Before she was in preschool, Jazz knew she wasn’t a boy, and she didn’t understand why no one else did. Her parents took her to meet with a well-versed therapist, who told them Jazz is transgender, and they started on a journey with no map.
Obstinate school faculty and officials soon made it clear that there was no protocol for someone like Jazz, and the family’s necessary activism began in earnest, by way of an article in the local paper. That article got the attention of producers of a national TV show, who pursued Jazz’s family until they agreed to take a leap of faith and do an interview. Jazz’s mother became involved in public speaking at conferences, and she and Jazz began their outreach and advocacy work, even starting their own organization and agreeing to do a reality show. As Jennings relates, through it all, she manages to keep it apart from her typical teenage life, replete with summer-camp experiences, cute-but-jerky boys, best friends, and ex–best friends and marked with a passion for art and mermaids. Her outlook is bright, even as she struggles with depression—hereditary and unrelated to being trans. Jazz is fearlessly up front with people about being trans, and her gender meter is pinned on GIRL, but she also touches on gender variations and carefully stresses that not all trans people are like her.
Jazz’s positivity, honesty, frank explanations, and conversational writing style make this an ideal book for trans kids to hand to worried loved ones after they’ve finished reading it. (Nonfiction. 12 & up)