I Am J

16 May

J is half-Jewish, half-Puerto Rican, and he was born a girl. Growing up in New York City in a small apartment, J’s parents always encouraged him to do well in school, and they don’t really mind that he is a lesbian. However, J is not a lesbian – he is a boy, and he knows his parents are not going to be happy when they find out.

J decides the cure to all his problems will be testosterone shots, but he doesn’t understand why he has to legally go to a therapist to get permission to transition. Of course, in therapy (and eventually a support group and a specialized high school for GLBTQ teens), J learns much more about being trans, the GLBTQ community, and himself. His discovery that he can openly apply to college as a trans person is especially heartening.

J’s best friend is self-centered and annoying, but she does care for J, and is ultimately supportive. J himself is a complicated and not always a likable character – therefore there is finally a book about a trans person that doesn’t show the trans person as a completely selfless saint. While some of the book can feel somewhat heavy-handed and formulaic, like there is a checklist of things that a trans teen will go through and the author had to make sure she included all of them, mostly the book is a real story and well-written. J is a genuine character, and overall his story is a fast and interesting read.

Nora’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Author: Cris Beam
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (March 2011)

One Response to “I Am J”

  1. Em 04. Jun, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    I’m excited to read this one too! Sounds like a great book!

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