Eighteen-year-old Amanda Hardy is ready for a fresh start at Lambertville High School. After being severely bullied at her old school and ending up in the hospital with multiple injuries, Amanda wants nothing more but to survive her senior year and move far away from the south after graduation. However, unlike her life back in Smyrna, Georgia, Amanda is the new it-girl and is finally creating genuine friendships. Yet, she has a deep secret that she is desperately trying to keep from ruining her new life. In her old school, Amanda was known as Andrew. After meeting the cute and easygoing Grant, Amanda’s resolve is put to the test as she gets closer to him.
This book is absolutely a page-turner from the very beginning. However, what makes this publication so beautiful is that it is a fantastic work of fiction by an actual transgender author. In her debut novel, Meredith Russo perfectly communicates the experience of being a transgender teenager very clearly, while indirectly highlighting the importance of being true to oneself and maintaining a level of self-worth. I enjoyed this story so much because of what Amanda Hardy had to endure. In high school, bullying is a social norm, and Amanda—being as different as she is—makes for an easy target. Yet, it’s usually how one deals with being bullied that will either help them to push forward or lead them to fall apart. At the beginning of the story, we meet Amanda who is extremely terrified and shy, crumbling inside when she receives awkward looks or hurtful comments. But towards the end, Amanda develops the courage to be proud of who she is and refuses to apologize for choosing to live her true self.
This is a post I never thought I would write. I’m usually an expert on suppressing my true feelings, but recently, I’ve been in a constant battle with my emotions. I would burst into tears unsuspectingly, avoid spending time with friends, and hibernate in my room while contemplating the easiest, and most effective way, of hurting myself. Like in most cases, my depression is the result of a traumatic experience I endured near the beginning of this year. I had hoped by now that this devastating pain would just go away, but I’ve realized that rushing my recovery or denying my feelings won’t solve anything. Although it’s recommended to seek professional help when dealing with depression, reading is one of the few things that has helped me to stay afloat.
I have an embarrassing confession to make. August was not a good reading month for me. I read a total of two books — only two books! Now, before you start thinking that maybe they were two colossal novels, please don’t. That is way too kind of you. They were both under 400 pages. The first book was The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken and the second was Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott. However, I am determined to make sure I put up double digits this month — especially since I plan on reading a few thick books. Without further ado, here’s my reading list for this month.
Seventeen-year-olds, Stella Grant and Will Newman are cystic fibrosis (CF) patients who meet in a hospital where they experience falling in love for the first time while dealing with the uncertainty of their future. Stella’s a rule follower and control freak who is determined to increase her lung functionality in order to be approved for a lung transplant. She is meticulous in taking her medications and treatments, efficiently. Will, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He’s a rule breaker who is tired of medications, treatments, and drug trials, which are often unsuccessful. Since he has also contracted B. cepacia on top of having CF, Will’s goal is to travel the world and live life to the fullest until his very last breath. However, as the two get to know each other, feelings are developed and the physical barriers of remaining six feet apart are tested.