George

by Alex Gino
First sentence: “George pulled a silver house key out of the smallest pocket of a large red backpack.”
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Review copy provided by the publisher rep.
Content: There’s a lot to talk about and think about here; be prepared for questions. Content-wise, however, it’s simply written,  and so is in the middle grade (grades 3-5) section of the bookstore.

I don’t quite know what I expected from this. It’s got an agenda from the beginning: it’s the first middle grade book about a transgender female child. So, from the start, there’s that underlying the entire book.

There isn’t much plot. George is physically a boy, but identifies as a girl. It’s a secret she keeps from everyone. Except that, as the fourth grade is putting on a play of Charlotte’s Web and George would love to be Charlotte. And she wants to be Charlotte. Which means, in a round about way, being brave and informing people of her true self.

It’s a very open, accepting book; there are bullies, true, but mostly people are accepting once George comes out and confesses her true self. It’s quite liberating.

But, that’s all it is. It’s an important book, true, and an open-minded one. But it’s not really a good book. It’s kind of pedestrian, language-wise, and there’s way too much that’s told and not enough shown. I always felt like I was on the outside, looking in (maybe that was on purpose), and I never quite connected with the story, either. Not that I don’t understand its importance; I do.

I’m just not sure I liked it.

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