Books out there that tackles this topic I think Talley tried her best However that doesn t mean this wasn t riddled with problems Misrepresenting people in an attempt to simply include diverse characters for the sake of ticking the diversity box and pumping out these sorts of books because we all want to read books with diversity is not the kind of representation that is neededPlease let me know in the comments if I ve made a mistake or need to clarify anything it was a little hard to put my thoughts together I mean no offense but please let me know if I have Thankyou HarleuinTeen Australia for providing me with a review copy This has in no way affected my review I agree with this review in every respect Still I will try to elaborate on my thoughtsThis book is problematic in ways than I can describe Do NOT look to this book to educate ou on the trans spectrum or the ueer community in general This is not good ueer representation even worse genderueer representation if it can even rightfully be called that and I would encourage ou to avoid it at all costs This is Glee in novel form it wants to be a catchall for ALL THE CHARACTERS all the identities all the ethnicities but it ends up having an overflowing cast of underdeveloped poorly represented characters who lack depth and complexity Again this book will NOT educate ou on the trans spectrum and what it means to identify as genderueer Genderueer is NOT a pit stop between binary identities Please don t pick up this book just because it s about an identity other than gay You will learn nothing about any identity mentioned in this bookThis book fails to acknowledge the complexity of identity and labels despite the fact that it s basically 400 pages of pure ueer angst at its most dramatic One can be trans and genderueer One can present as either masculine or feminine or mostly masculinefeminine and still be genderueer People who identify as genderueer can feel like they fit both parts of the binary or neither Further those of us in the ueer community who choose to use labels use the best labels that we know how at any given time it s not abnormal for someone to go through many labels in their lifetime Identity and sexuality is fluid people can spend their whole lives figuring it out Does this book acknowledge any of that NO This book fails to represent those who identify as genderueer in a true and nuanced way and if Lover of Thorns and Holy Gods (Wraith Kings, you know nothing about the identityou will walk away from this book confused than everThis narrative tries to merge prose and ueer theory under one cover but unfortunately every time any of the characters start thinking or talking about identitysexualitylabels the narrative becomes derailed and reads like a textbook or an academic article The theory feels forced and inorganic like it doesn t naturally fit in the story at all This story and this premise were basically created to serve as a soap box and honestly I feel like the author just used this book as opportunity to rant about ueer theory Subject should not overpower character The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey, yet in this case it does SignificantlyWhat s I could practically see Robin Talley checking off the diversity checklist before my eyes Tell me why both MCs in this book are rich white members of society who are basically gathering friends from every background imaginable just so they can step back and be like Ahes now my collection is complete Like I said a literary incarnation of Glee That s the most scathing remark I can manage to convey my disgustOn top of ALL OF THAT the characters are horrendous I appreciate how awful and unlikeable the two main characters are because it shows that members of the ueer community are not infallible we don t know everything we re just as confused about labels and theory as anyone else we make tons of mistakes Bearing that in mind the characters were still terrible and what s they were terribly written Cheesy and dramatic to a fault one dimensional self involved incapable of communicating participants in instalove I couldn t take either one of the main characters seriously Their problems were transparent and predictable from the very beginning and I didn t sense that they had changed much by the end of the story even though they finally had one real confrontationThere are so many little details that this book got absolutely wrong I could probably write a 20 page single spaced 05 margin essay describing exactly where this story went wrong but honestly I m exhausted and angry There are as many different experiences as there are people in the ueer community and this book fails to do justice to any of them Because there are so few mainstream YA novels about genderueer and trans characters the fact that this book fails to accurately represent either is that much upsetting I ve said it multiple times already but please do not I ve said it multiple times already but please do not into this book hoping to become further educated on the trans spectrum This is not good representationBiggest disappointment of the ear by far DNFThe writing in this book is uite poor I cannot finish it I received this free from the publishers via NetgalleyAll uotes are from my arc edition and may be subject to changeToni and Gretchen are the perfect couple They never fight and are expected to be together forever But then college comes along Gretchen to NYU and Toni to Harvard and they are sure they ll be ok However the distance does put a toll on their relationship Toni is genderueer and when T finds a sense of belonging with a group transgender upperclassman Gretchen struggles to find out who she is outside of their relationshipI adored Robin Talley s other novel Lies We Tell Ourselves so What We Left Behind was high on my anticipated reads for this ear However I was left extremely disappointed with this novelI m not massively educated on things like transgender or genderueer What We Left Behind suggests that those who identify as genderueer are just confused about their gender identity where as my impression was that those who are genderueer identifies with neither both or a combination of male and female genders However What We Left Behind seems to insinuate that it is a transitional period for people to decide which gender they belong to When talking about a transgender meeting this is said Come hang out with us T Pete calls We re having a support group meeting for the formerly genderueer The plot was also incredibly weak It actually read like a textbook on gender identity and sexual orientation and the only noticeable plot was the relationship between Toni and Gretchen which in itself was weakToni actually has uite a large disdain for straight and cis gendered and outright feminine girls and T won t give them the time of day for that exact reason Besides who the hell are they to talk Joanna gets up at six in the morning to start a ninety minute hair care regimen and Felicia wears designer high heels every day even though they always get caught in the sidewalks Joanna and Felicia are the ultimate gender conformists Neither of them has the right to talk about feminism until they stop posting pictures of themselves in bikinis I personally didn t know that not being feminine was a reuirement of being a feminist Why do they always have to dress that way Gretchen doesn t Neither does Ebony It s like Joanna and Felicia are trying to be as girly as humanly possible While some of the girls aren t nice people in general I think this is the wrong message to send to Who Is Esau-Edom? young people All girls don t have to dress the same Some are girly and some are not People dress and look differently Toni is really adverse to gender specific pronouns and gender specific labels and things in general Which is fine but T seems to want to force T s views on everyone else and tries to force labels on others and everyone T meets T tries to put them in a box and to see which box they fit into such as being transgender and cis etc and then T decides whether T wants to like them You couldn t tell about Eli soou were checking him out hard core for like ten minutes When Toni doesn t use pronouns for T s transgender friends and T gets called out on it as to why it is problematic and why it is important for them T still won t use pronouns for them for the sole reason as T doesn t like themToni also seems happy that T brings some LGBT diversity to T s roommates as if race and sexuality is some fashion label I m the only one of my roommates who s white Ebony and Felicia are both black and Joanna is Vietnamese I felt a little weird at first like I was boring next to them Then I remembered that I bring in the LGBTIA diversity angle so I
WAS STILL CONTRIBUTING ALSO GRETCHEN S still contributing Also Gretchen s friend is transphobic and it is never really addressed and Gretchen still continues to befriend him without addressing the issueOverall I wasn t particular impressed with most of this novel and it is a huge disappointment Perhaps i m wrong with what i m talking about so please do correct me and call me out if i ve said something wrongoffensive. Gles to remember who she is outside their relationshipWhile Toni worries that Gretchen who is not trans just won't understand what is going on Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni's life As distance and Toni's shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship the couple must decide have they grown apart for good or is love enough to keep them together. .
Hatev This might be my most disappointing read of 2015 I have been so excited for this book There are so few books out there about people who identify as genderueer that I couldn t wait for this book to be available But it did so many things wrongFirstly I knew early on that this wasn t going to get than three stars It read like a textbook or essay discussing and informing the reader about being transgender and being genderueer The story itself about Toni and Gretchen s relationship was weak and underdeveloped Starting with instalove and never growing into anything that interesting it merely served as a platform for the issues to be discussed But that wasn t a completely bad thing either I would have given this three stars if it educated teens about people so rarely represented in YAThere were many discussions about the fluidity of gender and language I found this latter particularly interesting and enjoyed learning about the ways language has changed to incorporate LGBTIA individuals and words like sexism and homophobia But the book started to really go downhill when it began to completely misrepresent what it means to be genderueerYou can read many blog posts and articles by people who identify as genderueer Gutter Kisses and a Hug on Garbage Day you can watch videos by those who are genderueer and hear firsthand what they have to say about it But to summarize being genderueer means thatou do not identify with masculinity or femininity My Name Is River you do not simply fall into either box This might be becauseou fall somewhere between the two having both traditionally masculine and feminine gender traits Or it might be because Crochet Pattern - Tutu Skirt for Onesie you findourself somewhere outside the expectations of eitherIt is not however a transition period in which Bad Pets you decide which genderou belong to And it annoys me so much that this book suggests genderueer people are those who haven t made their minds up which gender they want to be That is NOT true Just like bisexual people are not those who simply haven t decided whether they like girls or boys Running Your Best yetBut that s not all that bothered meI hated the disdain for every white heterosexual person in the book Both Toni and Gretchen comment on this Gretchen doesn t want to be straight because it s so normal and Toni comments on her roommates all being non white but is relieved she brings some LGBT diversity Sexuality and gender identity are not fashion statements It s not about being cool Bloody hellMy issue with this isn t because I feel so sorry for all the poor white heterosexual people it s because it sells the right wing misconception that gay or transgender people have disdain for straight cisgender people It s so stupid And so wrongI think the only straight cisgender character in the book that isn t mean is Toni s little sister Audrey Seriously I m not exaggerating The others are viewed like this Joanna gets up at six in the morning to start a ninety minute hair care regimen and Felicia wears designer high heels every day even though they always get caught in the sidewalks Joanna and Felicia are the ultimate gender conformists Neither of them has the right to talk about feminism until they stop posting pictures of themselves in bikinis Because feminists can t possibly want to be attractive and take pictures of themselves in bikinis right WrongI m also confused about the decision to have Gretchen befriend a homophobic transphobic guy who calls Toni a shemale I thought it was going to be part of a lessonmessage the book was imparting but nope she just decided she liked himThis book was just a complete mess I m so so disappointed I really am We need books with genderueer characters just not like thisBlog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube Pinterest I don t really know where to start with this review All I really know is I was SO excited to read this There is so little representation of people who identify as genderueer and I couldn t wait to get my hands on it but I ended up so incredibly disappointedAlso to note for the purposes of this review I will referring to Toni as T as to not spoil anythingTo start with the writing felt forced and read like a collection of short essays or even a textbook and there was barely any resemblance of a plot The plot essentially follows T and Gretchen s firstear of college apart from eachother and how this affects their relationship The plot was incredibly weak and essentially just served as a tool to try and educate readers about being genderueer or transgenderI wouldn t normally have a huge problem with this as this is so rarely discussed in YA or at all however among the info dumps about how things can be problematic was in turn pretty problematic in themselvesNow I understand that this might seem a bit rich coming from the mouth of a cis straight girl but I had a lot this might seem a bit rich coming from the mouth of a cis straight girl but I had a lot issues One of the main issues I had with this was the misrepresentation of what it means to be genderueer From my understanding genderueer is a kind of umbrella term for those whose gender identity is outside of not included within or beyond the binary of female and male It is also within My Understanding That Genderueer Is Not PURELY A Period In understanding that genderueer is not PURELY a period in The Fall Of White City (Victorian Chicago Mystery Series Book 1) you decide which genderou belong to This book implies that genderueer people just haven t made up their minds about which gender they d like to be kinda like how bisexual people just haven t made up whether they like men or women right rolls eyes T s friend group at Harvard consists largely of transgender people and it s fantastic to have such a huge cast of diverse characters instead of having just one or two here and there There is a lot of discussion about language and pronouns which I found somewhat interesting and T spends a giant chunk of the novel trying out several gender neutral pronouns to see what T likes As a general rule T hates pronouns which is fine However while experimenting with pronouns and deciding which ones fit best T also calls everybody by gender neutral pronouns and ends up misgendering as a result It would be one thing if this was a mistake but T continues to do so even after being called out on itThe conversation between T and a transguy in the group Andy goes along the lines of I never use gendered pronouns at all I don t want to reinforce the gender binaryAndy snorts Please Don t be one of those hypergenderueer people who s always ragging on the rest of us for wanting to look like guysThat s not what Toni said at all Derek says Relax dudeI m just saying I had to go through a lot of shit to get people to call me he Andy tells us I don t need some kid coming in here and deciding I don t get to just because binaries are evilFollowing that exchange and being called out on it T continues to call Andy whatever T likes and intentionally misgenders him among many other people It s just downright disrespectful to go OUT OF YOUR WAY to misgender someone particularly after they ve asked Please Dont Tickle The Tiger you not to andet T does it ALL THE TIMEAnother thing that really grinded my gears was how this book tried to portray feminism Two of the only cis straight females in this book apart from T s sister Audrey were straight up transphobic arseholes but also just served as a platform to have shitty views of what feminism means be thrown at us According to our main character feminists aren t allowed to conform to gender roles and aren t allowed to wear bikinis or take photos of themselves in them God forbid feminists are comfortable with their bodies and want to show themselves off Joanna gets up at six in the morning to start a ninety minute hair care regimen and Felicia wears designer high heels every day even though they always get caught in the sidewalks Joanna and Felicia are the ultimate gender conformists Neither of them has the right to talk about feminism until they stop posting pictures of themselves in bikinisAre You SeriousAs I previously mentioned I loved how many diverse characters there were however I didn t particular like how there is so much animosity toward white straight people not because I feel sorry for white straight people but because it reinforces the misconception that gay or transgender people harbor hatred toward white cisgendered straight people As a character Gretchen grew much so than T did I still didn t really like her and I am still trying to figure out why she decided to become best friends with a transphobic gay guy who regularly calls T a shemale Not once did Gretchen call him out on his fucking apalling behaviour and it just seemed so weird for this to be accepted by Gretchen of all peopleI could probably write a 10 page essay discussing why things in this book were problematic and how disappointed I am but I will stop here The truth is I am struggling to put my thoughts together coherently enough to even write this review I am so beyond disappointed and it worries me that authors or publishers will be hesitant to writepublish stories about genderueer or transgender characters because of how much of a disaster this one was Considering there are no other mainstream YA. O NYU they're sure they'll be fine Where other long distance relationships have fallen apart their relationship will surely thriveThe reality of being apart however is a lot different than they expected As Toni who identifies as genderueer falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing Gretchen strug. I read the ARC of this book and I m really disappointed in it I think I would ve liked it except The genderueer representation is not good at all First I m going to refer to the genderueer character only as T through this review so as not to spoil things T does the WORST thing that reinforces the WORST stereotype about genderueer people T acts like a hipster babydyke another character s word not mine and goes around calling everyone by gender neutral pronouns until the very end of the novel It would be one thing if this was a mistake but T continues doing so even after one of the transguys explains why it s hurtful for many people and why it s not okay Secondly T is portrayed consistently as confused This is fine I ve been plenty confused about gender identity myself I have identified as genderueer since high school but it is not okay repeat not okay for an author to portray a character as officially genderueer and then have their thought process be I think I might be transgender and I might want to transition ftm I might want to go on hormones I might get surgery but then again I might just be gender variant T s word or gender nonconforming also T s word but I m not sure right now I m really confused so I m just going to go with genderueerBeing genderueer is in one sense a lot like being bi many many people will go out of their way to tell MTIV you it s not a real identity it s transitional thatou re really just confused For a book to clearly present a character all the way to the end in a manner that reinforces all those toxic stereotypes is really problematic There is even a point where transguys in the group invite T to come over joking that they are having a meeting of the formerly genderueer If we re trying to be representative of an identity genderueer then this is not okayI think what happened is that the author was trying to subvert a stereotype but ended up playing right into it In fact SPOILER ALERT the book ends with T saying I m still not sure I m still confused I m still figuring things out Again confusion is fine Everybody is always figuring things out But if that s the case say the character is confused about their gender identity do NOT call them genderueer Genderueer is a real live identity that real live people who aren t confused live every single day Finally while this book DOES present some of the frustration and worry associated with being non binary in an accurate way that s the only thing it presents Lots of confusion lots of frustration and lots of negativity The only time T talks about actually feeling good is when T spends the weekend presenting completely 100% as male Which again is fine but then don t say the character is genderueer That s not what genderueer is Being genderueer comes with some frustrations but it also comes with some wonderful feelings and really self defining and affirming emotions WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND didn t touch on these feelings at all and honestly to me T doesn t come across as genderueerAfter all that I love Gretchen s character I think she grows and changes and I love her chapters I admire her courage to set out on her own even though it was difficult and I think she grows into a strong person who stands up for herself and chases the things that are important to her This is not positive representation of what it means to be genderueer If International Organizations you were attracted to this book in part because Toni is genderueer What We Left Behind will only leaveou disappointed and enraged because it is used interchangably with being trans and generally treated as a transitional stage or a place Laurus you are whenou aren t certain not as its own gender identity Repeatedly characters use the wrong pronouns for someone get corrected and continue to use the wrong pronouns anyway and never get called out for it again As arbitrary as language is respect the language someone else uses okay This book will contain spoilers and uotes from the bookWhen a book opened up with a relatable litany such as these You re bound to think Oh hell Silk and Steel yes This shit might be good It better be goodHowever What We Left Behind drastically failed in every standard that I was highly holding itself into There are a lot of offensive and alarming situations that made my skin crawledThere is a prominent character in the story named Caroll He is gay and he keeps using transphobic and lespobic slurs He never got called out for that Being part of the LGBT community doesn t giveou the right to undermine Het Reservaat Van Ward Ruyslinck your peers especially sinceou have an inkling about each other s struggles He could also be seen a handful of times saying really awful transphobic shit being passed as a cheap joke There should ve been a trigger warning for thisAn icing on top one of the character also said something very biphobic Alas this character also never got called out I nod So is Inez bi or what Last I heard she identifies as heteroflexible Derek laughs again So she s a step up for me My last relationship ended because it turned out his idea of bi meant screwing every other guy within a hundred foot radius and then lying about it I pause with my drink halfway to my mouth Wait what did ou say
Oh it s nothing bad Heteroflexible means she mostly likes guys but notit s nothing bad Heteroflexible means she mostly likes guys but not She thinks it s accurate for her than bi I understand books aren t perfect but when ou re representing a single group Simply Irresistible (Girl Friends you don t have to throw the rest of the LGBT clause under the bus to makeour book relatableThe prose the author was aiming to deliver was about how difficult it is to figure out Miracles in Unexpected Places your sexuality and gender identity It s daunting and confusing Though sadly the execution of it was perplexing instead of being enlightened I feel oddly winded up I see that s the reason why a lot of readers felt bereft with What We Left BehindLastly the relationship between the two main characters had so much potential But once again it failed disastrously There s a lot of undermining on both of their parts it s painstaking to read Ifou re looking for a book with a good ff or wlw this is not it I supposed the purpose of it was to show how to navigate relationship when ou re a teen Even though that s the case Gretchen easily become very dear to me I just wish the story was fleshed outJessie Devine s and Adriana s review perfectly captured what went wrong with What We Left Behind I highly recommend reading their nuanced thoughts Another YA book by the fabulous Robin Talley and it s involving not only homosexuality but transsexuality Review to comeOkay I ve been looking forward to this review mainly because I have a lot to say So lately I ve been reading a lot of LGBT to broaden my horizons Unfortunately I haven t liked many of the books in that genre This book was one of those booksPlot So this book was about a LESBIAN COUPLE WHO BASICALLY HAVE THEIR ENTIRE LIVES PLANNED couple who basically have their entire lives planned together The two girls names are Gretchen and Toni Toni is struggling to find out who she is and identifying as genderueer because she doesn t feel male or female Toni is going to be attending Harvard while Gretchen is going to Tufts near by Although when Gretchen unexpectedly gets taken off the wait list for NYU she decides she wants to go there But she doesn t tell Toni until the night before they leave for college Naturally Toni is pissed but doesn t show it Apparently this couple never fight Never Is that even possible They ve been dating two ears and haven t had an argument Okay so now all the problems I had with this book1 They most be all super smart Like the only colleges mentioned were Harvard BU NYU Tufts and Yale which I know are all extremely hard schools to get into Also they were like the only colleges I knew when I was little meaning they re very well known had seemed to be picked just because they re well known 2 Toni goes to Harvard but never goes to class They complain about homework and studyingbut that s it Like not a single class or teacher was mentioned I feel like in these books there s always a supportive teacher to guide the students way through life and accepting who Japji you are 3 Again the fact they never fight My last complaint is how confusing it was There are so many characters and they were all introduced at once Most of the characters were LGBT but it was hard to figure out if they were trans or bi or gay or lesbian or genderueer like Toni It was never clearly specified what the multiple characters identify as and I kind of had to figure it out myself Also Toni and Gretchen both had close guy friends at their separate school but for some reason I kept getting them confused Overall I really liked the idea of this book but I was just very confused and felt like there were a lot of loose ends likeDoes Gretchen ever rekindle her friendship with her best friend at NYU sorry I forgot his nameWhat happens with Tony and his momDoes Tony get the surgeryAre Tony and Gretchen back togetherWho really cares about Chris s relationship with SteveWould Gretchen still be lesbian if she s dating a trans woman or man From the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves comes an emotional empowering story of what happens when love isn't enough to conuer allToni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school They've been together forever They never fight They're deeply hopelessly in love When they separate for their firstear at college Toni to Harvard and Gretchen ,