When Robby starts his senior year in high school, he meets the new boy, Andy. Although Robby has never been physically attracted to anyone, he instinctively feels comfortable around Andy. As they get to know each other better, Robby realizes Andy is an outsider just like him, and harassment at the hands of the school’s bad boys makes it clear that Andy is a transboy.
When Robby’s eccentric Aunt Ivy finds some of her sentimental treasures missing, the boys put on their sleuthing hats to solve the mystery.
Release date: August 11th
*I got an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
This was a quick and easy read, but so many things made me scratch my head for me to give it a shining review. It could be that I’m no longer the intended age target of this book, though I usually enjoy YA; but please take into account that this is just my opinion and it doesn’t mean this was a bad book, it just means I didn’t really like it.
There were some things I did like: the characters and the idea of the book were nice; but the things I didn’t like overpowered those I did.
Robby is an 18 year old and believes there’s something wrong about him because he can’t get aroused. He can manage an erection masturbating and bring himself to orgasm, but he doesn’t think about anyone while doing it, and it doesn’t rock his world. So he decides to investigate: maybe he’s gay? He goes to a shop, and really embarrassed buys a gay magazine, though it doesn’t do anything for him either. He talks to his priest and his school counselor, who tells him that maybe he’s just a late bloomer. And I wonder: in 2016, why would a teenage boy risk embarrassment and talk to a priest when he can easily access the internet? That was the first thing that didn’t make sense for me, it just wasn’t believable.
Then there’s Andy, a transgender boy that changes schools on his last year hoping to pass on this one. But almost everyone know he’s transgender and some people start bullying him for it. I would have liked to know how they got that knowledge, but that’s probably just me, since I like things being logical and I couldn’t help wondering that. So there’s a lot of misgendering going on here, both by bullies and by people who are just trying to understand because they had no previous knowledge about transgenderism. But what bothered me is that almost no one faced any consequences for it. Robby’s sister keeps calling Andy a girl, and while Robby gets angry, she just keep doing it freely until the end of the book. There was also an attack that got the police involved, and the fact that one of the attackers fled to South America made me roll my eyes really hard.
I feel that I could have liked Any and Robby relationship, but I didn’t see any real development there, and the “I-love-you-s” fell flat for me. And there’s also the fact that Andy explaining issues to Robby felt too much like a textbook sometimes, he didn’t get frustrated, and explained everything really calmly, that was a bit unreal for me, though I guess some people could manage it.
And lastly: the mystery of Aunt Ivy’s missing trinkets. I think that the book could have done without it, and it was quite predictable for me. I could easily guess who was the culprit by the first time they appeared in scene.
All in all, a book with an interesting premise that could have gone better in its development.