Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Adam by Ariel Schrag

Adam learns a lot during the summer he spends with his older sister Casey in New York City. It's the kind of experience a 17-year-old guy will never forget: a taste of independence, the big city, a rapidly expanding worldview, first love, sex! ... and being mistaken as trans.

Casey's queer, and she introduces Adam to friends of all genders, proclivities, orientations, and pronouns. When he meets the girl of his dreams at a lesbian party (hoping she's bisexual), he doesn't correct her assumptions that he's twenty-something and transitioning to male. It's a recipe for disaster with all the miscues and fumbles you might expect, but Adam also gains insight, empathy, and a few other important life skills.

This could be a teen book, but it's pretty explicit when it comes to some sex matters (this is an obvious concern to the characters); the library copy I borrowed had been cataloged as adult fiction. This book's not for the prudish, but the sex isn't gratuitous and the experiences all add to Adam's enlightenment (and perhaps the reader's, too).

I enjoyed the book, and my only complaint was that the center section (and Adam's deceit) dragged on a bit long. Schrag does a nice job integrating sensitive information and cultural context into the storyline without halting the action to give a lecture, and I felt the characters were relatable and realistic.

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