1. This book surprised me. I know that sounds bad, but it really did.
I requested this book from NetGalley,and I was waiting ever so patiently to get it. A book about gender identity from Disney-Hyperion? Yes, please. Anyway, the synopsis I saw caught me, and the story had me reading all night last night and all day today. Grayson is an amazing character. He is an orphan, living with his aunt and uncle, and in sixth grade. The struggles he goes through are struggles that grown people go through. He is able to recognize these things about himself in sixth grade. Go, Grayson, go!
2. There is an inspiring teacher, and I love inspiring teachers, since I happen to be a teacher. I hope to be this inspiring one day.
Mr. Finnegan is the best teacher I have seen in literature in a long time. He is not afraid of who he is, and he supports Grayson in becoming who he is meant to be. Grayson tries out for the school play about the Greek goddess Persephone. Instead of trying out for a male role like Zeus, he tries out for the main female role – Persephone. Instead of laughing Grayson off the stage, Mr. Finnegan supports him, while warning him of the repercussions. Grayson is a lonely boy, and he is finally involving himself in something, so Mr. Finnegan (the kids call him Finn) refuses to dim the spark in him. He’s amazing.
3. The theme of discovering who you are and being brave are in the forefront here, which most adults refuse to do.
Grayson is himself without apologies. He is an incredible character who I wish I was friends with. Personally knowing someone with this type of gender identity issue, I thought the things he goes through are horrible and beautiful and poignant. He struggles with how a “boy should act,” dressing “like a boy,” and which bathroom he should use. He consistently tries to hide himself, and theatre is his escape. Haven’t we all been there?
4. The writing is gorgeous and engrossing.
I’ll be honest: I don’t much like young protagonists like Grayson. I usually enjoy a character who is more mature. However, Grayson’s struggles make him so relateable and he seems much older than his sixth grade age suggests. He is incredible, and he is my hero. There are many people in the world struggling the same way he is, but do they all possess his bravery? That answer is no.
OVERALL: 5 STARS! This book is all about bravery and love and accepting yourself, regardless of what everyone else thinks. Grayson is unforgiving and he is accepting and he is perfect…or should I say, she? Of course bullying happens, but he gets by with a little help from his friends. I would not hesitate to use this book as a bibliotherapy title and I cannot tell you how much I loved this.