Alex as Well
Gender matters. Perhaps it shouldn’t – but it does; after all, until we know what pronoun to use, we can’t talk or write about another human being and that person cannot exist for us beyond immediate, physical encounters. In this tough and compelling novel for young adults, Brugman challenges conventions – both social and literary – by making her protagonist and narrator a teenager who was born ‚sexually ambiguous‘, has been raised as a boy for fourteen years (taking hormone-regulating medication, unwittingly at first, throughout), and now feels the need to identify as a girl. As she works at finding a place in the world as a female, Alex has to deal with the expectations (especially sexually) of her peers and the toxic guilt and disappointment of her mother. And to make things even more complicated, male Alex is still hanging around, questioning his female self’s choices and motivations. Don’t expect sugar and romance – this is fiction for readers who can handle the truth.