The most talked about book of the Fall has arrived. And let me tell you- it’s definitely memorable. Just not in a good way. Alex Gino’s George carries an important message, no doubt, especially for the target age (8-12/Middle Grade). Unfortunately, the writing is executed quite poorly.
Childish. To simple for the target age. Sloppy editing from a well respected LGBTQ author, David Levithan. Confusing. Make no mistake, the subject matter is important, but young readers will be disappointed by the bad writing. One example is the painful to read Q&A sections. Yes, Q&A. One character would say something like ‘did you know you can take hormones to change your body?’ and Melissa (Alex Gino has requested we call George Melissa, her chosen name) would say ‘no, thank you so much for telling me ___’. I felt like I was reading a Wikipedia article, not a novel!
For a well written and informational book along the same line as George, I would suggest None of the Above I. W. Gregorio’s YA debut. Although it’s not about a transgender kid, but an intersex one, it still tackles many of the same issues such as gender identity and sexuality.
George’s message is relevant but I would say it’s simply not worth reading thanks to the haphazard writing. Middle grade books should excite the reader. Kids should talk about the book and pass it on like a treasure. It’s disappointing that George’s writing will keep it from being that book. George is written for middle graders, yet I don’t know any kids reading it, because of its writing, not its content.
I’m excited however to see how the LGBT subgenre of Young Adult/Middle Grade grows. It’s about time we had a more realistic range of characters, of which Melissa is one, she’s just so poorly written.
Here’s the link to my review of None of the Above, which I highly recommend: link