Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.
Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?
What I Loved:
The cover! It was the main reason I decided to read it (and I did think it might be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it was not) it is stunning!
The characters. I struggled to completely like the main character (I actually would have loved have multiple POVS) because of some of his actions and sexual thoughts (in the beginning, which turned me off a bit) were off putting.
However, I grew to connect to his character as the novel went on and it shows that not everyone is perfect, people are flawed and the best kind are those who see that and overcome their prejudices. His character was realistic and I grew to connect with him by the end of the novel.
The best character was Jamie! I absolutely adored her personality, her ability to overcome the constant judgement and advisory she faces every day but she is still human and realistic. She has the best moments in the novel, she is not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself. The the author talked about trans in way that was not negative and brought in real issues facing transgenders but she still was able to explore bullying from both sides.
The message. The novel touches on real issues in society, prejudices about sexual and gender identity, and issues with self-confidence and depression/unstable identity but the main message is about accepting yourself and others as they are. I loved the hopeful message that the author pushes while still tackling the evils in the world.
What I Did Not Care For:
I took about .5 stars (it was a full star at the beginning of the novel) because of some of thoughts of the main character that I did not like and also the actions of his mother and best friend. However, as I went on I saw the need for those type of realistic characters (because bullying happens and so does judgement) and the overall message of acceptance and love overshadowed everything else for me.
The judgmental statements that the mother makes throughout the novel, and even some of the actions of Dylan, were off putting but the strength and realistic feel of the characters helped me look past those parts.
I recommend checking out this hidden gem, it was heart-warming and eye opening!
4.5 Stars Out of 5 Stars