These reviews have been copied from the New York Public Library’s Website – http://www.nypl.org
PW Reviews 2014 July #3
Katie knew she was a girl on the inside, even when she was a suicidal kid named Luke growing up in a disjointed family in Oklahoma. Bullied relentlessly at school and unsupported by administrators, other students’ parents, and even her own father, Katie finds an ally in her mother, who stands by her daughter as she starts dressing like a girl, legally changes her name, and travels to get genital reconstruction surgery the day after turning 18. Along the way, Katie becomes an advocate for transgender teens, appearing on TV with her trans boyfriend Arin Andrews, whose memoir, Some Assembly Required, is being published simultaneously. Katie’s story provides solid information about what it means to be transgender and to transition, as well as “Tips for Talking to Transgender People” in the back matter. Part of what makes Katie’s story so extraordinary is that many of her struggles are entirely ordinary (she cheats on Arin, for example, lying to him when he finds out through Facebook). Being so open—and openly imperfect—makes Katie relatable on a human level, not just as a spokesperson. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal
SLJ Reviews 2014 August
Gr 8 Up—Like most transgender children, Katie, who was born and raised as a boy named Luke, was aware of her difference early on, though it was years before she found the word to describe herself. Other family problems made it easy for her to withdraw into a serious depression without being noticed. When Katie finally came across the word “transgender” and read descriptions of what it meant, she risked everything and reached out to her mother, who was supportive and relieved to understand her child better. She promised to help Katie make the transition to her internally identified gender of female, if Katie promised not to kill herself. The book opens with Katie starting college. Having chosen to be an out and open transgender activist while still in high school, she decided to “go stealth” at college, a term used to describe transgender people who prefer not to be identified as such. The writing style is open and straightforward, although much of the dialogue is awkward and extraneous. The book starts out a bit slowly and picks up significantly in the later half. This is a worthwhile addition, given how few transgender memoirs there are for teens.—Nancy Silverrod, San Francisco Public Library
(c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Reviews 2014 October #1
It was a story the media found irresistible: two transgender teens—Katie Rain Hill, an MTF transgender, and Arin Andrews, an FTM transgender—from small Oklahoma towns met against all odds and fell in love. Excited by the opportunity to raise the visibility of transgender issues, the two felt that their life stories could provide inspiration. As a consequence, they have now written their respective memoirs—or cowritten, since, in their acknowledgments, both thank their cowriters. This is Katie’s story. By the time the media discovered them, their intense love relationship had already become tenuous. Many things contributed to the demise of their affair: Katie’s gender reassignment surgery (paid for by an anonymous donor) and their ages (Katie went off to college, while Arin, two years younger, remained in high school). Katie then began seeing other boys without Arin’s knowledge, and, well, it’s a sad story and one that has, to a certain degree, been massaged. It would be interesting to have more information about the fact-fiction divide. Still, this is an invaluable title that puts empathetic human faces on a condition that otherwise might be presented as coldly clinical. For an expanded exploration of the two teens’ books, including a look at Arin’s memoir, Some Assembly Required (2014), please see Michael Cart’s feature “Transgender Teens and Romance.”
Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews
VOYA Reviews 2014 December
Rethinking Normal is Hill’s story of struggle and triumph as a transgender woman. Born a boy, Katie always knew she felt uncomfortable in her own body. For years she was tormented in school and teased relentlessly. Finally, in high school, Katie, born as Luke, discovers online the term transgender and decides to open up to her family, peers, and the world. Katie begins to dress as a woman, wear makeup, and eventually undergoes gender reassignment surgery to fully transition. More judgment and prejudice ensue, yet Katie overcomes numerous obstacles and navigates the troubled waters of college life to accept herself Written in a conversational tone, this memoir is a fast and fascinating read. Katie’s emotions are raw and gripping, and her fight to be accepted is awe inspiring. Some moments are described in seemingly melodramatic language, yet it is an authentic voice. Sex, suicide, and some violence are discussed but offer an opportunity for teens and young adults dealing with similar situations to relate. The book also includes a list of resources, such as books featuring transgender and other LGBTQ individuals, websites, and information for parents. Further, this is the perfect title to foster acceptance regardless of age, gender, or orientation.—Kaitlin Connors 3Q 2P J S
Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.