Outside of the transgender character, this is a pretty standard teen romance. And actually that is the thing that stands out most about it. Transgender people can want the same things as a cisgender kid – caring friends, a cute boyfriend who asks you to homecoming via elaborate Star Wars reenactment, winning homecoming queen – so I’m glad that this book exists to present a scenario where all that happens to a trans girl.
It doesn’t try too hard to do anything impressive, but the typical problem/secret that always comes between the romantic protagonists is, in this case, credibly something that will be a big deal when it comes up. Even though Amanda’s situation could be a lot worse (she easily passes as a girl and is in fact considered very good looking by both genders; she makes high quality friends immediately and easily; her parents come around to acceptance before too long, etc), at this point in history the fact of being transgender seems like enough of a conflict on which to base a novel without piling on excessive miseries. Yet, it doesn’t avoid the violence, depression, and suicide that are, sadly, probably inevitable for any trans person.
The characters felt like reasonably authentic modern kids, and the main character was likable, not overly precious or dramatic. There are no over-the-top maniac villains. It is set in a small town in Georgia, which gives it some nice specificity without exaggerating the “Southern-ness.” I read this easily in one day. This could be a very precious book to a trans person, or an enlightening one for a cis person.