I read this back in August via NetGalley and wrote this review at the time of reading so that all of my thoughts were fresh whilst writing it.
Alone at home, twelve-year-old Grayson Sender glows, immersed in beautiful thoughts and dreams. But at school, Grayson grasps at shadows, determined to fly under the radar. Because Grayson has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body.
The weight of this secret is crushing, but leaving it behind would mean facing ridicule, scorn, and rejection. Despite these dangers, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Strengthened by an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher who gives her a chance to step into the spotlight, Grayson might finally have the tools to let her inner light shine.
I found the themes discussed in this book to be very unique considering the target age group of the novel is 10+. These kinds of themes of gender and sexuality are rarely spoken about in books for younger age groups and I think that this novel did an amazing job of showing Grayson’s struggle in a relateable way, being simple enough to understand but with enough depth to show how complicated this sort of problem would be to deal with, especially at that age, but at any age really.
The writing style, as I said, is simple but beautiful at the same time with a lot of theatre and literary references. Written from Grayson’s point of view, you really do see his development as a character and him coming into his own throughout the novel.
I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to read something YA that has LGBTQ themes. For anyone out there who enjoys David Levithan’s novels, I would highly recommend this one too as it definitely had a similar feel to books of his such as Boy Meets Boy and one of the storylines in Two Boys Kissing. I think that for a debut author, Ami Polonsky did an amazing job at portraying a topic not often tackled in YA and the resulting book is brilliantly executed. This is a story of bravery, family and friendship and can honestly be enjoyed by just about anyone.
4 out of 5 stars!