Review: Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

Book Title: Alex As Well
Author: Alyssa Brugman
Published Date: January 20th, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: YA Contemporary 
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Alex is ready for things to change, in a big way. Everyone seems to think she’s a boy, but for Alex the whole boy/girl thing isn’t as simple as either/or, and when she decides girl is closer to the truth, no one knows how to react, least of all her parents. Undeterred, Alex begins to create a new identity for herself: ditching one school, enrolling in another, and throwing out most of her clothes. But the other Alex—the boy Alex—has a lot to say about that. Heartbreaking and droll in equal measures, Alex As Well is a brilliantly told story of exploring gender and sexuality, navigating friendships, and finding a place to belong.

Disclaimer: I got this e-ARC from Henry Holt & Co. via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I was really, really excited about this book and I had high hopes for it, but I ended up being really ambivalent to it which really disappointed me. I wasn’t sure if this would be a straight up transgender story or if it was due to a congenital issue. I could never imagine feeling like I was born in the wrong body so I knew I wouldn’t be able to relate to Alex the way others could, but I really wanted to see how it turned out for him.

Her parents really were crappy. I know it probably wasn’t easy for them when Alex began dressing in women’s clothes and professing that he was a girl, but instead of working to support what their child wanted, they were holding on to the boy that he was made into as an infant. I so wanted his parents to get over it and embrace the child that they did have.

The best part of the book was Alex herself. She was equal parts awesome and brave. She was going through so much and it hurt me that she had no one else she could talk to about this. Belonging is such a big deal, especially in cases like this, and Alex definitely struggled with the desire to belong. She didn’t feel like she belonged anywhere and it was difficult for me to read about that, because I too struggled with not really belonging anywhere.

I am pretty ambivalent about this book. I didn’t love it, but I also didn’t hate it. Unfortunately Alex was not enough for me to enjoy the book. So I’m giving it 3 stars. I think I would recommend it though, as it was an important read for many reasons.

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