Book Review: “I am J”
Reviewed by Ehis Osifo, 16
In Cris Beam's I Am J, we meet Jennifer Silver, aka J. J is transgender or, in J's words, “a boy trapped in a girl's body.” J faces identity problems, unaware that there are other people in the world just like him. His best friend abandons him and he feels a growing distance forming between him and his parents, so he runs away. But through the guidance of a fellow transgender, the “rainbow” school, and a girl named Blue, J learns that he's not alone in the world and that there are people who will accept him for him.
Cris Beam does a wonderful job of navigating one of the biggest problems in the LGBTQ community: societal rejection. Beam accurately portrays the daily struggles that many transgender youth endure. Besides dealing with being a high school senior in New York City, J has to deal with coming out to his harsh father and Catholic mother.
Even though I can't say that I understand what J is going through firsthand, I can say that J's story resonated with me. It pained me every time he was tormented, bullied, and rejected because of who he is. It opened my eyes to his strength and the strength of others in the LGBTQ community who must face in real life what J faced in the novel.
I Am J is an eye-opening coming-of-age novel that truly captures the essence of not only a young teen, but a transgender who is trying to find his place in the world. Beam's novel will have you questioning preconceived notions and feeling all the more sympathy toward those seeking acceptance in the world.
This book is part of our Summer Book Buzz series. Click here to read more reviews and our summer reading recommendations!
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