Read Harder: Vol. 5

Jessica Staff Image

Another entry in my continuing adventures with Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge

Even back in December, when I first saw the list of book categories, I was excited to explore the one that asked us to read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender. It’s something I want to understand better and with Pride just around the corner, it seemed like the perfect time to check this one off the list. I chose Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills.

book cover for Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

In elementary school, Elizabeth once lined up with the boys because that’s what felt right. She’s never understood her best friend Paige’s obsession with the color pink, and she identifies with Elvis more than anyone else.

Now a high school senior, she is counting down the days until she graduates and can fully become Gabe. Until then, Gabe only comes out on Friday nights during his hour-long shift at a local community radio station, where he hosts Beautiful Music for Ugly Children. He carefully curates his show each week (working with his mentor and neighbor John — possibly the first DJ to play the King on the radio) and hits on something with a theme around A and B sides of records.

As Gabe slowly builds his confidence on air and his audience, he also builds his confidence with his family and friends — the people who have learned to love the B side version as much as they did the A side.

Cronn-Mills tackles the subject with humor, tons of good music and thoughtfulness.

Beautiful Words for Everyone

Read Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

Jess is the Clerical Specialist at the Woods Run branch on the North Side. She’s your girl for YA lit, romance novels and knitting.