About the book:
Gabe was born Elizabeth, but recently decided to honor his true self and has been living his life as a boy. Gabe’s parents have a difficult time accepting Gabe as he is and he hesitates to share his secret with the world, but he is hosting a successful community radio show called Beautiful Music for Ugly children as Gabe. It is only a matter of time before his fans learn his secret, and Gabe is both exhilarated and terrified at the prospect of living authentically out in the open. He struggles with romantic feelings for his best friend Paige and confides in his neighbor and musical mentor, John. When the truth about Gabe’s identity comes to light, not everybody is accepting as Paige and John and violence threatens Gabe’s newfound freedom.
Miss Riki’s Review:
While this story is ostensibly about a transgendered teen, it really excels in its exploration of relationships. There’s the incredible relationship that Gabe has with himself, struggling to reconcile his true identity with the body he was born in. Then there’s the relationship between Gabe and his parents, where Gabe feels like he doesn’t deserve to be loved, and although they struggle with seeing Gabe as a boy, his parents love him anyway.
Then there are the friendships in Gabe’s life. His relationship with his best friend Paige is tumultuous as he entertains his romantic feelings for her and she struggles to define the friendship they have. And last but certainly not least is Gabe’s relation ship with his mentor and neighbor John, which is perhaps the most intriguing one in the novel. Each of these relationships is so well written and explored fully, making this an incredibly engaging and complex novel.
The book doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of what can happen when someone doesn’t understand, and thus fears the decision that Gabe has made to live as a boy. The violence in this novel is heartbreaking, but Gabe faces it with courage. Seeing the way his friends and the community rally around him is life affirming and beautiful.
Set against a backdrop of incredible music, this novel does a wonderful job of exploring all the different facets of the transgender experience and how they affect the relationships in our lives, both with our friends and family as well as ourselves.