All Kinds of Other

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. May 2021. 416p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062962492.
Gr 9 Up–Told in alternating points of view, this realistic romance revolves around two “new kids” who explore the bounds of their identities. Accustomed to molding himself into whatever best fits his mother’s latest cause, Jules doesn’t typically assert himself and has spent the past few years moving among private schools based on his parents’ whims. Now that he is entering public school for the first time in years, Jules decides to come out to his friends and family. When he meets Jack, he feels an instant connection. Jack is still reeling from a traumatic experience that imploded his closest friendship with Evie, his co-star in a YouTube channel where they discussed transitioning and provided support for other trans teens. Needing to escape, Jack follows his father across the country and begins “The Grand Experiment”—where he enters school as a seemingly cis boy and refrains from building any close relationships that might jeopardize his secret. As Jules and Jack become closer, Jack wants to be completely honest, but will Jules react positively? This story features a diverse cast, including Jules, who is white and Jewish, and Jack, whose dad is white and mother is Indian. Sie’s stark depiction of the transphobia that Jack faces (even from the LGBTQIA+ community) is commendable, but also may be traumatizing for many trans teens. Ultimately, though the resolution of this book is affirming, readers should be aware that the central conflict centers on negative reactions to Jack’s trans identity.
VERDICT Although this is recommended for purchase, make sure to also have positive, trans-affirming titles on hand such as Aiden Thomas’s Cemetery Boys and Amy Rose Capetta’s The Brilliant Death.

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