Angela always knew there was something different about herself. When she realizes she’s really Adam, his whole life changes in ways he never expected.
Adam comes out to his family during a vacation to Assateague Island. While he’s trying to explain to his parents that he’s not Angela anymore, they leave him there with the rest of his family. His aunt and uncle take him in to live with them and his cousin, Seth.
Over the course of that summer, he also begins a relationship with his cousin’s best friend, Blaine, a boy he’s had a crush on for years. With the support of his extended family and Blaine, Adam embarks on the drastic changes he must undergo to be the person he always felt he was inside.
I’m torn on the review of this book. I applaud the authors on their tackling the subject of a teen coming to the realization he’s trans and the results that come from it. But the issues with the story itself made it impossible for me to put it above 3 stars.
In the first chapter we meet Angela. She isn’t comfortable with how much her mom tries to make her into a girly type of girl and it’s obvious her mother just keeps pushing her that way. Angela doesn’t know why she’s not like other girls until she’s watching a gender video in a sex ed class and the truth runs into her like a semi truck. The reason Angela doesn’t feel right is because she is a he. Angela is Adam. While the buildup was nice and I appreciated seeing Angela’s realization, the whole thing felt manufactured. He saw the truth of the matter, accepted it, and didn’t seem to have any emotional issues with it. We find out later, that for months Adam researched trans and learned a lot. But that first chapter made it feel like there were no psychological worries that came from him learning the truth. Not for him necessarily, but in how people will react to his new reality.
Having gone through ‘a-ha’ moments, I can understand the instant recognition and acceptance of the fact, but I would have expected Adam to have gone through a little stress in getting ready to tell his folks and family – and we saw none of that. Just that he didn’t think anyone would have a problem with it.
The rest of the characters I struggled with. They were all stereotypes. Adam’s cousin Seth is the *straight guy who doesn’t communicate, thinks one girl is as good as another, and makes comments like ‘you’re just a girl’.* Adam’s best friend Heidi is the *straight blonde bimbo cheerleader*. A couple mentions are made that she is more than that, but we are shown the blonde bimbo – she’s even referred to as a blonde bimbo. And the other cheerleaders can only talk about how cute Adam, his boyfriend Blaine, and Seth are – like they don’t have a brain in their heads. Those stereotypes drove me a bit batty. But Blaine, who is supposedly a 16 year old boy, came across as more of a college-aged man. He was much more advanced emotionally than a teenager. And, beyond that and his support of Adam, I never felt like I got to know Blaine. We know he has issues from his parents and while that idea came up, he always pushed those emotions away, so it felt like we were getting to know a self Blaine wanted us to get to know rather than getting to know Blaine himself.
One issue I had was that Seth, through the book, made it known he was trying to be a better human being and it would be helpful if his friends didn’t keep reminding him of the idiot he used to be. Now, realize he’s dealing with having a new ‘brother’ since Adam now lives with his family and everyone is bending over backward to make sure Adam feels comfortable as Adam and to make sure they do not refer to him or treat him as Angela. Seth does too. And yet, they respond to Seth’s request with a “well, we’ve known you as that ‘idiot’ guy forever, so it’s gonna take a long time for us to forget.” If I was Seth, I would end up getting annoyed. If they can bend to the new Adam even though they’ve known him as Angela all his life, why can’t they bend to the new Seth?
Finally, the ending didn’t feel like an ending. It felt more like the liftoff to the next part of a serial. I don’t know if that is planned, but it felt like it –as though we’ve gone from A to B, started C and then it just stopped.