Book title: George
Author: Alex Gino
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: September 2015
Format: Hardcover, 195 pages
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.
George is a wonderful middle grade novel about a transgender girl named George. George is trying to figure out a way to tell everyone that she’s not a boy, as she appears to them, she’s a girl. And she wants nothing more than to be Charlotte in her school’s play of Charlotte’s Web. Only problem is, she isn’t allowed to play Charlotte because Charlotte is a girl and George is very much not, according to everyone else.
I loved this book. It’s a very quick read and a story I am grateful is available to people of a younger audience. In YA we’ve got a lot more books in recent years focusing on unique and diverse topics, and hurrah for that, but middle grade definitely isn’t as diverse yet. George is a current breakthrough. There are many children in the world who struggle to explain to the people around them how they identify and who they truly are inside, and if George can make even one kid feel less alone and braver in facing society about their gender, then this book wins everything.
I loved the main people who accept George and support her: Kelly, George’s best friend, and Scott, George’s older brother. Kelly is surprised, definitely, but accepts George for who she is without question. Kelly is also hilarious and a really fun character. Scott, when he finds out, is absolutely chill about it. He finally sees George for who she is — like it all makes sense and everything is all right in the world — and it’s beautiful how Scott doesn’t make it a big deal. George’s mom was slower to accept George’s identity, but it was because she was confused and scared. She eventually came around, but it did feel like a realistic portrayal of a parent who is terrified of losing the child they know and seeing them suffer under the nastiness of our society.
I highly, highly recommend George to everyone. Young readers will become aware of something so important as transgender and hopefully become interested in learning about what it means and how to support others who are transgender. But YA readers and even adults will like this heartfelt, simplistic look at a child who just wants everyone to accept and see her. ♦
Have you read George?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s a book about a transgender character you’ve read, or any character struggling with their sexual identity?
Comment below letting me know!
And, as always, happy reading!