George, by Alex Gino; Scholastic
Press: New York, 2015; $16.99
George could not have come out at a better time. LGBT rights is an important issue, yet for kids unfamiliar with the acronym or those interested in the subject, like me, seeing this in a kids’ novel had never happened, until George. The main character of the book, George, is transgender. Because of this, I believe that George is a thought-provoking and fresh book for kids and teens of all ages.
George looks like a standard fourth-grade boy, short hair, freckles, and the parts that make a boy, a boy. But George knows on the inside that she is a girl. The annual school play of Charlotte’s Web is coming up and George and her friend Kelly are really excited for auditions. But George doesn’t want to play Wilbur. She wants to be Charlotte.
On a trip to the library, I picked up this book and got it, just because. Little did I know, this book would consume my life for four hours on an emotional journey through the mind of George. Cliffhangers propelled me through the book faster and faster. I struggled to find an explanation for my reading outburst until I broke it down.
Here are the three things that really won this book over for me: The characters, writing style, and plot. The characters in this book were realistic and relatable. Kelly is this lighthearted, kind, and caring friend, people we need more of in this world. I have a friend who is like Kelly. We were signing up for game workshops and I was in the library. I really wanted to play Capture the Flag, so I asked a favor of him. He actually crossed his name off the list so that I could play. I still need to repay him. Kelly is truly the hero of this book, making her my favorite character. The brother, Scott, I also find realistic. He really understands what George is dealing with, despite being a little shocked at first. My brother and I talk late at night and we talk about what’s happening in our lives and I feel that he understands me, unlike even the best of my friends. Scott and George feel like my brother and me a lot.
I love the plot in George for so many reasons. It’s simple, with only one goal and mission, giving it the opportunity to deeply tell the story of George. The other reason is it’s predictable, from start to finish. This allowed me to focus on those little moments and small details that I would otherwise miss.
The way Alex Gino wrote this book was very interesting. The book is written in a third-person viewpoint, but George’s character is written the way George identifies, as a girl. This makes this book confusing, but in the best of ways. But by the end of George, I had become so used to the idea of George as she is, that I didn’t notice.
I admit, I almost cried at the end. The ending is just so magical and so right for the book. I cannot express the emotions that seep through those words. In fact, the entire book is emotional, with triumphant moments and times of lonesome sorrow. And when you can feel those moments, where tears pool up in your eyes or when you scream out in joy for the character, that is the making of a good book. I used to find myself picking up books with awards to their names, but now I see that George is different. George is one of those amazing books left unrecognized.