Friday, July 8, 2011

The Sweet In-Between by Sheri Reynolds

Kenny (Kendra) is a gender-variant teen who learns to trust that ze is loved and welcome in the family where ze has lived in the years since hir mother died and hir father was imprisoned. Kenny disguises hir body and never uses the bathroom at school. Hir self-loathing is heartbreaking. After a friend confides that she'll pray for hir, even though Kenny's lifestyle goes against her personal beliefs, Kenny doesn't know what to say.

"I kick along the beach and think about my lifestyle. I didn't know I had one, and truth be told, I sort of thought you had to be eighteen to qualify. I'm surprised that Wendy doesn't agree with my lifestyle, because that implies I've chosen to live a certain way when I haven't really chosen anything at all."

My heart went out to Kenny, who always tries so very hard. If you enjoy coming of age stories about young people overcoming difficult situations, I recommend this. It's too bad that the cover photo on the edition I read has got nothing to do with Kenny, who would never have been caught wearing a dress.

Readalikes (none of which are about trans people): Rose of No Man's Land by Michelle Tea; Breathing Underwater by Lu Vickers; Someday this Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron

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