From the outside Brendan’s life looks pretty great. He’s on the wrestling team, has a beautiful girlfriend and does pretty well in school.
To some people Angel might seem confused. She grew up where no one was like her…A half Mexican boy in an all white neighborhood.
Vanessa must seem pretty happy to most people. She’s got a great boyfriend, and loves being on the wrestling team and doesn’t care what anyone says about it.
In Kristen Elizabeth Clark’s debut book Freak Boy you’ll get to know Brendan, Angel and Vanessa. The book, told in verse, follows all three characters and brings you in touch with their lives and their very different journeys. Angel is a Trans woman who has never been confused about her gender. She knew from the start that she had been born with the wrong body. Vanessa is a girl who just happens to love working and playing hard with the boys. On the wrestling team she wins more than she loses while managing to completely tune out those who want to call her identity into question. She knows who she is and that she loves her boyfriend, no name calling can change that. Lastly, Brendan who loves Vanessa but fantasizes about being a princess with long hair and a beautiful face is struggling to make sense of his mix of feelings. How is it possible to be enjoy sex with your girlfriend while wishing to be a girl yourself?
The world wants everyone to fit into boxes…Gay or Straight, Female or Male. But what happens if you can’t decide? what if you feel differently from day to day? Most of the people in Brendan’s life want him in a box. They feel more comfortable knowing where Brendan fits…but he’s starting to wonder if he has to choose. He’s even learning, with Angel’s help, that there are other people like him and that choosing Gender Fluidity might allow him to live his life as it was meant to be.
Reviewed by Brooke, CLP-South Side