Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Almost Perfect-- Brian Katcher

Logan is an average guy living in a tiny town in middle America. He is trudging through his senior year of high school, trying to get over his ex-girlfriend, and thinking about the day he can move out of the trailer he shares with his mother.

When Sage shows up, everyone in Logan's high school notices. Sage loves colorful, homemade clothing, is taller than the average girl, and is distinctly feminine in a way Logan isn't used to. Although he is still wrestling with his feelings about his ex, Logan is totally sucked in by Sage's charisma, and develops true feelings for her. Although Sage is super flirty with him, when Logan tries to kiss her or hold her hand in public, she pulls away. Finally, after the hot-and-cold games start to drive both of them insane, Sage confesses a secret that changes the way Logan looks at the world forever: Although Sage identifies as, and is a totally convincing girl, she was born with boy parts and is still biologically male.

As a person who grew up in the Midwest, I know how deeply conservative thought can run. When generations of families have a singular perspective and then someone rocks the boat, that person is usually persecuted in some way. In Almost Perfect, I feel that Brian Katcher successfully captures what it would feel like to be Logan... a small town kid who doesn't even know a single gay person (so he thinks...) all of a sudden hooked up with a transgendered person... this is a big deal. Logan's voice and character are not extremely compelling, but his character almost works as a canvas onto which Sage's story is painted. There is nothing gratuitous in this book, and it could be recommended to younger teens in addition to older teens. Fans of Julie Anne Peter's Luna will enjoy this book.

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