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Choir Boy

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  105 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Twelve-year-old choirboy Berry wants nothing more than to remain a choirboy. Choral music and the prospect of divinity thrill him. Desperate to keep his voice from changing, he tries unsuccessfully to castrate himself, and then convinces a clinic to treat him as a transsexual. Berry begins a series of hormone pills, which keep his voice from deepening but also cause him to ...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published April 8th 2005 by Soft Skull Press (first published April 5th 2005)
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56th out of 216 books — 299 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 504)
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Dec 28, 2009 Imogen rated it it was ok
I don't want to talk a bunch of shit, because obviously Charlie Anders the person and activist is a friggin wonderful genius, so I'm just going to make one point:

I know a lot of transsexual women. (I may even know more transsexual women than most people.) A majority of those transsexual women that I know are not irresponsible, high femme sex workers, but you wouldn't know that from reading books, would you?
Aug 31, 2007 Beth rated it it was ok
Choir Boy is a poorly written, great story.
Why does this keep happening to me.
The premise is pretty hilarious, yet as the book rolls on its less and less so.
Not screwed up enough to hold my attention I suppose.
But I had to finish it because I have stopped half way into 2 books this summer...........
A gonzo Confederacy of Dunces mixed with Sarah, Choir Boy combines off-kilter humor and its own brand of modern day magic in a rollicking, bittersweet story about growing up different. Twelve year old Berry wants nothing more than to remain a choir boy. Choral music and the prospect of divinity thrill him. His fellow humans-from his feuding parents to the teenage transsexual prostitute who befriends him-always let him down. So in an effort to prevent his approaching puberty and exile from the ch ...more
Lil' Grogan
Jun 19, 2011 Lil' Grogan rated it really liked it
Shelves: hmmm, 4-5, trans, chokle, comedy
Berry, a 13 year old choir boy, just wants to keep singing in his beautiful boy soprano. Well-meaning Maura leads him through the path of hormone pills, and while Berry's voice isn't changing, he's developing breasts. It's when Berry starts letting other people in on his secret that the chaos really starts. He doesn't so much want to be a girl, as the females in his life push him into being one. He doesn't really see why he should be treated differently, but others around him are trying to categ ...more
Nov 18, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: transgender
Berry wants to remain a choirboy forever, but his voice is near to changing. After a failed attempt to solve the problem with some impulsive self-surgery, he learns about drugs. But in order to get the drugs, he has to say he wants to be a girl. So he ends up with drugs that save his voice, but also give him breasts.

I had trouble getting into this book at first, because it was all about choirs and choirboys, and well, that was not interesting me. But I picked the book up again and got to the par
James Warner
May 09, 2011 James Warner rated it it was amazing
An alternative Young Adult novel, about finding a community when you're different, about trying to retain your own voice in the face of the onslaught of adolescence. Kept edgy by frequent flashes of Anders's crazed humor -- "Did you know the pygmy shark eats its own young unless they disguise themselves as fecal matter?" In this spirit, parents and other authority figures are portrayed as dangerous, so that camouflage is advisable -- but fortunately the authority figures soon turn out to be at l ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, queer, novel, contemporary
It's funny how this book, which broke ground as the first YA trans novel, can seem dated a mere 3 years later. While the book was interesting, it is not the best thing out there for trans teens anymore. Watching the main character Berry bumble through his mixed reasons for taking T or his ambivalence at being a woman or his insane parents is just painful at times. The overall sense of whimsy is hard to maintain over the course of the novel and some of the characters are just so baffling that it ...more
Jul 18, 2012 Jan rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this boisterous trangender teen romp from our friendly acquaintance, Facebook friend and fellow San Franciscan (at least part-time) Charlie Anders. Bicoastal, bisexual, editor of *other* magazine, Charlie's prose will have you rolling on the floor. As a female alto who always wanted to be a boy soprano, I was truly touched by this story of a choir boy who doesn't want to lose his beautiful treble voice -- and is willing to take hormones to keep it.
Jun 10, 2009 J. rated it it was ok
A really fantastic concept, and a protagonist that I really felt a great deal of empathy for, but the writing buries both under trivialities; more like a series of vignettes than a novel (which can work in a postmodern sense, but doesn't, here). Kind of upsetting, too, because I really wanted to like this novel when I started but after 100 pages I pulled the ripcord. A lot of potential for this author, so keep an eye out for more work, but this novel? Not so much.
Joe McKee
Feb 18, 2009 Joe McKee rated it it was amazing
Choir Boy makes you cringe and laugh at the same time. This book is like a bad dream and an action movie roled into one. Berry is a wonderful hero/punching bag. His voice is the vehicle that drives the story to the edge of tragedy, but just teases you on the edge of it - leaning out just enough to be a rush. I like that Berry was not portrayed as a victim, rather he was a reckless fearless realist. Good book.
Nov 30, 2015 Bridget rated it liked it
I wish I'd liked this book better than I did. CJA is a really great writer and editor and I love what she does with io9 but this book didn't do a lot for me though I wanted to really like it more.
Jun 08, 2007 Alvin rated it it was amazing
A charming romp through a subject (gender variance) that too often gets treated with plodding earnestness and sanctimonious cant.
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I’m probably the only person to have become a fictional character in a Star Trek novel and in one of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books.

I’m the editor of, where I’m probably best known for my reviews of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Last Airbender. Or for my Game of Thrones recaps. Or for my writing advice columns. Or my in-depth investigation of people who claim HIV
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