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Symptoms of Being Human

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  5,369 Ratings  ·  1,074 Reviews
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-conservativ
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Hardcover, 335 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Balzer + Bray
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Kaibedai It's even more similar to Er ist wieder da... which is a 2012 German novel in which Hitler appears -- poof! -- in modern day Germany.

…more
It's even more similar to Er ist wieder da... which is a 2012 German novel in which Hitler appears -- poof! -- in modern day Germany.

https://leentjegerritdina.files.wordp...(less)
Elena This is definitely a very young adult YA novel, meant to resonate most strongly with teens. But as with any YA, an adult could certainly read and…moreThis is definitely a very young adult YA novel, meant to resonate most strongly with teens. But as with any YA, an adult could certainly read and enjoy it. I'd recommend it to anyone who'd like to familiarize themselves with the concept of gender fluidity, regardless of age. But the character and plot definitely speak primarily to teens.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Emily May
Jul 10, 2015 rated it liked it
The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

I'm glad this book exists. I really am. Unlike What We Left Behind, which completely misrepresents gender fluidity, Symptoms of Being Human provides plenty of information about being gender fluid, reminds us that there are many ways to be gender fluid, and will probably make gender fluid teens feel less alone.

BUT. I am a real believer in the power of fiction. In my life, I have taken more from powerful stories
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Lola  Reviewer
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of None of the Above

As always, I’m going to be honest with you: I had never heard of ‘‘gender fluidity’’ before Symptoms of Being Human came along and held my hand through the process of my discovering this psychology.

This book is informative and realistically illustrates what a gender fluid adolescent’s life and thoughts can look like. However, I do hope that not every gender fluid person has to go through everything Riley does, because Riley doesn’t have it easy in school.

It’s hard for Riley to be in the closet a
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Raeleen Lemay
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, lgbtqia, young-adult
THIS WAS GREAT. I feel like it could have used a more solid plot as a backbone to all of the information on gender fluidity that was provided, but I really did love it.
♛Tash



Symptoms of Being Human is an illuminating novel on gender fluidity and LGBTQA in general for that matter. It chronicles a particularly poignant point in the life of our main character, Riley Cavanaugh, who is gender-fluid.

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?


Riley's gender has always been a subject of speculation by everyone he/she meets. This kind of attention causes significant distress to Riley, as he/she just wants to be left alone to feel
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Rachel Reads Ravenously

3.5 stars

Gender fluid: a gender identity which refers to a gender which varies over time. A gender fluid person may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities. Their gender can also vary at random or vary in response to different circumstances. -Source: gender wiki

This is an incredibly interesting book and I learned a lot of new terms and subjects, as well as it changed the way I think about other people. This is the st
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Cait (Paper Fury)
Ahhhhh, I have nooooo idea how to review this book. Mainly because I didn't particularly like the writing, but I'm also worried that rating it negatively will have people thinking that I don't think it's an important story. IT IS. I learned a lot about gender-fluid people from this book and I think their story is very important.

But that saying...where was the plot? It was mega-slow and I found the writing tedious at times. I also found Riley's voice rather devoid of emotion. Now that could just
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?”

And that’s one thing you’ll never find out, so it’s better to go in knowing it. Riley Cavanaugh’s story is one you probably haven’t read before – that of a gender fluid teenager. As the book says regarding gender . . .

“Honestly, there’s so much information out there, and a lot of it contradicts itself. The pronouns and the terminology, it’s very
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Laurie Flynn
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes, after turning page after page of a truly great book, you think, with total conviction: this book could change someone’s life. That’s how I felt more than once while reading SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN. But not only that—I also had another thought. This book could save someone’s life.

The protagonist in SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN, Riley Cavanaugh, is gender fluid and identifies as both a boy and a girl, depending on the day. Some mornings, Riley wakes up and feels more girl; others, Riley’s co
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Sarah
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?”




This was an interesting book about a gender fluid teen and her struggles to cope with her gender issues.

Riley was an interesting character, and I felt like we got a feel for her/him even though we never found out what gender he/she was. (I’m just going to use feminine pronouns for now)
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Kim Savage
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN's Riley Cavanaugh is whip-smart, thoughtful, sensitive, and as Riley's therapist describes, a "two-liter soda bottle that the world keeps shaking." Riley is gender-fluid, and throughout the novel the tension is sustained by threats coming at Riley, as well as through Riley's own internal debate of whether or not to come out to parents, friends, and the pubic, who care because Riley's dad is a politician. Riley is reading The Crucible, and is living in one, withstanding gr ...more
Larry H
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was bullied quite a lot in high school because my lack of athleticism and my passion for music and drama made me an easy target. While there was a lot in high school I enjoyed, it was a tremendously stressful and traumatizing time in so many ways, and every day I wanted to escape the notice of my tormentors.

But as painful as that was, it doesn't hold a candle to the treatment of Riley Cavanaugh in Jeff Garvin's absolutely amazing Symptoms of Being Human .

"The first thing you're going to want
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Paulo Ratz
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finalizando janeiro com uma leitura super rápida e gostosa, mas cheia de coisa polêmica e necessária.

O livro aborda um tema bem complexo que começou a ser discutido por não muito tempo, que é a questão dos transgêneros que se identificam como pessoas de gênero fluido. O/A personagem principal se chama Riley e vamos ficar pra sempre sem saber se Riley nasceu menino ou menina. Depois de algumas páginas e uma boa reflexão (pq né, vamos ler e refletir sobre a vida real) a gente chega a conclusão que
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Dahlia
This book is so. Freaking. Good. More to come.
Max
(view spoiler) ...more
Jacquelyn
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
THIS WAS AMAZING. IT SHATTERED MY HEART INTO A MILLION PIECES AND PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN.

Look for a more coherent review soon. Just know that you NEED this one.
Traci Chee
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was hooked on Riley from the very first page--this teenager trying to navigate gender, attraction, politics, and high school all at the same time--and after that I could not put this book down. Riley's voice is as clever as it is vulnerable, both funny and serious in turns. The supporting cast is wonderful, both the peers and the adults in Riley's life, and the friendships reminded me of the ones in THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER: funny, complex, and deeply intertwined.

Sometimes books change
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Kurt Dinan
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The world is a better place because this book exists. It will make readers more compassionate and empathetic. I can't think of a stronger endorsement than that.
♫✯Em loves Hollenstein✯♫❤pizza rolls over gender roles❤Don't fall in love with the moment and think you're in love with the girl
So ridiculously real and relateable. As a gender-fluid person, i approve this message.
Rahul Kanakia
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thought this was book was really good! Funny, sharp, and readable. And the form fits the content. Garvin does a great job of hiding the protagonist's assigned-at-birth gender in a way that doesn't feel forced: that mechanism by itself does a lot to hold up a mirror to the reader's own preconceptions. Book was filled with warmth and understanding, I blew through it a morning.

(I got an advanced reader copy of this book through an ARC tour for debut authors, but the copy carried no expectation or
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juan carlos
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Otro gran libro que ha llegado a mi vida, directo, fuerte, sensible, inteligente, sublime. Recomendado al 100%.

¿Para qué leer qué nos hace humanos?

1. En un principio por la originalidad en la manera de narrar por parte del autor, ya que no usa los pronombre personales para su protagonista, dejando en la imaginación del lector el género biológico de Riley la voz de esta novela.
2. Los temas de diversidad de género, identidad de género, disforia de género y todo lo referente a teoría queer en pers
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Gus
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este es un libro muy importante. Da voz y representación a algo que lo necesita muchísimo.
Super recomendado!!
Kaje Harper
I loved this story - there are not many books out there with genderfluid main characters, and finding one that is also a great story is delightful.

Riley is the teen child of a congressman, and they narrate this story of their life with a persuasive voice. (In fact the one criticism here would be that Riley is too talented with words to be a teenager, but in the pleasure of the story and the importance of the message, I was willing to see them as gifted, and eloquent, without damaging the image o
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Ashley Blake
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Gah, YOU GUYS. THIS BOOK. I absolutely adored Riley's story. It's not an easy one, but it's real and messy and so, so needed. Riley is a gender fluid teen searching for bravery, for a place, for a cause. Riley navigates bullying and anxiety with such authenticity, I found myself breathless for half of this novel. Garvin crafts a story that speaks to the emotionally and physically violent treatment genderqueer and trans persons deal with on a daily basis. He calls attention to this with both a se ...more
⚔ Silvia ⚓
(book #5 in my pride month challenge)

I can't blame you for trying to categorize me. It's human instinct.


4,5 stars!

This was insanely good and informative.

Despite me wanting to stay away from YA contemporaries for a bit, I wanted to read a book with a genderfluid character for research and I wanted it to be in our world because honestly I had Questions. So when someone recommended it to me I was ready to be a bit bored with the actual story but I decided I would go through with it even in the
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Maria
This. Book. Is. So. Important.
Jaime Arkin
I have to admit that I was both incredibly intrigued and a bit unsure of how I would feel about this book when I submitted my request to be a part of the blog tour for it. I read the summary and was immediately drawn to the premise of a gender-fluid teen struggling with knowing who they are but not being able to express it and still feel safe and secure in their life, not only at school, but at home too.

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

I’m ju
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Bee {Quite the Novel Idea}
Istyria book blog ~ A World of enchanted books

Sometimes I have this gut instinct about a book that tells me I have to read it because something inside me is screaming at me that it'll be amazing. Symptoms of Being Human is one of those books and when I finally listened to that voice inside my head, it ended up being my first 5-star read in more than a month.

Symptoms of Being Human is about Riley Cavanaugh. Riley is many things. Punk Rock, snarky, funny, rebellious, and gender-fluid. Some days Ri
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Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi
DNF at 46%

I have absolutely nothing against LGBT books, but do they all have to be the same? This book might benefit some people who aren't that open minded about diversity. It's eye opening to read any of these.
On the other hand it's kinda of really boring for people who have the same life philosophy as I do: If you are good to me, I'll be even better to you regardless of anything else.
Jen Malone
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My punk band name: Book Broke Me and Put Me BackTogether Again.
ReadWriteLove28
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am going to admit: I haven’t read a ton of LGBT books. Why? I'm not sure. Yes, I do think that there should be more diversity in books, and yes, I definitely plan on reading more LGBT books in the future. Absolutely. I’m just being honest and saying that this was the first book that I went into KNOWING that it was about a LGBT character, and wow, what a first. It was absolutely fantastic.

The author's voice is incredible, and he is able to convey Riley, the main character's emotions, extremely
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Jeff Garvin grew up in Orange County, California, the son of a banker and a magician. He started acting in high school, and enjoyed a fifteen-year career including guest-starring roles in network television series ranging from The Wonder Years to Roseanne to Caroline and the City, as well as several independent features.

While studying at Chapman University, Jeff won awards for classical guitar and
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More about Jeff Garvin...

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“We’re all taught from a young age that there are only two choices: pink or blue, Bratz or Power Rangers, cheerleading or football. We see gender in two dimensions because that’s what society has taught us from birth. But, are you ready for a shocking revelation?
SOCIETY NEEDS TO CHANGE.”
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“The world isn't binary. Everything isn't black or white, yes or no. Sometimes it's not a switch, it's a dial. And it's not even a dial you can get your hands on; it turns without your permission or approval" -Riley” 33 likes
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