Welcome to the Sunday Street Team! I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. It was so good, and beautifully written! I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.
Title: Symptoms of Being Human
Author: Jeff Garvin
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: February 2, 2016
Summary (via Goodreads): The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?
Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.
On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.
I really loved this book. I was so happy that I was part of the Sunday Street Team for this book, and was able to review an eARC from Edelweiss. This book was definitely 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
This is a diverse novel, with the main character identifying as gender fluid. The story really sucks you in. A few things throughout the book were kind of predictable, at least to me, but I think I’m a pretty good guesser at what’s going to happen in a book. I loved seeing the world through Riley’s eyes, learning more about what being gender fluid really means. The writing was unique and absolutely beautiful. My stomach was full of butterflies, and a smile overtook my face often while reading. I even cried some.
Besides my enormous love for Riley, I really liked Bec as well. Solo was okay at parts, especially towards the last half of the book. Riley’s parents annoyed me here and there throughout the book. They were too demanding; helicopter parents always hovering and bugging Riley. I thought the blog posts were really interesting and informative. The romance wasn’t very prominent in the book, but I loved it nevertheless. The pairing was absolutely adorable.
I didn’t find any book boyfriends in this book, but it was definitely still worth the read. The parts where I cried, my heart felt like it was breaking. I don’t want to say what happened, because it would spoil the book, but wow, just wow.
Some of my favorite lines: “‘Why does that make you think I’m from the Midwest?’ Solo shrugs. ‘Where else could you develop such contempt for traditional American values?'” and “Ten minutes later we’re speeding down the freeway, Solo’s hatchback shuddering like a porta-potty in a 5.0 magnitude earthquake.” and “‘As for wondering if it’s okay to be who you are–that’s not a symptom of mental illness. That’s a symptom of being a person.'”
Final note: Jeff did an amazing job with his debut book, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who loves diverse books. I loved it so much that I had to buy a hardcover copy for my personal library! Check it out!
Before becoming a novelist, Jeff Garvin acted on TV and toured as the lead singer of a rock band. He has a BFA in Film from Chapman University and lives in Southern California, surrounded by adorable, shedding beasts.