THE ART OF BEING NORMAL by Lisa Williamson


Age Range: 13 - 18
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Two British transgender teens try to come to terms with their lives while facing serious bullying in their school.

Fourteen-year-old David has always known that she wants to be a girl but has kept it secret from everyone, including her family, telling only her two best friends. Fifteen-year-old Leo, on the other hand, was born with a girl’s body but has lived as a boy most of his life, with the knowledge and help of his dysfunctional, poor-side-of-town family. An attack at school leads him to transfer to David’s much-better one. Leo arrives with a reputation as a tough guy and just wants to remain alone to do his schoolwork, at which he excels, but falls for Alicia and begins dating her—until she learns that he’s biologically female. David and Leo initially come together as math tutee and tutor but slowly become friends. The two teens share their secrets, but can closeted David and outwardly, comfortably male Leo really help each other? David and Leo alternate narration chapter by chapter, the former confiding her discomfort and fear, the latter describing the sexual fireworks he feels when making out with Alicia. Williamson has worked with teens grappling with their gender identities, and she folds practical information, about hormonal therapy to freeze puberty, for instance, as well as empathy into her story.

A welcome, needed novel. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 31st, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-374-30237-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2016


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