Published by Balzer + Bray on Feb. 2, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT
Source: Balzer + Bray
The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?
Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.
On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.
Jeff Garvin’s SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN tackles the tough and timely topic of gender identity in a way that will captivate the reader, connect with the reader (especially the YA crowd) and ask us t revise how we view and (in some cases) make snap judgements about people.
Riley is like so many teenagers today – a bit punk, prone to being rebellious and yes, even snarky – and Garvin creates a truly believable modern teen that will leave readers nodding along as they read.
The difference: Riley is gender fluid.
Riley’s story is an education unto itself. Written in the first person we see the story unfold through Riley’s eyes and are privy to emotional responses and thoughts that feel genuine and raw. This book will ask you to change how to think about gender in unexpected ways. This is an especially powerful read for the YA audience. It is timely. It is informative. It is raw and relatable.
Riley’s story will open reader’s eyes in ways they probably had not considered and might even change the way think long after they’ve turned the last page and closed the book.
“People do judge books by their covers; it’s human nature. They react to the way you look before they hear a single word that comes out of your mouth.”