Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Teen review: LGBT fiction

by Elliott DeLine
Stand-alone LGBT fiction, contemporary, biographical-ish
273 pages
Recommended for readers in high school or older

Reviewed by Isabella C. (grade 11)

Refuse follows the story of Dean, a female-to-male (FTM) transgender, simply trying to figure out his own life. When he goes off to college and ends up rooming with another FTM transsexual, his life inevitably gets a little more complicated, especially since he seems to be falling in love with his new, quasi-celebrity roommate--who is currently dating a male-to-female (MTF) transsexual! Dean is depressed and can only seem to find enjoyment in Morrissey (from the Smiths). He is off-putting and sarcastic, wickedly witty, and has no idea how to feel like himself. After all, how would one know how to feel if they don’t even fully know themselves?

The reason I categorized this as “biographical-ish” is because the point of view (POV) within the book ranges from third person, to Dean himself, to Elliott the author. All POVs were entertaining and interesting.

This book was absolutely dripping with angst and dark, cynical humor. It was filled with insight into the LGBT community and the way transgender identity is sometimes, sadly, dismissed. For me, this book was definitely a 5 out of 5. It was deep and emotional while being insightful and critical of the prejudices held within the LGBT community itself. Plus, at 273 pages it’s a pretty quick read. Some of the subject matter, however (such as sex, homophobia, violence against LGBT, suicide, and a hint at rape), is heavy so this book is definitely better for a mature audience. Overall, it was a fantastic read that I highly recommend to anyone interested in LGBT fiction, LGBT authors, and cynical, angsty sarcasm.

Editor's note: We would probably classify this book as most appropriate for "new adults," since the protagonist is 22 years old.

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