“Transgender author Agnes Borinsky deftly explores gender identity and queer romance in this heart-wrenchingly honest debut novel.”
I would like to thank my friend Ocean for putting this book (and so many others) on my radar!
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About the Book
by Agnes Borinsky
Published 10 November 2020
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
Genre: LGBTQIA+ YA Contemporary
Page Count: 256
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Transgender author Agnes Borinsky deftly explores gender identity and queer romance in this heart-wrenchingly honest debut novel.
Alex feels like he is in the wrong body. His skin feels strange against his bones. And then comes Tracy, who thinks he’s adorably awkward, who wants to kiss him, who makes him feel like a Real Boy. But it is not quite enough. Something is missing.
As Alex grapples with his identity, he finds himself trying on dresses and swiping on lipstick in the quiet of his bedroom. He meets Andre, a gay boy who is beautiful and unafraid to be who he is. Slowly, Alex begins to realize: maybe his name isn’t Alex at all. Maybe it’s Sasha Masha.
My Rating: 4 Stars
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Short and sweat, this book is a brief look into the very beginning of a trans teen’s identity “ah ha!” moment. It feels real and genuine and I liked all the characters, but it also felt over too quickly. Self-discovery is the name of the game in this one, but there’s so much build-up to Sasha coming out to their parents and we don’t really get a payoff on that. (And I’ve chosen to go with they/them/their because he/him/his and deadname are used throughout the book but Sasha is clearly discovering an identity that isn’t masculine. We don’t *quite* get to the establishment of a new Sasha, so it’s unclear what pronouns Sasha will end up using, but I’m very tempted to go she/her/hers.)
This is an important story to tell and Agnes is a strong writer, but I don’t feel like this book starts or stops at the right points, and I really wanted to understand Sasha’s new identity before we parted.
Looking for more review content? Check out my review of This Golden Flame which features ace, gay, and non-binary representation.
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