Thursday 26 March 2015

REVIEW: A Boy Like Me by Jennie Wood

Bookish Details:
Pages: 267 (Paperback)
Publisher: 215 Ink
Release Date: September 4th 2014
Source: Received by publisher in exchange for honest review
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK

Born a girl, Peyton Honeycutt meets Tara Parks in the eighth grade bathroom shortly after he gets his first period. It is the best and worst day of his life. Determined to impress Tara, Peyton sets out to win her love by mastering the drums and basketball. He takes on Tara’s small-minded mother, the bully at school, and the prejudices within his conservative hometown. In the end, Peyton must accept and stand up for who he is or lose the woman he loves.

My Review:
This story was everything I wanted it to be and more. Heart-breaking, heart-warming, and completely beautiful, I know Peyton’s journey will stay with me for a long time.

I was immediately interested in reading this book. It’s not often that I come across a story in YA that follows a transgender protagonist. I hope that in the future, it won’t be uncommon to find these stories. This book comes at such a prominent time after heart-breaking stories of real-life transgender teens have been in the media.  

A Boy Like Me follows Peyton’s journey through high school as a boy trapped inside a growing woman’s body. He is confused and frustrated by emotions he can’t explain to himself. His mother wants the perfect daughter that he will never be, and their relationship falls more and more apart as the story progresses.

The relationship between Peyton and his mother is an important one. Reading it, you can’t help but feel desperate for him to get the acceptance he deserves from her, but it’s also a good way to show that he can be stronger and overcome it.

The scenes Peyton shared with his uncle RB added some well-needed warmth to the story. He was so supportive throughout and was one of the few characters that made sure Peyton knew he was loved regardless. 

The relationship with Tara was beautifully written. This was also a new and confusing journey for her, and I loved how believable she was. She truly cared about Peyton and wanted him to be happy, and she was willing to learn how to make that happen.

The scene in which Peyton first learns about the term ‘transgender’ was both beautiful and heart-wrenching to read. It helps us to understand a little bit about what going through that sort of situation must be like, knowing that after feeling so much isolation he’s not alone and there are other people out there just like him.

What I really love about this story is how genuine it is. It doesn’t feel like the author is simply force-feeding information about transgender issues to the reader. It takes you on a boy’s personal journey and allows you to feel as though you are living alongside it, being a part of it and observing everything. It gives us a glimpse into what life must be like for someone who feels they don’t belong in the clothes they’re expected to wear, someone who feels like their own reflection is a stranger. Most importantly, it teaches us to accept who we are, and not to judge others for how they see themselves.  

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