Saturday, January 11, 2014


Title: Freakboy
Author: Kristin Elizabeth Clark
Number of Pages: 427
Date Read: 1/11/14
Genre: Realistic Fiction, GLBTQ

Synopsis (Found on

From the outside, Brendan Chase seems to have it pretty easy. He’s a star wrestler, a video game aficionado, and a loving boyfriend to his seemingly perfect match, Vanessa. But on the inside, Brendan struggles to understand why his body feels so wrongwhy he sometimes fantasizes having long hair, soft skin, and gentle curves. Is there even a name for guys like him? Guys who sometimes want to be girls? Or is Brendan just a freak?

In Freakboy's razor-sharp verse, Kristin Clark folds three narratives into one powerful story: Brendan trying to understand his sexual identity, Vanessa fighting to keep her and Brendan’s relationship alive, and Angel struggling to confront her demons.

My Review:

This is a very good and powerful book on the subject of transgender teens and what they go though. 

The book deals 3 characters. Brendan is a senior in High school who is questioning his gender and he is the main focus of the book. Vanessa is Brendan's girlfriend who knows something is up with Brendan but doesn't know what it is. Angel is a transgender female (she was born male) who works at a GLBTQ center, Willows, who helps Brandon and gives us insight to what she went through as a transgender teen.

The topic of this book is a big one and that is how do you know if you are in the right body when your mind tells you something else. Notice I'm saying IF your in the RIGHT body and not ARE in the WRONG body. Brendan doesn't exactly fall into the black and white transgender label. Brendan at times feels like he wants to be a girl and at other times feels like its ok being a guy. He fluctuates between both genders at one time feeling like a girl and others like a boy. This is different than knowing that you are really a girl or a boy. What Brendan feels is completely confusing because he doesn't know which gender is right for him. For him both genders have aspects that he feels are his. This book looks at how dealing with feeling like this can affect a person's mind, their school, their relationships and their lives. It shows how some people are not accepting of transgender or confused kids and how people can be down right cruel and nasty. Brendan's voice is of the present, with his confusing emotions happening now. Angel has already transgendered and her voice show us past hardships and the present of how it is finally being able to be the person who you really are. Vanessa's voice is of the person caught in the cross hairs, who knows that there is something wrong with the person they love but are denied the knowledge of what it is by that person because that person feels the need to lie to protect themselves. There is a lot of emotion in this book and you feel everything as the characters are feeling them and you can sympathize with them. This book tries to show readers how transgender people view themselves when they are confused and after they figured out who they are because unless you are a transgenders person you can never really know how they feel. 

I really liked Brendan. I felt bad for him because of his confusion. Brendan is not sure of his gender. He wants to have soft skin and long hair like a girl as well as have the shape of a female. However he says that he is not flamboyant and that he's not into heels, nail polish or skirts like girls are either. He says being a guy is ok at times but at others he wants to be a girl and he says that he is not like other transgender people where they knew from very young that they were in the wrong body. He is confused about his sexuality as well because he likes girls and not guys. He jokes near the end of the book that he might "be a lesbian". He has a girlfriend who he loves very much but he catches himself at times wishing to be her. Brendan's mind is a torturous one, constantly trying to forget about his feeling and trying to deny what he feels. He constantly thinks of himself as a freak, as ugly and doesn't want to look at himself. He is very moody and lies to his girlfriend Vanessa, because he doesn't want her to know what he feels for fear that she will hate him. His situation with her is very complicated because he is attracted to her and her does love her. Brendan's mind takes him to dangerous places but he finds help and friendship in Angel. I totally feel for Brendan and I can't imagine how it would feel to not know if your male or female. I mean I have always said that if I had a choice I would of wanted to be born a by but I can honestly say that I never thought that my gender was the wrong one. I just couldn't imagine how it would feel to just not know. I found myself wanted to comfort Brendan and to just be there for him. He really is a great character.

I felt for Vanessa as well because she loves Brendan so much and tries to be there for him and deals with his moods but he shuts her out. Its a hard feeling to feel helpless to help someone you love. Brendan ditches her many times because he is so depressed he just wants to go home and after many times of doing this Vanessa thinks he's cheating on her which I can say I would think also. Vanessa also has a hard time in the book because she's wondering about her relationship with Brendan and if he still loves her or if he's going to dump her. When she finally find out about Brendan she doesn't know what to say and her thoughts turn to things like "Did he ever really love me?", was he just using her and what does it say about her since she was with him. Their relationship is not really clear in the end. She tells Brendan that she isn't a lesbian but that she will always love him. They seem to end on a friendship note and I'm glad for that because Brendan needs people to be on his side. 

I liked Angel too. She is spunky and very confident in herself know that she knows who she is. She had a hard life and overcame many obstacles, some which cause physical pain and others that caused emotional pain. At the time in the book, Angel is in a good place in her life. She works in Willows GLBTQ center and is comfortable in how she sees herself. Angel was born a boy but knew from very young that she was a girl. She helps Branden as much as she can and offers him advice in what he should do and who he should talk to about his situation. 

I feel that is book is very powerful and moving and that all teens, not only transgender teens, should read this book so that they know what transgender people go through and it can educate them to be more open and not closed minded and cruel. I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it. 


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