A trans girl artist goes on a road trip with her fat best friend and publicly dresses as her true self for the first time.
Jess (Jeremy to Jess' dad) and Christophe (Chunk to Jess) are on their way to the wedding of Jess' estranged dad. Thanks to her father’s transphobia, Jess has been on hormones for only the seven months since she turned 18, and she's worried about passing. As they drive from liberal San Jose through places about which Jess has only fearful stereotypes, she seesaws from euphoria at the freedom of living openly to utter terror. Does she have visible stubble? Will she be murdered in a gas-station toilet? Jess realizes slowly that there are trans and trans-friendly people all over the U.S. She realizes even more slowly that—regardless of her own gender—she can behave in some pretty rotten ways to her loved ones. Jess' personal growth comes slowly, and she treats her overwhelmingly considerate best friend in fatphobic ways he clearly loathes. At the moment of truth an out-of-the-blue epiphany provides a happy ending. Written by the mother of a trans woman, the narrative appears at times to be more a vehicle for communicating the essential humanity of trans people than a fully developed story; both Jess and Christophe appear to be white by default.
Well-meaning and timely but not as strong as Meredith Russo’s If I Was Your Girl and Brie Spangler’s Beast (both 2016). (Fiction. 12-16)