They say that whoever you are it’s okay, you were born that way. Those words don’t comfort Emily, because she was born Christopher and her insides know that her outsides are all wrong.
Firstly, this is a weird coincidence because my name is Emily, and if I had been born a boy I would have been called Christopher. XD
Secondly, this was a tender, sensitive portrayal of a transgender teen, and a well-written coming out story. I cried a few times, and I smiled. I actually read this in about two and a half hours, not counting the first few pages, if that's any indication of how much I enjoyed the book.
Most of the book is written in first person from Emily/Chris's point of view, with occasional chapters from the third person point of view of Emily's girlfriend, Claire. This was an interesting arrangement, and it wasn't at all confusing. I liked getting insights into how Claire was feeling at what must have been a very confusing time for her. I didn't exactly enjoy all of the religious references and stuff in her sections, but I understand that's part of her character. I also liked how honest
it was about the fact she was disgusted and struggling, but also how she worked passed that.
Emily is a believable character. She just felt very real and relatable, especially the way she was struggling with her identity. I think any teenager, transgender or not, could relate to that. I also like how some of the more extreme effects of dysphoria were portrayed too, but not so much that the whole book felt angsty and over-dramatic. I think Rachel Gold hit a good balance, there.
I also like the fact that Emily's father is more supportive than her mother. Usually it seems the be the other way around, so I liked this aspect.
Claire standing with her was a nice surprise too. I was sure at first that they were going to break up when Emily came out.
There were issues with the book, however. Some of the paragraphs, especially towards the beginning of the novel, felt clumsy and info-dumpy. This is also true of the sections where certain aspects of the transgender experience had to be explained (particularly relating to the gender binary). I understand that these things have to be explained, as not everyone will have knowledge about these things, but I think it could have been done in a better way.
Also, the ending of the book was too abrupt. Most of the conflict ended up being resolved with a couple of lines in the epilogue, and I felt a little bit cheated by this. I wanted to know more
. This is the primary reason why the book is only getting four stars and not five.
All in all, however, this was a great book. I would recommend it to anyone wanting an honest and touching account of what it's like to be transgender, whether they are questioning their own gender identity or not. :)