Today we have the lovely Sam from Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup discussing some wonderful novels featuring trans main characters! Sam is definitely a delight (I’ve met her twice already) and I’m happy she’s decided to participate in this event. Without further ado, here’s more about her and the guest post!
Sam Marchello is one half of the blogging duo at Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup. She is a game’s journalist, and library technician by trade. When she’s not assisting patrons at the library, she can be found with her nose stuck in a book. You can read her work at RPGamer.com, OLA’s Open Shelf (On the Edge YA), and at her blog.
Three Books Focusing on Transgendered Protagonists That You Should Check Out:
While I love reading diversely, one of my favourite topics for exploration is looking at transgendered literature. As someone who is not transgendered, I am always interested in reading stories about transition, complications, and what it means to feel like you were born in the wrong body. Trans issues are complex, and rich for storytelling. Whenever I talk to people who are transgendered, I find I always want to know their story, know their feelings, and I’m happy to learn about who they are on a whole.
The three novels I want to share with you focus on trans YA, each story evoking tons of emotion.
George by Alex Gino
George is a unique novel in that it began as a project by author Alex Gino in 2003 as a means to share information about transgendered people and culture to younger audiences. George is a novel that explores a young boy who clearly identifies as a young girl, but people refuse to treat George the way in which she wants to be treated. Since this novel is written for middle grade audiences in mind, there’s a simplicity in the language that makes it so easy to connect to George’s story. She wants to be who she wants to be, yet the world demands she be the gender she was born. George struggles to identify as male, and as you continue to read the novel you see her fight slowly transform people’s negatives about her into positives. This book offers such an important message of being yourself, and trust me – its grace and hopefulness will make you shed a few tears. This book is a great example of teaching transgender issues to younger audiences, and making them accessible to read and engage with.
Far From Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters
Far From Xanadu was a book I borrowed from a friend, and not one I knew much about. It features a transgender protagonist, particular a female-to-male transformation, which is pretty uncommon in YA. Often there’s tons of novels featuring male-to-female transition, but Julie Anne Peters shows the challenges that Mike faces in this novel with honesty and frustration. Mike lives in a town where people know about his transition and actually accept him for who he is. It’s AMAZING, and totally unheard of in a lot of ways. Then he falls in love with the new girl in his town, Xanadu, but starts to feel a level of discomfort he can’t describe – can Xanadu love him knowing that he’s transitioned? And while people know that Mike has transitioned, do they actually accepted him? This novel focuses on family struggles, self-reflection and identity, and what it means to love someone who may not entire accept you for who you are. This book is tough, raw, and will leave you thinking about the kinds of hardships faced through the transition process.
Pantomime (Micah Grey #1) by Laura Lam
This series is a personal favourite of mine that focuses on a transgendered protagonist. This circus-esque fantasy novel focuses on Gene, a young woman who feels more male than female, and begins to transition into Micah Grey. Afraid of what her friends and family might think of her transition from female to male, Micah finds refuge in a circus, with hopes of becoming a trapeze artist. Micah’s transition is rough from the get go, but upon becoming a member of the circus he finds acceptance with many of the other performers who are escaping their pasts, open about their sexuality, and attempt to teach Micah that accepting yourself always must be the first step before others can accept you for who you are. This series is fantastic, and Micah’s transition is one of the most powerful aspects at play, and in each book you begin to see Micah’s maturity written in such a genuine way. If you haven’t checked out this series, I strongly urge you to.
While we are starting to see more transgendered novels appear in YA, more is always needed and welcomed as a means to explore issues and culture. While these three novels are mere recommendations, there’s a plethora of novels about transgendered teens just begging to be explored. I hope with these recommendations that it will allow you to learn about transgender culture, as well as inspire the way in which you can read more diversely.
Have you read any of the books discussed by Sam? I assume they’ve all been added to your TBR list! Let’s chat in the comments and don’t forget to follow Sam on social media!