Freakboyby Kristin Clark 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.
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux
This is going to be a short review of a very significant book. I have to start by saying that I don't generally enjoy books written in the form of a poem, or several poems. However, this book is just so powerful that once I moved past that, I realized that this is a very powerful story. There aren't enough books aimed at teens that work through the subject matter of Freakboy. A boy who seemingly has it all, questioning not only his sexuality, but his whole gender. In love with a girl but finding himself wanting to become one as well. It's the type of subject matter that is frequently the butt of jokes. It moves beyond gay and straight, into territory that I don't think many teens feel they can discuss openly with very many people. As someone who has worked with teenagers for many years, I can tell you that these issues do exist, and books such as this may give someone the courage to come forward with what they're experiencing.
It's not about encouraging or justifying or defending a lifestyle, it's about acknowledging that these children exist, and giving them a voice. I found this story heartbreaking, uplifting, and extremely powerful.
Kat's Rating: A Good Read
Kristin Clark does a very good job of humanizing an issue that is so often dismissed as something of a joke, something that doesn't affect "real" people, or that doesn't deserve our empathy.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.