GEORGE by Alex Gino

Read it if you're in the mood for: middle grade, contemporary, GLBTQ, character driven, diversity

Summary: BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.

George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy.  

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Read this if you like:
NONE OF THE ABOVE by I.W. Gregorio (link goes to our recommendation!)
GEORGE deals with transgender issues in a middle grade format and NONE OF THE ABOVE deals with intersex issues in a YA format. Totally different things, but these books are both daring, informative, and will touch your heart.

Both Patron and Gino write with compassion and heart about their characters. Like George, Lucky simply wants to know where she fits in the world, and both characters worry they'll never find that place.

The Rec: This was one of the books I was on the lookout for at BEA, and I was lucky enough to grab a copy AND meet Alex Gino. I'm not normally a middle grade person, but I really enjoyed this book. The reader is thrown right into George's world--the book opens with her looking through teen fashion magazines. It's a great opening that immediately helps you understand a piece of what it's like to be George. As an adult reading it, it was both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

The secondary characters offer a great layer to this book. They help inform George's experience (we get to see what it's like encountering a range of people, from the most heartless to the most supportive), but they also build the world of the book in a very real way.

Even though George is transgender (she is biologically a boy, but feels and wants to present herself as a girl), this is a book that all readers can relate to. From being the odd person out, to not feeling like you can show your true self, readers will be able to find all sorts of entry points into George's world to help them connect with her.

The Caveat: This book is a tidy story at 240 pages, and you might be left wanting more George!

You should read this because: There simply aren't enough books with transgender MCs out there, and George is one everyone can identify with in one way or another.

Read this book!
GEORGE by Alex Gino (Scholastic Press, August 25th, 2015)

Recommendation by: Sara