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Between Perfect and Real



by
Ray Stoeve

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Abrams
Imprint
Amulet
ISBN
9781419746017
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Language: Strong Language, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Marijuana Use, Discrimination: Gender Identity, Discrimination: Sexuality, Violence: General
$21.42   $17.85
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QTY

JLG Category

City High School

A moving YA debut about a trans boy finding his voice—and himself.

Dean Foster knows he’s a trans guy. He’s watched enough YouTube videos and done enough questioning to be sure. But everyone at his high school thinks he’s a lesbian—including his girlfriend Zoe, and his theater director, who just cast him as a “nontraditional” Romeo. He wonders if maybe it would be easier to wait until college to come out. But as he plays Romeo every day in rehearsals, Dean realizes he wants everyone to see him as he really is now––not just on the stage, but everywhere in his life. Dean knows what he needs to do. Can playing a role help Dean be his true self.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Language: Strong Language, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Marijuana Use, Discrimination: Gender Identity, Discrimination: Sexuality, Violence: General

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

304

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Jul 2021

Book Genres

Realistic Fiction

Topics

Transgender people. Identity. Theater. High schools. LGBTQ. Coming out (sexual orientation). Seattle, Washington.

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–When Dean is unexpectedly cast as Romeo in the high school play, he realizes that he’s a trans man. The plot follows the five-act structure of Romeo and Juliet as Dean goes through the process of finding himself and coming out all over again during rehearsals and performances for the play. Throughout the story, Dean’s friends, girlfriend, and drama teacher affirm his identity, with some challenges, while Dean’s parents struggle more with the news. While Dean is bullied by one classmate and has a fight with his mom, by and large the adults and teens in his life range from moderately to extremely supportive, and while no one else in Dean’s life or school is trans, he is able to find a trans community in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Dean’s process of figuring out his identity and his love of acting will be relatable to many teens, and Stoeve does not shy away from the nuances of navigating life after coming out. Dean and his family are identified as white, while his friends have a variety of racial identities. VERDICT A coming-out story with a nod to Romeo and Juliet. Recommended for purchase.–Kelsey Socha, Westfield Athenaeum, Westfield, MA

Horn Book

Until senior year, seventeen-year-old Dean had identified as a “tomboy lesbian” but now increasingly identifies as a guy. When a forward-looking theater teacher casts him as Romeo in a production of Romeo and Juliet, Dean, who finally feels like himself in the role, comes out as transgender. Each new step—changing his pronouns, getting a chest binder—makes him feel more comfortable in his body, as does acceptance by his best friend and the new friends he makes in a support group. But his relationship with his girlfriend deteriorates (she’s a lesbian who, understandably, struggles with Dean’s transition: “I don’t want to be some guy’s girlfriend”), and he worries about how his parents will react. Dean authentically and accessibly describes his experience as a trans man; his body, for example, “literally doesn’t fit me. Like it’s a piece of clothing that shrank in the dryer. It’s not terrible most of the time, but it’s weird.” Dean’s story demonstrates the courage that it takes to come out: he faces loneliness, a breakup, and bullying, and knows that it could be even worse (the film Boys Don’t Cry helped Dean understand that he was trans). But by year’s end, he sees freedom and possibility in life after high school: “I’m closer to being myself than I ever have been…I wouldn’t trade who I am for anything.” RACHEL L. SMITH

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–When Dean is unexpectedly cast as Romeo in the high school play, he realizes that he’s a trans man. The plot follows the five-act structure of Romeo and Juliet as Dean goes through the process of finding himself and coming out all over again during rehearsals and performances for the play. Throughout the story, Dean’s friends, girlfriend, and drama teacher affirm his identity, with some challenges, while Dean’s parents struggle more with the news. While Dean is bullied by one classmate and has a fight with his mom, by and large the adults and teens in his life range from moderately to extremely supportive, and while no one else in Dean’s life or school is trans, he is able to find a trans community in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Dean’s process of figuring out his identity and his love of acting will be relatable to many teens, and Stoeve does not shy away from the nuances of navigating life after coming out. Dean and his family are identified as white, while his friends have a variety of racial identities. VERDICT A coming-out story with a nod to Romeo and Juliet. Recommended for purchase.–Kelsey Socha, Westfield Athenaeum, Westfield, MA

Horn Book

Until senior year, seventeen-year-old Dean had identified as a “tomboy lesbian” but now increasingly identifies as a guy. When a forward-looking theater teacher casts him as Romeo in a production of Romeo and Juliet, Dean, who finally feels like himself in the role, comes out as transgender. Each new step—changing his pronouns, getting a chest binder—makes him feel more comfortable in his body, as does acceptance by his best friend and the new friends he makes in a support group. But his relationship with his girlfriend deteriorates (she’s a lesbian who, understandably, struggles with Dean’s transition: “I don’t want to be some guy’s girlfriend”), and he worries about how his parents will react. Dean authentically and accessibly describes his experience as a trans man; his body, for example, “literally doesn’t fit me. Like it’s a piece of clothing that shrank in the dryer. It’s not terrible most of the time, but it’s weird.” Dean’s story demonstrates the courage that it takes to come out: he faces loneliness, a breakup, and bullying, and knows that it could be even worse (the film Boys Don’t Cry helped Dean understand that he was trans). But by year’s end, he sees freedom and possibility in life after high school: “I’m closer to being myself than I ever have been…I wouldn’t trade who I am for anything.” RACHEL L. SMITH

Grades 10 & Up
City High School
For Grades 10 & Up

Teen readers looking for realistic city settings and urban themes will enjoy these often-gritty titles that deal with contemporary situations and feature ethnically and culturally diverse characters. These titles will have special appeal for urban teens who want to see their own lives reflected in the books they read. Readers interested in the excitement and challenges of a city setting will also be drawn to the 12 books that comprise this category.

12 books per Year
$214.20 per Year
Interests
Diversity,Fiction,Mature Readers,LGBTQ+,Novels,Realistic Fiction
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City High School
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