Inspiring Novel About Transgender Teenage Girl Receives 2011 ALA Stonewall Award
Brian Katcher is garnering a lot of attention with his second novel Almost Perfect, which recently won the American Library Association’s 2011 Stonewall Award for children’s and young adult literature.The story follows the relationship between a teenage transgender girl named Sage and a straight boy named Logan who learns to be a more understanding and supportive friend to her.
After going through a difficult breakup, Logan is intrigued when Sage moves to his small hometown in Missouri and joins his biology class. Sage is cute, confident and quirky. As Logan gets to know her better, he becomes one of the few friends Sage has ever had, and she reveals to him that she is transgender.
Logan’s initial reaction as well as his later attempts to understand are infiltrated with his own misconceptions and fear of what other people would say if they found out. He is often selfish and ignorant, but learns a lot about himself as he watches Sage encounter obstacles in virtually every aspect of her life throughout the book.
Katcher writes the novel with a relaxed and entertaining flair, but also addresses important themes that both straight and LGBT teenagers may not think about enough. The language Katcher uses highlights the ways in which words can be extremely damaging and hurtful. Sage is called anti-gay slurs multiple times by Logan and others.
When Logan remarks, “I guess I assumed you were a lot older when you decided you wanted to be a girl,” Sage frustratingly clarifies, “It wasn’t a decision, Logan…I realized I was a girl.” Nevertheless, Logan knows Sage is a girl and consistently refers to her and thinks of her as such, which creates a contrast with Sage’s unsupportive father later on, who talks about the shame he has in his “son.”
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