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Month in review

Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi
The Dastardly Deed by Holly Grant
Dragon Overnight by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and, Emily Jenkins
Fax Me a Bagel by Sharon Kahn
Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks by Victoria J. Coe
The Final Kingdom by Michael Northrop
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford
The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley
Hamster Princess: Whiskerella by Ursula Vernon
Haunting Jordan by P.J. Alderman
Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann
The Maze in the Mind and the World: Labyrinths in Modern Literature by Donald Gutierrez
Miss Pickerell Harvests the Sea by Ellen MacGregor and Dora Pantell
Mr. Pants: It's Go Time! by Scott McCormick
My Little Pony: Micro-Series: #1: Twilight Sparkle by Thomas Zahler
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Noragami: Stray God Volume 4 by Adachitoka
The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey
Ruby Lee and Me by Shannon Hitchcock
Rueful Death by Susan Wittig Albert
The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla
Stanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla
Three Years with the Rat by Jay Hosking
Voltron Legendary Defender Volume 2: The Pilgrimage by Tim Hedrick
The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (February 05)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (February 12) It's Monday, What Are You Reading (February 19)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (February 26)
January 2018 Sources
January 2018 Summary

Road Essays
Gender in Ozma of Oz
The Splendid Dystopia in the Marvelous Land of Oz
Unmappable structures: Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

The Other Boy: 02/19/18

The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey

The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey is set at the building of the Berlin wall, in East Berlin, with a family physically divided by the wall.

The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey is about a star pitcher on a middle school baseball team. In his spare time he is also drawing a graphic novel for fun. There's just one problem — he's transgender and some bullies have found out. Worse yet, his dad doesn't want him to start hormone therapy to stop puberty.

As a baseball story — a kid facing bullying on and off the team — it's decent. As a story about a nerd being socially awkward and finding solace in his artwork, it's decent.

It's nice to see a male character as the transgender female stories seem to outnumber the boy ones. The book includes some resources in an appendix to kids or their parents who might be seeking advice.

But the story falls back on tropes. There is the one parent who doesn't want their child to start hormone therapy. There are the over the top bullies. There is the permissive school administration who doesn't step into stop the bullying until forced to.

Mostly though there is the cut and dry assumed gender binary. There are boys. There are girls. And there those who feel their body doesn't fit their perceived gender. There's never any gray area in these books.

Eventually I hope there can be transgender characters in middle grade fiction where their status as a transgender child or teen isn't the point. Let them live in their fictional world.

Four stars

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