This Is How It Always Is

336p. Flatiron. Jan. 2017. Tr $25.99. ISBN 9781250088550.
When Claude, who has always resisted stereotypical male behaviors, wants to wear dresses to kindergarten, Rosie and Penn help their young child deal with classmates, parents, teachers, and administrators who don't understand why Claude, who now identifies as female, wants to be called Poppy. After an incident with another parent almost turns violent, the family of seven pick up and move from Madison, WI, to Seattle. Poppy's history remains a secret—until she's in fifth grade. Penn, an aspiring writer and stay-at-home dad, also experiences a journey of self-discovery as he develops his talent for storytelling. Though the third-person perspective revolves mostly around the parents, it will still resonate with teens. Many readers will identify with Poppy, while others will gain fresh perspective on gender identity.
VERDICT This thought-provoking, accessible work would make an excellent parent/teen book club choice.

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