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Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family , by Amy Ellis Nutt, is my 'book by or about a person who identifies as transgender' choice for my 2016 (Blended) Reading Challenge. I'll also go ahead and count it as my "book set in high school" that I never read for the 50 book challenge (I know only a brief part of it was, but I'm not really into YA or hs books...)


Becoming Nicole


This should be required reading, imo. This was both well-written and well-researched, clearly explaining scientifically, medically, as well as personally, what 'transgender' really is...as well as how common non-binary gender/genetics is. If everyone could read this, we'd have a good deal less ignorance in the world and hopefully less hate.

As you might guess from the topic, I have to give my obligatory content warning. It was pretty hard for me, even as a cis-person, to read about Nicole's bullying. Maybe I shouldn't have chosen this for read-a-thon, because I probably should have stepped away for a bit after that part. It truly is heartbreaking, but I do think cis people need to be aware of what transgender people deal with on a daily basis. It also did a great – but not preachy – job of showing how it's so much more than “playing dress up” or “a bathroom is a stupid fight to pick”, etc. People just don't know. But if they read this, they could not walk away saying the same thing.

I give it four stars instead of five only because of some editorial decisions. The book does seem to hop through time a bit, which can be confusing, especially since the author refers to our title character as “he” and “Wyatt” until 'his' family finally got on board and allowed her to be who she really is. I get that stylistic decision, but bouncing back and forth later in the novel is, judging by some reviews, confusing for some and potentially insulting to others. Also, and possibly due to the back-and-forth (or just referring to future stuff before we get there), the pacing seemed off in places.

But it's a great, informative book with a compelling main character/subject, and I'm honored that such a private and sometimes difficult story was shared with us. Oh – and Nicole and her brother both write poetry, some of which is included. Jonas's in particular is fantastic! Loved it.