Almost Perfect by Brian KatcherPublished by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Blurb: Logan Witherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. But things start to look up when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Sage Hendricks befriends Logan at a time when he no longer trusts or believes in people. Sage has been homeschooled for a number of years and her parents have forbidden her to date anyone, but she won’t tell Logan why. One day, Logan acts on his growing feelings for Sage. Moments later, he wishes he never had. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she’s actually a boy. Enraged, frightened, and feeling betrayed, Logan lashes out at Sage and disowns her. But once Logan comes to terms with what happened, he reaches out to Sage in an attempt to understand her situation. But Logan has no idea how rocky the road back to friendship will be.
"We just stood there for a few seconds. Back when we were friends, we'd have already been laughing and joking. Now things were tense and awkward. There was no way I could ever be relaxed around this person again. To me, Sage would never be just Sage. She'd be Sage-the-boy-who-pretended-to-be-a-girl-and-who-I-kissed-that-one-time. No friendship could survive with that many hyphens."
Review: I've read a few stories that feature transgender characters, and I've learned from each one. I used to have a hard time understanding why someone would physically transition, but throughout this story, I never once doubted it was the right decision for Sage. After reading this story, I have a much better understanding of the struggles trans people face. Even though Sage was not the point-of-view character, this very much felt like her story. Although we see her through Logan's eyes, it's easy to imagine the range of emotions she feels as Logan cycles through periods of acceptance and rejection.
Logan's biggest fear is that if people find out he's dating Sage, they'll think he's gay. He can't deal with that. He remembers his reaction to learning her secret. He called her a faggot, too. In actuality, neither one of them is gay. I think that's a common misperception regarding trans people (and their partners). The novel addresses this and a lot of other issues as well. I found it all very thought-provoking and enlightening.
I only wish the ending had been happier. I would call it "hopeful" rather than "happy". I hope with all my heart that she finds acceptance, love, and happiness.
I highly recommend this novel for all audiences.
Review by Madison