Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I am J

I am J   by Cris Beam
J has always felt misunderstood, and no wonder: his parents think he's a lesbian, his best friend Melissa think he's a girl, and his girlfriend Blue is pretty sure he's gay. But J knows that he is a boy, although he was born female.  After doing some Google research, J learns about testosterone shots, and is convinced that taking "T" will fix everything in his life.  But even after seeing a psychologist and starting hormone therapy, J learns that, as much as he loves them, the people in his life are still not perfect.
Readers will learn a lot about the lives of transgender teens as J attends a support group, enrolls at a school for transgender teens, and does his best to become a man in a society that isn't quite sure how to define him.  The book is obviously issue-driven;  however, the convincingly multi-ethnic and gender-diverse characters retrieve it from the "Afterschool Special" pile.  Not everyone accepts J as he accepts himself, but there is hope. 
Almost squeaky-clean: no cussing, no sex; there is one scene of under-age drinking.  References to body parts are polite.  Sexual tension does not progress beyond a few exchanged kisses. 
Recommended for readers in grades 7 to adult.

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