BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not....
Rating: 5 Stars
I'm glad that I could start the year off with a 5 star read. I think that bodes well!
George tells the story of a young girl who knows she's a girl, but lives with the fact that those around her see her as George, a bright boy but a boy nonetheless. She knows who she is, so why does no one else? The chance to show them comes when her class is to put on the play Charlotte's Web.
This book has been on my list for awhile now. I've wanted to read more LGBT+ books, particularly ones that deal with younger subjects because that seems to be a age group that I don't see represented much in fiction; it's mostly teen subjects, which is fine, but reading this book about a 10 year old realizing her identity and going through the beginning steps of transitioning offers a perspective I haven't seen yet.
I loved how Alex Gino presented George with George's proper pronouns even before George comes out to anyone. It legitimizes her identity when no one else seems to.
Kelly, George's best friend, is a very good friend. I am not sure how realistic she is, but I think that for the sake of this story she was very necessary. It's never mentioned, but I wonder if she had any experience with being teased or bullied for who she was because she's mixed race? That's how I saw her from context clues, at least. Anyway, she is good for George because she accepts her for who she is and doesn't question it once George states it. It's explained and she accepts it.
I loved this and also want to use it as an example for a lot of arguments in the future. If children can figure this out, how the heck are adults having such a hard time with it?
George's family was a mix of support and fear, which I think was more on the realistic side. I understood this, even if I wasn't happy about how some of those characters were acting. It was understandable and real, so again, a big thanks to Alex Gino. They didn't seek to sugar coat George's experience, which I appreciated.
The ending was wonderfully written because while there were good moments, there were loose ends tied up, not everything was resolved, not really. This isn't really an end for George, who chooses to be called Melissa before the end, it is just the beginning. There is an experience at the end that shows just how much joy she has ahead of her and while the road will be tough, I hope Melissa holds that moment in her heart and remembers that she has friends and family around her as she grows into a kind and generous young woman.
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