Body hair, biology, and boyhood are dissected and demystified in this guide to pubescence.
As the XY follow-up to her XX exposé into what makes a preteen body tick, neuroscientist and actress Bialik (Girling Up, 2017, etc.) lends her scientific and maternal expertise to anyone fumbling through the boy-to–young man process. Replacing mystery and misunderstanding with science (proteins, chemicals, and hormones, oh my) the book scrutinizes the human body’s pubescent evolution. This is a pragmatic and relatable tool for understanding how, why, and what you’re chemically wired for, from hair growth to attention span, and it’s careful to note that generalizations are guides not rules. In other words, there’s no “right” time for the P word to kick in. What’s happening to girls (breasts, ovaries, height) on the puberty periphery is also discussed, as is gender identity. (Of note: a global map of countries recognizing more than two genders.) Merging research with experience raising two young boys, the result avoids a myopic point of view by peppering pages with lighthearted line drawings and sidebars with firsthand accounts from anonymous men. Bialik assures readers that we all figure out this hormonal playground called our body: In other words, when it comes to puberty, you’ve got this. Knowing where to sit at lunch when you get to high school? That’s another book entirely.
A matter-of-fact mirror that reflects reality and respect, not bewildered embarrassment. (Nonfiction. 9-15)