Saturday, April 25, 2015

Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

How different would your life be if one thing could have happened another way or not happened at all? In Fiona's case, it is the accident - when she was five she burned her face leaving it scarred. She says she doesn't think about the 'what if...', but we get to see it for her.

This story alternates between Fiona, the girl with the scar, and Fi, the girl who never got burned. How much difference can living with a scar make? Fiona is more withdrawn and spends her time writing songs that she would never sing for anyone - it would mean opening herself up to others. She has spent her life being noticed and wants to draw as little attention to herself as possible.

Fi is a star lacrosse player. Although Fiona had the desire, getting hit in the face was too much of a risk for sports. Fi lives for lacrosse and is hoping to earn a scholarship to Northwestern. She hangs out with other popular athletes.

Fiona's grades are excellent; Fi needs to work harder. Fiona has a crush on Trent and has barely spoken to him; Fi and Trent are fellow athletes and best friends. Fiona's best friend is Lucy; Fi and Lucy can't stand each other.

Is Fi's life better without the scar? Would Fiona get rid of the scar if she could? It is a story with many questions and (fortunately) answers. It is sometimes confusing going back and forth between the different versions of Fiona (with the same people inhabiting her lives), but it is an intriguing story that make you ponder 'what if's...' about your own life.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and author's site.




Sunday, April 12, 2015

Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

Alex was born with a rare condition that makes her physically both a boy and a girl. When she was very young, her parents decided to raise her as a boy, but at fifteen she knows she's a girl. She stops taking her hormone medicine and starts wearing girl clothes. Her mother freaks out (as usual) and her dad walks out.

Alex enrolls herself in a new school where no one knows the truth or that she was recently a boy. Her hopes for a clean beginning are dashed when the school asks for a birth certificate. It's not her fault she was declared a boy at birth, but it is her burden to bear. Alex stops at the first barrister (aka lawyer) she sees to learn how she can change her birth certificate.

Even though Alex lives in constant fear of being discovered, she likes her new school. She meets a group of friends including the beautiful Amina (yes, Alex is crushing on her from their first meeting). She gets the opportunity to be a model and wear amazing clothes and make up. It is such a girly thing to do and Alex loves it.

Alex's parents have never dealt with her condition in the best way for Alex, and this new decision has pushed them beyond their limits. Her mother (who we follow in her blog posts) is convinced it's just a phase and Alex is too young to know what 'he' really wants. Her judgment is questionable at best. Alex's father tries and is more accepting but still struggles with the change. Of course, guilt is weighing on them as well.

Alex has had a tough road and it's never going to be as easy as it should be. Society has a difficult time dealing with things that do not mesh with the perceived norm. Alex is just another teen with more obstacles than most struggling to find her place in the world.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's blog.