Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
(Flux, 2012, 262 pages)
This young adult novel is a quick read that tells a moving story. Gabe is in the process of transitioning – he was born Elizabeth but has never identified with being a girl. As his senior year comes to an end Gabe has made the decision to start the process of embracing his true identity. With the help of his best friend, his music-obsessed neighbor, and the late-night radio show he gets the chance to host Gabe feels like the transitioning process might actually be doable. Unfortunately he has to deal with confused family members and kids at his school who can’t understand what’s happening to the “Liz” they used to know.
The world is gradually getting more accepting, but books like Beautiful Music for Ugly Children make the realities of what it’s like to grow up in a body you don’t identify with more accessible to those who don’t really have a good frame of reference. Cronn-Mills shows you the world through Gabe’s eyes. He’s able to find a certain amount of solace through music but he wants nothing more than to be accepted for the person he’s always seen himself as being.
This is a great read for teens and adults.