I received this book for free from Borrowed in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for Young Readers on 22nd October 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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From the outside, Brendan Chase seems to have it pretty easy. He’s a star wrestler, a video game aficionado, and a loving boyfriend to his seemingly perfect match, Vanessa. But on the inside, Brendan struggles to understand why his body feels so wrong—why he sometimes fantasizes having long hair, soft skin, and gentle curves. Is there even a name for guys like him? Guys who sometimes want to be girls? Or is Brendan just a freak?
In Freakboy's razor-sharp verse, Kristin Clark folds three narratives into one powerful story: Brendan trying to understand his sexual identity, Vanessa fighting to keep her and Brendan’s relationship alive, and Angel struggling to confront her demons.
My situation with Freakboy was pretty dire. Since I am pretty sensitive these days to issues of equality, I had already decided that a book about a gender fluid person had better be damn good or I was going to go berserker on its ass. I already had a GIF lined up, too! The perfect GIF! And unless this book treated the topic beautifully and with a great deal of love, I was ready to whip it out and beat the book with it.
I’m sure most other bloggers can sympathize with the delight beheld in finding the perfect GIF for how you feel.
Unfortunately, Kristin Elizabeth Clark cheated me from being able to use this GIF. I loved Freakboy. Loved it with a passion. The heart strings were tugged at, I held back what I suspected might be tears (we refer to them as leaking feels around here), and I was gripped with the story and characters. What you can be sure of was this. I loved Brendan. I wanted to brush Brendan’s hair, I wanted to hug Brendan, I wanted to beat Brendan’s bullies with a steel bar until they pissed themselves and begged for mercy.
But I admit that Freakboy and I had a bumpy beginning and rough start. Freakboy is written in this T.S. Elliot prose that screamed pretentious to me. Sometimes words would be crafted in this visually poignant style, designed to enshroud their meaning with greater flair and emotional impact. All this literary ambition was earnestly lost on me. I farted, picked my nose and continued to read the book. Less appreciating its artistic flair as looking past and enjoying the novel despite it.
I am nothing if not a sophisticated, emotionally sensitive human being.
Vanessa’s situation was heartbreaking and Angel was so awesome that I wanted to be her best friend forever and ever and ever.
My only issue was with the ending, but I can’t discuss that without spoiling it. Damn you, society’s issues with narrative spoiling! Brendan! Brendan, my darling! Let me hold you!
I will say this, though. This is a big, amazing world with more than seven billion people in it. No matter how different you think you are, I swear to the flying spahetti monster, that you are a great kind of different and that there is probably several people who think your difference is great. My partner is intensely attracted to the way I yell at World of Warcraft nemeses. Also my weird sexual proclivities.
YOU ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL HUMAN BEINGS AND I LOVE YOU! Unless you’re Hitler. I don’t love Hitler.