Middle Grade books are excellent for a wide variety of reasons.
The first and FOREMOST reason (for me) is that they very rarely have romance, which means that the focus is instead on the friendships/family/story.
YA, for all that I love it, still primarily focuses on romance, which annoys me.
Anyway, here are my five reasons to read George.
- Charlotte’s Web. Because we all need a reminder of how awesome it is.
- We have a transgender girl (George) as a protagonist. Which is really great for MG, which still isn’t as diverse as YA is becoming.
- Theatre! Any book with theatre/acting is right up my alley.
- Absolutely adorable.
- Simple enough storyline and a quick read, so the focus is all on the CHARACTERS, which I loved.
George is a fantastic main character.
She KNOWS who she is – the difficult part is getting everyone else to see it. And she’s determined to be Charlotte in the school play. I like that kind of dedication.
And you’ve also got her amazing friend Kelly, who was kind of confused at first but ended up being a wonderful asset to George.
I often really enjoy middle grade books because they have big issues and explain them in really simple terms.
With YA, it’s often more complex and multi-layered, but sometimes a simple approach can be really powerful – like with Wonder by R J Palacio. So you’ve got George wanting to be Charlotte in the school play, and her friend Kelly accepts this instantly.
At the same time, though, even while many kids are much more open-minded than adults, you’ve got the few that turn out to be bullies. Books with bullying never fail to make me sad because you’re always in the POV of the victim and that is…heart-breaking, really.
But I loved how Alex Gino dealt with it.
As with most other books I’ve read about transgender teenagers/children, George’s mother takes a while to come around.
It wasn’t AS substantial in this book as some others, but it always angers me how parents insist that their child is wrong about themselves. It’s hard for me to understand that, and while I’d get that you’d be confused or sad about “losing your child,” if you love them enough, shouldn’t you want what’s best for them?
So that annoyed me slightly. But again, it was realistic, and at least she wasn’t a fundamentalist Christian or something, because I’ve read enough books about parents like that.
Overall? A really lovely, quick read about being who you are and getting that starring role in the school play.
Rating: 4/5 Wonderkitties
BE WHO YOU ARE.
When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.
George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.
With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.
What are some of your favourite MG books? Any recommendations for books with transgender protagonists?