George by Alex Gino
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT+
Published by: Scholastic Children’s Books
Another book with a LGBT protagonist! Yippee! I’ve really been seeking them out lately and I’m so pleased that everyone’s voices can be heard in Middle Grade and YA fiction.
For a short book, this one packs a might punch, so let’s go!
P L O T
George is about a ten-year-old boy, discovering his identity as transgender. He’s known for a while that he wants to be known as Melissa, and the pronouns used throughout the story reflect who George is on the inside.
The one problem is: no one else understands how she feels, putting it down to a phase. Her mother and brother misunderstand. Her teacher is less than sympathetic, thinking her audition for a female role is a joke. The only person George can count on is her best friend, Kelly.
So, of course, this book was going to be about struggle. I’ve never heard of a transgender person not dealing with hate in some way or other. But, I’m going to reassure you now that it all works out for George, and the happy ending was super sweet, you could almost forget the internal trauma George suffered.
C H A R A C T E R S
I really loved George. She was so self-assured and in touch with her emotions. The kind of kid that cries over the death of a fictional character is the kind of kid I want to be around. Nothing that happened to her changed how she felt, but I really sympathised with the her in the darker moments, when it seemed like no-one would ever understand and accept her. Because, really, her gender had no baring on what she was like on the inside, and people need to learn to look past first appearances.
Kelly, the best friend, was a stand out character. Her love and support of George was so sweet. While some kids were cruel, Kelly was there researching the correct terminology, not questioning George on his identity and doing everything she could to make George really feel like Melissa. Her compassion and friendship, in the end, was what made me tear up.
V E R D I C T
A short review for a short book, but when a book is this concise and good, there’s really not much more I can say, accept that I urge you to read it. I’m really pleased that books like this exist, and Alex Gino started writing it in 2003. It’s been a long time in the making, but definitely worth the wait. 4 stars for George.