CONTINENTAL DIVIDE by Alex Myers

CONTINENTAL DIVIDE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

On the outs with his family, a young transgender man makes his way west to discover what masculinity means to him.

Ron Bancroft has always felt like a boy—his former life as "Veronica," a tomboyish basketball star, never felt right. But when he comes out to his parents, they refuse to contribute to his education at Harvard, and he's forced to withdraw from school in order to establish financial independence. Adrift from his family and ex-girlfriend, Ron travels from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Cody, Wyoming, where he chances into work on a ranch. "I was out West," Ron thinks early in the novel. "The land of the rugged individual. The land where you got a chance to prove what you were really made of. The land where men were men, or they got the hell out of town." Set in the early 1990s, Ron's journey to self-acceptance simmers with fear of discovery in the rural west. He shimmies in and out of a compression shirt, takes pains to shower when no one else is in the bunkhouse, and—against his better judgment—falls for outspoken Cassie, a horse wrangler and co-owner of the ranch with her brother Gus. When Ron is outed by Cassie's malicious younger brother, Marc, he's fired and set adrift once more, this time with a target on his back. Myers (Revolutionary, 2014) has written a compelling coming-of-age novel even as he occasionally veers into more pedantic territory. "I don't want being transgender to limit what I can do and where I can go," Ron writes in an application for financial assistance for LGBTQ teens. "I have to stand up and live as who I am, with the expectation that people will treat me decently." With care, patience, and courage, Ron mends relationships new and old, ultimately coming to find a home in himself and his chosen family.

A moving meditation on fear, masculinity, and the power of coming out.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-60801-169-8
Page count: 280pp
Publisher: UNO Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2019