I Am J

Cris Beam, Author
Cris Beam, Little, Brown, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-05361-7
Reviewed on: 01/31/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
Ebook - 978-0-316-12232-0
Paperback - 326 pages - 978-0-316-05360-0
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-76715-6
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J was born Jenifer but has never felt female. Now on the verge of 18, he wants to be "more than just a hovering brain without a body," and starts to transition to male. He binds his breasts; attends a school for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth; and starts therapy so he can be approved for testosterone injections. Change isn't easy: afraid of his father's rejection, J runs away temporarily, and is anxious that the girlfriend who "saw him as a man" will find out that he is "trans." Readers will learn a lot about transgender teens as J does online research, attends a support group, and gets advice from friends who have transitioned; adult author Beam (Transparent) also includes a four-page list of resources. It is J's authentic voice that keeps this challenging story from simply being a problem novel. J is sure of his masculinity, yet vulnerable and confused, and his thoughts often come out in a tangled rush. Readers should be absorbed by J's struggle to prove "My gender's not a lie. I am not a lie." Ages 15–up. (Mar.)
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