- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date: 10/22/2013
- Source: ARC provided by the publisher for review
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.
This book took me totally by surprise. I have listened to verse novels before, but have never actually read one myself. I am not opposed to poetry, I just don't typically read it. This book though written in poems never felt that way. It flowed really well, and I was able to get caught up in the story rather quickly. The other bonus of this being a verse novel was that even though it's quite a large book, it a very fast read. Also, the topic is not one that I have read before. I have read plenty of LGBT books, but never one that was focused on gender confusion as this one was. I thought it was done amazingly well, and I highly recommend this book to everyone!
Brendan is the main character even though it is told in three different POV's. He is the central point of this book. I really enjoyed getting to know Brendan while he was trying to get to know himself. I felt for him and wanted for him to discover what he was looking for and just be happy. He is on the wrestling team and has a wonderful girlfriend who is totally in love with him. He isn't into guys, but he imagines himself as a female. He wonders what it would be like. He is jealous of the soft skin, pretty hair, and general comfortableness girls seem to have with each other. He feels really lost and confused and thinks that he is a freak. He isn't sure what to do, or who to talk to. Angel comes into his life at just the right time. She helps him discover himself and know that nothing is wrong with him.
Vanessa is his longtime girlfriend. She is a sweet girl and I really did feel bad for her when Brendan pushed her away and shut her out. She is used to his ever changing moods, and has always been the person who Brendan would talk to. She is desperate to find out what he is hiding and why he is ignoring her and acting so distant. Her POV was interesting since she didn't really know what was going on. She was hurt, lonely, and felt like her relationship and first love were slipping away. What I liked the best about her is that she is understanding and very strong even while she is hurting.
Angel is a Transgender and I loved her POV. She is a very tough person who has been through a lot, and still deals with a lot of stuff. She loves helping people and her heart is in a great place. She has learned a lot through her own experiences and wants to help others who are confused with how they see themselves. More than anything, she wants to find happiness for herself and for others. Being abandoned over and over again throughout her life due to who she is, she has become hardened, but is still a very lively and bright person.
This book was so eye opening. Not that I didn't know about Transgender people, or how hard things must be for them. It was just great to read a book specifically about it and the confusion that the characters go through. Not only that, but how others around them act whether in a positive or negative way. I thought that the three different POV's was fantastic and it made the story well rounded. It packed an emotional punch as well. Being a book written in verse, it didn't read that way at all. I was able to follow the story just as with any other book. This is definitely an author I will be looking forward to reading again.
*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.