Linus and Etta Could Use a Win

Feiwel & Friends. May 2024. 224p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250897466.
Gr 6 Up–Linus, who recently came out as trans, hopes to quietly start his school year at a new middle school. However, a chance collision with fellow eighth grader Etta on the way to his first class makes that unlikely. Etta, still reeling from the sudden ghosting by her best friend, Marigold, is looking for answers to explain her friend’s sudden distance. When a student council interest meeting sparks an intense conversation between the two ex-best friends, Marigold bets Etta she can get anyone elected president of the student council—including Linus. What starts as a challenge quickly becomes exactly what Linus and Etta both need: a supportive friendship. Told through a two-voice structure, Linus and Etta’s characters are carefully drawn and complex, with room for growth for each character. The story, patterned loosely after George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, moves briskly between the two character’s tellings, with moments of humor, as well as important school and family interactions.
VERDICT The message of trans acceptance is front and center in this realistic fiction title; Huntoon creates meaningful and authentic conversations around topics important to trans youth and allies, while also maintaining a lighter tone that is more accessible for the middle school reader. Recommended.

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