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Symptoms of Being Human
by Jeff Garvin


Overview -

A sharply honest and moving debut perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ask the Passengers .

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl.  Read more...


 
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More About Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
 
 
 
Overview

A sharply honest and moving debut perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ask the Passengers.

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn't exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure media and otherwise is building up in Riley's life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it's really like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley's starting to settle in at school even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley's real identity, threatening exposure. And Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

From debut author Jeff Garvin comes a powerful and uplifting portrait of a modern teen struggling with high school, relationships, and what it means to be a person.

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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062382863
  • ISBN-10: 0062382861
  • Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
  • Publish Date: February 2016
  • Page Count: 352
  • Reading Level: Ages 14-UP


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Adolescence
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Bullying
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance

 
BookPage Reviews

A teen breaks from gender expectations

It seems so simple at birth: boy or girl. But genitalia don’t indicate whether the boy will fall in love with other boys, or whether the girl will grow to identify as a boy who loves girls. In Symptoms of Being Human, Riley’s biological gender is never revealed to the reader, even though Riley’s innermost feelings are revealed through Riley’s blog. Following a psychiatrist’s advice, Riley uses the blog and its growing popularity as an effective tool to help withstand the stress of a new school and Riley’s congressman father’s run for re-election. Through this online platform, Riley pours out reflections on gender fluidity (“It’s like a compass in my chest . . . the needle moves between masculine and feminine.”) and dreams of acceptance. In contrast to the positive reception that Riley finds online, school is torture, and Riley’s penchant for gender-neutral clothes attracts the worst bullies. 

Through the acceptance of a LGBTQ support group and Riley’s blog, author Jeff Garvin’s groundbreaking novel packs in as much advice for genderqueer teens as possible. The most important message may be that it is acceptable to live outside the gender binary. In his author’s note, Garvin provides resources to help teens struggling with gender identity issues, as well as the often-attendant anxiety and depression.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews