Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

Title: Almost Perfect
Author: Brian Katcher
Published: 2009
Summary: Logan Whitherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. Since then–much to his friends’ dismay–he has been despressed, pessimistic, and obessed with this ex, Brenda. But things start to look up for Logan when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Tall, unconventionally pretty, and a bit awkward, Sage Hendricks somehow appeals to Logan even at a time when he trusts no one. As Logan learns more about Sage, he realizes that she needs a friend as much as he does, if not more. She has been homeschooled for several years, and her parents have forbidden her to date, but she won’t tell Logan why. The mystery of Sage’s past and the oddities of her personality intrigue Logan, and one day, he acts on his growing attraction and kisses her. Moments later, however, he wishes he hadn’t. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she’s actually a boy. (from the author’s website)

I picked this up on a whim from work and I really was frustrated for at least seventy-percent of the book. I knew what the author was getting at, but the message was so clouded in transphobia that I really didn’t “get it” until the author’s note after the conclusion of the story.

I don’t want to say that I hated the book, because I didn’t; but I also cannot say that I will be recommending it to everyone I know.

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Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Title: Identical
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Published: 2008
Summary: Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family–on the surface. But behind the facade, each sister has her own dark secret. Kaeleigh is the misplaced focus of Daddy’s love; Raeanne sees Daddy playing a game of favorites, which she is losing. Secrets like the ones the twins harbor are not meant to be kept, from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it’s obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one must step up to save the other. But the question is–who? (from the back cover)
Reviewer’s Note: I have chosen to write the final paper in the Abnormal Psychology class I’m taking this quarter on this novel, so my apologies for what may turn out to be an extremely superficial review or a review that focuses almost solely on the writing style of this novel. I don’t want to find myself in a plagiarism trap, even though I can prove that this blog is mine.

This was my introduction to Ellen Hopkins. I’d heard of her before and had works of hers recommended to me, but hadn’t read any of them until now. I think I chose this novel because of the subject matter; this sounded like something that would be right up my alley, though extremely cathartic for me to read. Admittedly, I’m a fan of the free-form poetry style and like reading novels that use it. At times, the voices were cliche and I felt some information was being left out and that there were a few giant leaps to conclusions made, but overall the story gets its point across.

A note to my readers: This book deals with heavy, and often triggering, subject matter. That includes drug use, incestuous sexual abuse, and there is a scene with an attempted suicide. Ultimately, that is what drew me into the novel. Normally, I don’t like flying blind when it comes to novels that have controversial subject matter, but I think that I’ve come to a point where I can deal with it for certain subjects.