No. of pages: 224
Alex is ready for things to change, in a big way. Everyone seems to think she’s a boy, but for Alex the whole boy/girl thing isn’t as simple as either/or, and when she decides girl is closer to the truth, no one knows how to react, least of all her parents. Undeterred, Alex begins to create a new identity for herself: ditching one school, enrolling in another, and throwing out most of her clothes. But the other Alex—the boy Alex—has a lot to say about that. Heartbreaking and droll in equal measures, Alex As Well is a brilliantly told story of exploring gender and sexuality, navigating friendships, and finding a place to belong.
It’s been a very long while since a book elicited feelings of distaste, outright hatred and deplorability – and ‘Alex as Well’ did just that – for all the right reasons.
Alex was a little hard to relate to – but I grew to like her. Some of her behaviour, on the surface, is weird and distances the reader from the story… but if you ask why she’s acting in a certain way – and pick up on other clues – it all makes sense. Though at first glance I was like ‘what tha?’ The great thing in not giving you all the answers – this is just one girl’s story. If you read intelligently, because Alex herself does not possess the knowledge behind her behaviour, the reasons for every small action are there. This is really a very clever book.
There was a little overkill, or extreme measures in some areas of the plot – but I felt it worked in the context: to highlight Alex’s plight in dramatic manner. Any other method would have diminished the prejudice Alex needs to face.
The alternate POV just about killed me – such a distinct voice apart from Alex that slowly sheds light on a different kind of naivety. How the uneducated really should learn to keep their mouths shut until they get the facts. So many people form opinions on their ungrounded assumptions. It is annoyingly obvious in ‘Alex as Well.’ I really wanted to scream at the book to wake up to some of the idiotic comments on the page.
The change in narrative works expertly, you get a different kind of stress, all adding to the pace of the story line.
The whole book really encapsulates the phrase “nobody’s perfect.” Some other issues were touched on but not fully developed, like bullying and certain friend/relationships… but the search for self, identity and empowerment is a great one.
A short novel I read in one sitting in one day – something I’d recommend to challenge your perception a little. A valuable addition to any GLBT+ catalogue in you library.
Overall feeling: Blew my mind (expanded my awareness)
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