Description from 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.
Amaya's thoughts about the book:
Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin is a beautifully crafted, awakening novel on gender identity, the LGBTQ community and Riley Cavanaugh who is punk rock, spunky, rebellious. Riley also happens to be gender fluid. Specific days Riley wakes up feeling the different gender identities of a boy and others as a girl. But, Riley’s identity is secret and with her father running for re-election for the Conservative Orange County it becomes a bit hectic and overwhelming for Riley. Taking the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to get out her pent up feelings which soon goes viral and a mysterious stalker threatens to out her. Will Riley delete the blog and give up everything she created- advice for strangers, new friends, a community where she feels she belongs or will she stand up and give society the finger.
Symptoms makes you a better person for even had read it. The novel makes you realize how you see a person and how gender has nothing to do with the person you see. This book will leave you wanting more. I haven’t read a book like this in a long time, years even. Truly remarkable masterpiece, you’ll just have to take a step back at the end of the novel and say “WOW” and just sit in revelation of the book nothing else needed to being said. Note to the reader: I used the pronoun “her” in my review purely as a writing function but Riley’s identity is never revealed.
Books similar to Symptoms of Being Human: Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Ask the Passengers by A.S. King.
About the author:
Before becoming a writer, Jeff Garvin acted in films and TV and was the front man of a nationally touring rock band. He has a BFA in film from Chapman University and lives in Southern California, surrounded by adorable, shedding beasts. Symptoms of Being Human is his first novel.
Amaya is a high school senior and an avid reader sharing her favorite YA reads with readers on Fridays.