Holiday House. May 2023. 224p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780823450718; pap. $14.99. ISBN 9780823454884.
Gr 10 Up–Glasheen draws from personal experience to create the story of Claire, a teen struggling with their identity in 1980s New York. Claire is constantly asked whether they are a girl or boy. The frequent questions and hostility from some of the adults and family members in their life leads them to cope with alcohol abuse. Eventually their alcohol abuse becomes so severe that they are sent to inpatient treatment for substance abuse. While in treatment, Claire meets a variety of teens struggling with their own addictions and begins to gain a better understanding of their identity and possible romantic interests. Claire’s counselor, Charlie, is a strong positive role model who helps Claire through their journey of recovery. Substance abuse and its consequences are not shied away from, and later pages show what happens to some of the characters in the book. Claire’s narration of the story is featured in watercolor illustrations enhanced with surreal notebook drawings that both mirror their journaling and provide additional insight into their thoughts. Emotions are drawn with exaggerated expressions so that readers can see the depth of Claire’s feelings.
VERDICT A tale of gender identity and recovery that will resonate with readers and leave them thinking long after the final page. A first purchase for all young adult library collections.

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