It's like a combination between the books Being Emily and The Gospel According to Larry. Also reminded me of the movie "Boys Don't Cry."

Riley has the same problem trans people do: Riley likes things that are labeled as being for a certain gender, and thinks that means something about its own gender/sex. Whereas trans people like things of the opposite sex and think that makes them the opposite gender, Riley likes things of both genders, and thinks that makes it genderfluid. It's NORMAL to like things that are for both sexes. It's only CONFORMING TO GENDER ROLES that makes boys like only boy things and girls like only girl things.

Riley has a problem with being called 'it', but probably dislikes 'she' and 'he' too, because that's slapping a gender onto it that it may not feel is accurate at that particular moment. 'It' is truer to the gender fluid identity. Riley never says what pronouns it prefers, so how are we supposed to know?

It was annoying how often characters were popping pills, like the book was an advertisement for drug companies. But I guess the story is just a reflection of modern life: humans think they can't function without drugs. Maybe all this drug use is why so many kids are being born LGBT?

Like Being Emily, this book seems amateurly written; there are several instances where there isn't proper spacing between words. The narrator, Riley, is very convincingly a millennial teenager. It's hard to believe that the book was written by the old guy that it claims to be written by. An example is the realistic Internet conversation:
Anonymous person says: "your a fag"
Riley acts all high and mighty by pointing out that the person didn't use "you're," which is completely beside the point. Riley also calls them homophobic at the same time.

This part is unrealistic: Riley writes a couple entries on a blog, and suddenly becomes famous over it as if his website is the only LGBT site on the Internet. Characters treat Riley like it is so good at writing, "has a way with words," but they seemed pretty ordinary and simple to me.

Also unrealistic: Riley calls its CA hometown near LA the most "binary place in the known universe" (p. 30). That's funny since CA is one of the most liberal states in America. Just an example of the millennial mentality: they think they're suffering sooo much, and no one has it worse than them!

Riley acts all traumatized and harassed just after being called 'it.' It's interesting to compare modern books like this to older books about teens or kids, who have much worse lives than this. Today's kids think they have it sooo bad when they bring their problems onto themselves. They should be grateful they have two loving parents, enough food to eat, and a middle class roof over their head. Not everybody has all those privileges. Older books about kids/teens didn't have narrators full of such self-pity over such small things. After Riley comes out to the parents, they are about 90% accepting, but even that is not good enough for Riley. S/he wants to slap the mom and yell at the dad. Of course it's terrible for a person to hit/kill/tease someone for being LGBT, but people these days act like that kind of abuse is equivalent to someone simply having the opinion that what Riley's going through might just be a phase. It has become taboo to even *question* the validity of LGBTs, or to suspect that they're lying. Being skeptical is not the same as hating, but the LGBTs treat it that way; they want to call "Homophobe!" toward everyone unless they get 100% acceptance and belief in all their claims, as if an LGBT can never be confused, ignorant, lie, or pretend. LGBTs are HUMAN like everyone else, and HUMANS are capable of all those things. They're symptoms of being human!

bell5133's rating:
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