Who hasn’t felt a little (or even a lot) uncomfortable in their skin at times? For Brendan in Freakboy things are even more complex.
Brendan has a girlfriend he loves, is a decent wrestler, and has a best buddy he games with. Brendan also feels odd in his male body, enjoys wearing a women’s bra, and fantasizes about having curves and long silky hair. Then again, sometimes, he doesn’t totally hate being a guy.
What do these feelings make him, he wonders. Weird? A lesbian? A “freakboy?” Or, as he learns from Angel, a transgender woman who becomes a friend, is he “gender fluid?”
There aren’t easy answers or resolutions in Kristin Elizabeth Clark’s novel, but there is an honest and compelling struggle that is heartwrenching at times and entirely human. There’s also three amazing central characters: Angel (with her own past struggles/demons); Vanessa (Brendan’s loving and uber understanding girlfriend) and Brendan himself. The novel is written in verse, so even though it looks h-u-g-e, it’s a pretty fast read.
I really like what the author herself said about the book:
“There are as many expressions of gender identity as there are individuals…I would never in a million years attempt to tell the transgender story. All I can do is tell a transgender story and cross my fingers that people will be interested…”
I definitely was.
There are more teen novels with transgender stories/characters:
Check out the library‘s LGBTQ Teen Reads booklist for more reading suggestions.