Title: Alex as Well
Authors: Alyssa Brugman
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: January 20, 2015 (Originally published January 1, 2013
Source: I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review
Alex is ready for things to change, in a big way. Everyone seems to think she’s a boy, but for Alex the whole boy/girl thing isn’t as simple as either/or, and when she decides girl is closer to the truth, no one knows how to react, least of all her parents. Undeterred, Alex begins to create a new identity for herself: ditching one school, enrolling in another, and throwing out most of her clothes. But the other Alex—the boy Alex—has a lot to say about that. Heartbreaking and droll in equal measures, Alex As Well is a brilliantly told story of exploring gender and sexuality, navigating friendships, and finding a place to belong.
This book was a step out of my comfort zone. Not only was it a contemporary read, but it dealt with subject matter I don't have much experience with. However, this year I want to push myself a bit with the books I read, plus increase the diversity of the main characters in the books I read.
This book deals with growing up and being different, specifically with gender identification. Alex was raised as a boy, but recently has begun to identify more strongly as a girl. The book is written as if there are really two Alexes, a boy and girl sharing the same body. It was an interesting way to read and, while I don't know if it is accurate, I did enjoy how different it was. However, I found I didn't like boy Alex, as I was happy when he faded more and more into the background. Girl Alex was a likable character and I really felt for her. She dealt with the same insecurities other teenagers do, only on a larger scale than most.
However, Alex's parents sucked, especially her mom, who was actually crazy. I liked having blog posts from her mom's point of view, which gave a tiny bit of insight into her mind. But she really was a terrible parent and clearly insane. And Alex's dad was mostly just absent. I understand how it would be difficult for Alex's parents to deal with her situation, but I really felt like they were selfish and should have had much better communication with Alex.
Alex as Well was a different sort of read for me and I really ended up enjoying it, despite the writing style of the two Alexes taking some time to get used to. It showed me how good it can feel to step outside of my fantasy/dystopian comfort zone and try something new.
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