I’ve never wanted to homeschool a main character so much in my life until I read Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin. Is Riley a girl or a boy? That’s a pivotal question hovering on every page of this, at times, heart-breaking novel. All the reader knows is that Riley himself/herself has difficulty with the answer, because Riley is gender fluid. For Riley, the dial between masculine and feminine is constantly changing. Some days Riley wakes up feeling like a boy, and on others Riley feels like a girl. But every day, Riley has to brave high school, which SUCKS.
The author did a tremendous amount of research while writing this book, and handles sensitive subjects in a responsible way, including hate crimes and violence against LGBT people, which is a well-documented issue in our country. It’s also really clear that Riley is not choosing to be gender fluid. There is no magic wand or Bible verse to make Riley’s struggles go away. Riley’s best hopes are for the people around Riley to offer love and understanding. But love and understanding are hard to come by, especially for teenagers.
Symptoms of Being Human deservers a place in every highs school library in America. Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions and review.