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Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  2,299 ratings  ·  319 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews shares all the hilarious, painful, and poignant details of undergoing gender reassignment as a high school student in this winning memoir. We've all felt uncomfortable in our own skin at some point, and we've all been told that it's just a part of growing up. But for Arin Andrews, it wasn't a phase that would pass. He had been born in the bo ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Book-Review I suggest grade 8+ or if the young readers are ok with mentions of sex. But it really depends on the person.
P.S. This is a teen girl, to a boy so don'…more
I suggest grade 8+ or if the young readers are ok with mentions of sex. But it really depends on the person.
P.S. This is a teen girl, to a boy so don't forget about what they face examples Sex, friends, girlfriends, drama, etc...(less)

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  2,299 ratings  ·  319 reviews

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Mar 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This memoir has all the makings of the classic (and cliché) trans narrative. Arin was trapped; Arin always knew; Arin had no doubts at all; Arin despised anything feminine (because femininity is weak and lesser!) even at a young age. Arin also says people tried to push him in to gender norms and he resisted (even though he is clearly binary and therefore conforms to the other side of said norms without questioning them at all but whatever). In short, Arin makes me want to slap him upside the hea ...more
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: four-stars, lgbtq
I liked this book a lot and I like Arin a lot. This book was straight forward and I love that he held no details back. If he did I don't believe I would have liked this book as much.
But honestly my favorite thing about this entire book was the cover. I know people say not to judge a book by it's cover, but this was perfect. It was so extremely well planned out and every time I had the chance I would study it and almost always find something new. It really relates to the story and it takes the r
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very honest and endearing memoir of a transboy undergoing the transition from a female to male body. I know: it sounds strange to have a memoir at nineteen years of age! However, Andrews manages to make his plight accessible to anyone who has felt shunned for not fitting into a traditional lifestyle, be it as a geek, a nerd, a weakling, or a teenager with an alternative view of life.

Highly informative --and at times humorous-- about the physical and emotional challenges faced by transg
Jayde Carter
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
On July 9, 1995, what I thought was my older sister was born. I followed her on November 17, 1999. We never got along too well, but that's not what mattered.

When she came out as transgender, our family immediately started calling her male pronouns; we even called her Jordan, her "male" name.

I found out about this amazing book in a time when I was looking for answers. After reading it, I understood him better. I know what he talks about and how to respond to it.

Arin helped me understand somethi
Arin was always pleased to be called a tomboy as a child, because it had the word "boy" in it. He always felt like a boy, in spite of his body. His mother's insistence on dresses and pageants was torturous. His first girlfriend--a lesbian--was enlightening for Arin, but his mom saw her as a terrible influence and forbid them from seeing each other. Arin struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts: who was he? Why did he feel so out of place with everyone, with himself? It was a YouTube video ...more
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read as digital ARC.

My rule of thumb for rating memoirs is that as long as it is your life, interesting and reasonably well-organized, then it should be 5 stars. As I found myself up till nearly three in the morning, unable to stop reading, I believe Some Assembly Required qualifies.

I picked this book up because I saw the TV special when it first aired and thought Arin and Katie were the cutest couple ever. I thought Some Assembly Required was an amazing read and can help readers gain understan
I really, really wanted to like this. It's an important, underrepresented topic and I was looking forward to a nonfiction account of being transgender.

When I realized I wasn't going to like it, I decided I just needed to finish it. Whether it was compelling or not, the topic was still important and there's not a ton published on it at this point. It was still worth reading.

Then I began coaxing myself to read just a chapter at a time, and I knew it was time to finally throw in the towel.

This boo
Emily Mead
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir

The reason these books made me angry is because we are still SO far from reaching acceptance and equality.

Memoirs affect me in ways that fiction books don’t, because they are obviously very DIFFERENT ways of conveying ideas – they’re true, at least in the sense that they’re true to the writer.

Both memoirs are from transgender teens.

Arin is a trans boy and Katie is a trans girl.

That’s not the only reason I’m reviewing the
Vibha Ramesh
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teens
This is an incredibly valuable perspective, that goes without saying.

It was also very candid. It conveyed a small taste of real life as both a trans teen and a trans man in the middle of transition and I appreciated the bravery it takes to open up that kind of intimate window. I've heard some comments complaining that the tone was too bland or too "just the facts," but I actually appreciated the simple, straight forward honesty of it.

I suspect it packs the most punch with teens. It comes a
Danni Sterman
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, memoir
Arin's memoir is a very frank, simple telling of his life and experiences as a trans man with a supportive family and access to decent health care. The tone is a little bland so it's not the most compelling read, but there is great value in the book's simplicity. I once tried to make a (cis male) student better understand what it means to be transgender (and thus why transgender rights are so important) and really could have used an easy to read book like this. ...more
Oct 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Probably more of a 3.5. At the beginning there was some very negative views about girls expressed (eg. pink = weakness and fragility), which really irritated me. I really hope it was the author trying to express how he felt at the time (as a little kid), but the writing didn't make that clear. Apart from that it was a pretty good book. ...more
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Terrific. Definitely must-read for teachers, librarians, and teens.
Gail Griffith
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Honest and real account of a transgender child/teen. Good for kids and anyone looking for understanding of what it is like to be born with the wrong body.
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book until close to the end.

Arin grew up in Oklahoma in a Christian family. The Christian school he went to was into creation, not evolution, and regarded everything not heteronormative as a sin for which the offender would go to hell. He was always a tomboy, which was okay (though his mother kept getting him very feminine outfits, which he would ignore in favor of his regular grubby male-style clothes).

But when, as a young teen "girl," he started being interested in girls,
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Sometime last year I had read Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition by Katie Rain Hill. Well, Arin plays quite a role in that memoir so I was delighted to find his memoir on my last Half Price Books trip.

This was a very quick, easy, and enjoyable read. Also, it was nice to read about a FTM transition as the majority of memoirs, interviews, or fictional narratives I've personally have encountered usually tend to be MTF.

Why only 3 stars? Well, as informative and enjoyable as it was, I'm not go
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this today and yesterday while at work in the library. I think it is my favorite young adult book about being trans and figuring things out that I've read so far, probably because it's a memoir written by someone who has clearly done a lot of self-reflection. It doesn't get caught up in weird tropes about gender or feature a trans man caught up in toxic masculinity to prove how manly he is. It is a little sexually frank so it was a little weird for me as an adult to be reading that, but i ...more
Jay Jolles
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I haven't read YA in about a decade, so I'm not sure if my expectations of a book of this nature are skewed by the fact that I don't really read in this particular genre anymore. As such, it's possible that my grievances with the text are merely generic conventions that I find particularly annoying/grating. This book, while obviously important with regards to its subject matter, kinda whomped in execution. Despite its obvious desire to be relatable to younger audiences, the text very much read l ...more
Avani Deshmukh
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book. It was inspiring but I'm not really into books like this ...more
Lorea Roson
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an amazing book about a boy who is born as a girl and his transitioning in becoming a boy. I really liked this book.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this for a book club at work. I enjoy learning about the topic but I didn’t love this. It was just okay
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this teen memoir of a trans young man going about the business of being a teen while while struggling with gender dysphoria. A quick read and a close look into the mind of this trans teen.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow. This is the book I needed. Arin gave a great explanation of what it feels like to be transgender. I have been struggling to "get" it and this helped immensely. I feel better equipped to support my transgender friends now.

Also, it was disconcerting at first to know so many of the towns mentioned in the book. I have many friends in the Broken Arrow area.

Thank you for this book, Arin.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Some Assembly Required is a Trans Narrative. It encompasses all the aspects someone might expect if they are familiar with other trans books or if they have a passing awareness of trans people. These books have value, and I am hesitant to be critical of any trans books in the state of things—however, they may not have much to offer if one has already read another Trans Narrative book.

A big problem with the Trans Narrative story always being spotlighted is that it does little to question gender;
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The only reason I don't give this book five stars is because of writing style - it was quite choppy, awkward, and obvious at parts. I also think the author could have used a thesaurus.

That being said, this story was told by the only person who could have told it - the one to whom the story happened. So I'm able to brush aside the writing stuff that makes me cringe a little to see the more important thing at hand: Arin Andrews and his transition story.

I think there needs to be more transgender bo
Arin Andrews didn't always know he was a boy. He knew he didn't like skirts and ruffles and everything pink. He knew he liked the word tomboy; after all, it had 'boy' in it. He knew, eventually, that his equipment was wrong. But it was a long time before he understood that there were other people in his same position, or why he didn't fit into the box society -- not to mention his family -- wanted him to.

Andews has received a fair amount of media attention for his (former) relationship with Kati
Jenni Frencham
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Andrews, Arin. Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen. Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2014.

Arin Andrews is transgender. He was born with a female body, but eventually realized that he is, in fact, male, and was able to transition while still a teen. This is his story, intertwined with that of his former girlfriend, Katie Rain Hill. The teens were the poster children of the trans* community and have worked hard for trans* awareness and equal rights.

Arin's story is uniquely
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelley Pearson
I liked this book a lot, content-wise. Arin was amazingly open about his experiences, made himself really vulnerable, and answered a lot of questions. He also did a good job of explaining what kinds of questions aren't appropriate to ask trans people. His story is kind of charmed, like he's white and handsome and his family and community are super supportive after a rough 6 months or year, and he can afford surgery. He acknowledged this, but I wanted more of an examination of his privilege, or m ...more
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