask and it's a question, I found myself asking as well. Not because it matters but more because in my misguided way, I thought I needed to know in order to understand.

I was wrong because by the end of Symptoms of Being Human Riley's gender didn't play any part in my understanding at all.

This is a powerful book and one I hope a lot of people get their hands on and devour.

For me, it was a fantastic look into the life of a gender fluid teen. A teen who has questions and is afraid, just like so many of us.

If anything, it was maybe a little too full of information? I think the story and the plot might have suffered a little because of all the information that needed to be shared.


I don't think that's a bad thing.

If you're curious about what being gender fluid means or if you have someone if your life that is gender fluid and you're looking for some insight into what they might be or have gone through, I think Symptoms of Being Human is a great book to pick up.

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