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Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  985 ratings  ·  186 reviews
In her unique, generous, and affecting voice, nineteen-year-old Katie Rain Hill shares her personal journey of undergoing gender reassignment. Now with a reading group guide!

Katie Rain Hill realized very young that a serious mistake had been made; she was a girl who had been born in the body of a boy. Suffocating under her peers’ bullying and the mounting pressure to be “n
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published September 30th 2014)
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  985 ratings  ·  186 reviews


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Jill
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbtq, memoir, young-adult
I am by no means a trans expert, but I've read my share of trans-focused literature and academic studies. I think Katie does a great job of making the info accessible to younger readers (the target audience). She is informative and factual while still acknowledging her own biases and the incredible diversity of opinions and experiences.

That said I think she could have done a better job giving a nod to those who aren't white and attractive and privileged - the folks who struggle with discriminat
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Jennifer W
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, ya
I should be sleeping, but Katie's story was just too compelling to put down. She's a wonderful, strong, inspiring young woman, and I look forward to her continued advocacy for ALL people. I haven't seen her TV shows/specials, and I don't think I want to, the book is enough for me. I'm so glad that this book is out there for young people to read, but I also think adults can learn a lot from her open and honest introspection about her transition and her teen years in general. If you're confused as ...more
Gerard Villegas
Being aware of both Katie Hill and Arin Andrews, I've seen their stories being portrayed in the media and in a variety of magazine publications so it made me curious to read both their personal bios as transgender teens. I've read Arin's book Some Assembly Required and enjoyed it and offered it to customers who are dealing with their own children coming out as trans and to have another perspective from someone who is MTF, I thought that this would be another resource to use. Sadly, Katie's book ...more
Ashleigh
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read as digital arc.

Initial impression: "Katie's a badass" and "Whoa, girl, calm down." In the prologue, Katie came on very strong, but she eventually won me over with references to Naruto and Pigfarts.

I have a 5-star biography policy, where as long as your story is real, interesting and makes a fair amount of sense, it should be five stars. I will say that, organization-wise, I appreciated that I read Arin's book first. Katie jumps around a bit and isn't as detail-oriented; I didn't feel as pre
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Cole Jack
Katie Rain Hill is a young college student recounting her experiences as a young trans woman attempting to be an activist in Bible-belt Oklahoma. Hill initially gained widespread public attention because of her publicized relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Arin Andrews, because it was a relationship between a trans woman (Katie) and a trans man (Arin).

Originally Hill and Andrews were supposed to write a combined memoir about their relationship, but after their breakup they ended up both writing
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Aaron
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Transgendered people, Anyone wanting to learn, LGBTQI Youth
Recommended to Aaron by: Michelle Green
I really enjoyed reading both Katie's and Arin's books. I have never had a transgendered friend (At least as far as I know) before and so I was very interested in reading their books and finding out more about transgendered people and how they felt. I am so very glad I read this. I really do feel like reading these two books has helped me to understand people better.

First, I am so sorry for the hell that Katie went through both at school and at home. School was hell for me until my Junior and
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Alenka
Jun 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, young-adult
I'm trying not to compare Katie's book to Arin's, which is basically impossible, but it feels unfair to compare them? I'll do my best!

Katie's writing is OK; she's engaging and personable, and she structured the book well. Her memoir jumps around time-wise for a bit and I enjoyed that she didn't start straight from the beginning. I think part of this tactic is to give readers a sense of hope as they read the bad parts, so that they can remember that things turn out OK. Katie's life has not been a
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Nathan
I remember seeing Katie on facebook, with Arin her then-boyfriend. A trans couple to inspire all, or some-such stuff. The part of this book I enjoyed the most was when Katie discusses the flaws with how the media treated hers and Arin's story. Focussing on the relationship wasn't the goal either of them had in mind when they began being advocates, but media does as media does and turned it into that. It's something that still needs to be adjusted and I thought it was interesting to see the inner ...more
Rashmi Tiwari
Jan 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A self-involved, badly written Live Journal entry masquerading as a book. Get a ghostwriter. And some self-awareness.
l.
Katie seems like an amazing young woman. Some thoughts:

1. The kid who bullied Katie when she presented as a gnc male but told her post transition that she had thought she was a weirdo but now sees she's just a girl... Katie's interest in boys but disgust at the idea of them liking her as a boy... I wonder how schools can better deal with both transphobia and homophobia so that children are better able to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Trans acceptance should not go hand in hand
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Shannon
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I continue my search for books about transgenders that can be added to our library, I am still learning a lot. Katie Rain Hill's memoir takes the reader on her journey of growing up as Luke and transitioning to Katie. This is the first book I've read which goes into more detail about the surgical process of full transformation of male to female. Katie also has a serious relationship with another transgender teen Arin. This book has so much to offer, but too much on page relationship informati ...more
Emily Mead
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
*THIS IS A COMBINED REVIEW OF RETHINKING NORMAL AND SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED*

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
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Kelly
I read this book first, followed by Arin Andrews' Some Assembly Required. I'm glad I read the books in this order because if I had read Some Assembly Required first, I might not have enjoyed this book as much as I did. Here's the problem with reviewing this book; because of the subject matter, I am already damned if I say negative things about the book. However, a few times in the past I have angered authors and loyal fans with my goodreads reviews because of my honesty, so I'm not about to stop ...more
Mothwing
A trans woman's biography through her transition and life after that. It's not an easy read, especially what happens to Katie at school makes me incredibly sad for her and angry at this dysfunctional institution. I can't fathom how other teachers would just stand by and watch a student being tortured like that, it makes my blood boil. As did people randomly outing her - why would you do that?!

As did this:
I knew their parents had all used God as the reason I could no longer be friends with them
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Jordan McBride
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I honestly thought that I was going to hate Katie's book after reading Arin's (Some Assembly Required). He left me thinking negatively towards her because of how their relationship ended. When I first started reading Rethinking Normal, I already knew a little bit of background knowledge about Katie and her transition from male to female. I only made it about a fourth of the way through the book before I had to put it down. I think that my issue was my per-conceived ideas about the author. After ...more
Liz
Jan 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this memoir AFTER reading Arin Andrew's Some Assembly Required, which is basically a companion book to this one. I'm finding that in situations of relationship drama, which both of these memoirs veer into towards the end (Arin and Katie are an internationally celebrated trans couple), it's really hard not the take the first account of the situation that you've read as the true one (even though in situations like this there is no "true" account, there are two different sides to the same st ...more
Edward Sullivan
A great memoir about growing up transgender. Katie, who was born and raised as a boy named Luke, was aware of her difference early on, though it was years before she found the word to describe herself. Now a college student, Katie, is open and honest about the bullying, pain and heartbreak she's had to endure, the unconditional love and support of her mother, and her own personal imperfections. Readers struggling with gender identity or sexual orientation will find comfort and inspiration in Kat ...more
Danni Green
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genderawesome
I picked this one up right after reading Some Assembly Required, not realizing they were essentially parallel stories (Katie is a prominent character in that book, as the author of that book, Aran, is a prominent character in this one.) It was fascinating to read Katie's story in her own words, especially right after reading the other book. A beautiful and important addition to the growing collection of transgender people of many different genders and gender experiences sharing our own stories.
Calista
Another side of a similar story as Some Assembly Required. Katie is brave to tell this story and her high school years amaze me. She seems a bit shady with the relationship, but she's learning and I guess she's allowed. This takes guts to be so open.
Megan E
Very interesting, and surprising how much I could relate to Katie's personality.
Taryn
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katie's relationship drama gets a little tedious towards the end, but her story was really eye-opening for me. I can't believe how horrible some of her teachers were to her and how inappropriately they handled her coming out as trans.
mj
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She used some problematic terminology (i.e. calling transgender people "transgenders") but otherwise a lovely, honest memoir.
Christine Chapman
Katie's memoir is raw, open, and honest, showing the complexity of life as a trans woman. The book evokes empathy in allies, and though her story was quite tragic at times, it is also very hopeful.
Michelle
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book! Not the best writing but it's a teens memoir lol. Loved hearing her side of the story compared to Arin Matthews' which I had read first
Claire
I cried a lot reading this memoir
Josephine (biblioseph)
Zero rati--
oh it hasn't been published yet.
Shhh, namaste.
Becca
Review to come. I thought it was really good, though the ending felt odd, like it did not fit with the rest of the book.
Cami
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rethinking Normal:

(Katie Rain Hill)

In this society, we look past the “normal” and fixate on everything wrong with one another. For Katie, she focused on her identity. Since the beginning of her life, Katie had not felt at home in her body--and was kept hidden from her true self by society’s expectation of her. She was told she was a boy, and must act like one. Growing up in a troubled family, Katie struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts, and a broken family. In this readable memoir, Hill
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Nadia Salih
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1.4 million adult americans identify themselves as transgender in the United States which makes it important to understand this community more. In the memoir Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill, it shows the hardships and truth about what it's like to feel trapped in the wrong body and feeling left out from society. This powerful book not only talks about Katie's journey but as well as her ex boyfriend, Arin, who is also transgender. I think everyone should find sometime to read this honest me ...more
Bryan
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“In fewer than three years I had changed from a scared boy into a strong woman. The ability to be happy had been with me all along. All I’d had to do was trust and accept myself.”

That explanation comes towards the end of this memoir and I felt it sums up this book fairly well. Katie’s life story up to this point is filled with devastating moments of heartbreak that eventually lead to her happiness through her perseverance.

Is this the most well written memoir,no, it reads very much like a book le
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