WARNING: I'M DRINKING WINE WHILE WRITING THIS SPOILER!!!
So to start this spoiler off I'd like to say this book mostly lives up to the hype. It is diverse, it's own voices and the story is both important as well as endearing. I think that this book did the important job of appealing to both sides: people who are trans as well as cisgendered. The story was important to me because I want to gain an understanding of people who are vastly different from me, especially in the childcare field as we meet many unique individuals and families. I enjoyed the way the author brought the present and the past together in her writing to complete the picture of Amanda's life thus far. I think that while parts of the world have started to be more accepting, it's important to realize that not everywhere is. This really played into the setting and as someone who lives in a small town (not in the southern States), I saw many similarities between Lambertville and my hometown. People are slow to accept things they don't understand, even fear them, but with help, we can change that. Overall, I gave this book 4/5 stars. I think that for an author debut this was an amazing start, but there were aspects that I didn't enjoy. I didn't like the main characters waiting and waiting to tell Grant about her past, although she did try. I didn't think that she needed acceptance from a boy to be complete but I can see how she would feel this was important as it was something she had been missing out on most of her life. Also the importance of self-love! Beautiful!
Amanda: To have gone through so much at such a young age broke my heart. At 18 I had it so easy in comparison. I felt for her realizing how she felt unsafe throughout her life, feeling the need to hide, being unable to be your true self for so long, depression and life after a huge change in your life that can't be celebrated for fear of those who do not agree with your choices. I think that she was a strong female character, but her indecisiveness drove me a little crazy. I understand that this was her first serious relationship, but to give up the idea of telling someone something as soon as they look at you with "longing" eyes is a little crazy to me. Maybe I'm just old and in denial about young love, but that aspect of the book drove me a little crazy.
Grant: He seemed like a good guy overall. I don't know if he and Amanda ended up a couple by the end but at least he was willing to try and understand her. I think that the way he found out changed a lot of things for him (for example, the peer pressure of high school....). I was disappointed by his reaction to finding out, but I felt for his home life and struggle to keep his family afloat. An interesting love interest for our main character.
Bee: I wasn't surprised to realize that Chloe was right, but was disappointed that this was how the author chose to have Amanda come out. If you can even call it that if others tell your secrets before you have a chance. Not impressed with her. I hope she realized that making other people miserable doesn't change your life.
Chloe: I would be interested in a story of her life as well. Learning more about growing up in a place that didn't accept who she was and how she continued her life after the end of this story.
Anna: An interesting character to throw in, but in all honesty, I don't think she would have remained friends with Chloe and Amanda if she was not partying on the weekend.
Layla: Just a base character for me. The fun, fashionista best friend... mah.
Virginia: A very important character to think about. Someone to help understand what you're going through and has been where you are. I also wonder about her life and people she's mentored and seen throughout her life.
Amanda's Mother: She seemed overall understanding and a realistic portrayal of a parent seemingly losing their child. You go lady! You supported your child through a lot.
Amanda's Father: He annoyed the crap out of me for the first half of the book, but over time he grew on me. Especially after he realized he was losing so much by not supporting his daughter.
Parker: Ass hat.
"I knew now- I believed, now- that I deserved to be loved."
Thanks for reading,