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Between Perfect and Real

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  656 ratings  ·  251 reviews
A moving YA debut about a trans boy finding his voice—and himself

Dean Foster knows he’s a trans guy. He’s watched enough YouTube videos and done enough questioning to be sure. But everyone at his high school thinks he’s a lesbian—including his girlfriend Zoe, and his theater director, who just cast him as a “nontraditional” Romeo. He wonders if maybe it would be easier to
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 27th 2021 by Harry N. Abrams
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Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  656 ratings  ·  251 reviews

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daph pink ♡
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 4-star, queer
Between perfect and real is a fabulous, powerful, heartfelt, emotional, heart wrenching story about finding your voice, your identity, exploring friendship and love. It's about that gap between perfect and real, about that bridge between perfect and real we all know exists but we are scared to cross.

It's a story. about Dean, a trans MC who is cast as Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet”? I don't wanna spoil you with anything so I am not gonna go deep in plot section. Its full of fun moments like when De
Miranda Reads
Dean Foster begins senior year between a rock and a hard place..

Dean's used girl pronouns throughout childhood and up until now but something had always felt a little off.

Just in the past few years, Dean came out as a lesbian, and while that felt slightly still didn't feel fully accurate.

Dean's increasingly feeling like something is wrong. And it's only through YouTube and lots of research does the lightbulb ding - he's trans.

But knowing and making that transition are two entire
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Between Perfect and Real is a moving story of gender euphoria, coming into yourself and finding your place in the world. Following a trans boy cast as a “non traditional” Romeo in his school’s theatre performance, Stoeve’s debut takes readers through the highs and lows of coming out as trans while exploring privilege, community and gender.

I really enjoyed this book! Dean had such a strong voice and it was so easy to connect with him and empathise with what he was going through. I really loved hi
May 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book is written wonderfully; this is a rare YA contemporary that doesn’t depict teenagers in a super cartoonish, out of touch way. i also love how the book doesn’t contain any pop culture references that are likely gonna be dated as soon as the book is in print, and completely ruin the vibe of the book.

this book is very raw, very painful, and very “between perfect and real” (pun completely intended.) you will see the internal battle of our main character dealing with transphobia and transp
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this and I'm bawling my eyes out. I swear this book isn't fiction, it just my own senior year of highschool. Just replace Dean being an acting student struggling with playing a male role while closeted, with me being an art student struggling with self portraits. And I don't wanna get to deep into my family life, but its almost exactly lile Dean's. Dean's mom is literally my own, I actually had a really hard time reading scenes with her because it all just felt like my memories. ...more
Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, favorites
4.5 Stars

CWs: Bullying, transphobia and transphobic violence, harassment, minor outings of a trans person, deadnaming (dead name not mentioned on the page), homophobia and homophobic slurs, mention of suicide, and explorations of dysphoria

Between Perfect and Real is a love letter to young trans readers. It's a story that shows a young character coming into his transness—fearing the unknown implications of what that can mean for him, how that might change his relationships, and how that might
☔️ lin chuchu
May 29, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
i need white trans folks to stop demonizing lesbians and calling them transphobic. this happened with the "may the best man win" as well. it hurts for this book to imply lesbians are transphobic for not wanting to date trans men, or all lesbians in general transphobic, considering most of us are fucking trans ourselves. isn't it fucking transphobic to date trans men as a lesbian in the first place? what the hell do you want us to do? jesus fucking christ.

this sucks because this is the first tra
"The possibilities are endless."

What a perfect way to end such a perfectly real book. One of the themes of this book is that there's no one way to be trans; being trans comes with infinite possibilites. Dean's story highlights one of those possibilities, but also makes room for all of the others, in the way Dean debates what his transition should look like and the way so many other trans people are featured in this book - I loved the support group Dean went to!

I read this book in one sitting, I
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
Read my full review on my book blog, The Quiet Pond.

Between Perfect and Real is the kind of book that will save lives. This is a stunning, powerful, and affirming story about questioning, transitioning, and becoming the person you were always meant to be - and I loved this book with my whole heart.

- Follows Dean, who realises on the first page that he's a trans boy, as he grows to understand his identity and what it means for his relationships - while also practicing for his lead role as Romeo f
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
On my blog.

Actual rating 2.5

Rep: trans mc, lesbian side character, bi Japanese American side character, Black gay side character, trans & nonbinary side characters

CWs: misgendering, deadnaming, outing, transphobic assault, lesbophobic slurs

Galley provided by publisher

Between Perfect and Real is one of those books that I read and I know it’s good, I can tell that, but I just don’t enjoy reading it. That sounds harsh but all I mean is that it’s not for me. It’s a book that another reader may —
Marieke du Pré
Apr 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want the world to see me as the boy I am inside. I want to grow up to be a man. I want to be good and kind and strong.

I was looking forward to this book. I really liked the premise, a trans boy who’s not out to anyone yet. Seen as a tomboy girl, instead of the boy he feels inside.

Ray Stoeve’s writing is engaging and so easy to read. I started reading this book on a sunny public holiday and finished it within that day. At first the story fell a little flat for me, but the story grew to me, and
Jay Coles
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love, love, love this book! I'm so lucky to have gotten the chance to read it early. Ray is brilliant with words, equally brilliant at packing an emotional punch on every page. I can't recommend Dean's story enough. Look out world, Between Perfect and Real is sure to capture your heart, too! ...more
May 17, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-releases, queer
unfortunately i didn’t connect with any of the characters and i was just kind of waiting for it to be over the whole time:( i think it’s a very good message and could be awesome for a younger reader to see themselves in, and there were some great lines about gender identity that i loved .
So, recently I’ve found that I really enjoy listening to audiobooks while crocheting! I’m not sure what it is about either of these things, but for me they go well together and, strangely, I make fewer mistakes in my crochet when I listen to a book at the same time! While crocheting my latest little animal friend (an octopus with bobbles for suckers!), I was really excited to see that Ray Stoeve’s debut novel was up on Scribd, so of course I had to give it a listen! Between Perfect and Real open ...more
May 11, 2021 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane (whatjanereads)
Actual rating: 4,5

This was a really, really amazing and realistic YA book with a trans MC.

This book follows Dean, who is cast as Romeo in the school play. Dean has already been reading about transitioning and is following a lot of trans YouTubers. Due to being cast as a male role, he is realising that he ultimately wants to come out as trans and transition as well.
This book follows a lot of Deans steps before and after coming out, things he and I’m sure a lot of trans people out there struggle w
Alex (Pucksandpaperbacks)
CW: unsafe binding with duct tape, mention of death by suicide *not graphic*, transphobia, violence, fighting, deadnaming (name is not mentioned) and misgendering, outting, imposter syndrome, break-up, talk of hormones & testosterone, safe binding, unaccepting parent, feeling of body & social dysphoria on-page at 87%.

Dean Foster must be protected at all costs. I saw myself in Dean a lot as we both have a similar coming out story and are both skater boi's. Coming out after you're already out a
Vin - Queerbiblioboy
Jun 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
First off, I want to say thank you to pridebooktours & abrahamkids for giving me a copy of this book for an honest review.

Between Perfect & Real is an emotional and quite hard hitting book about finding your voice, realising who you are and the emotional turmoils that happen along the way.

This book really dug out some deep trauma I had locked away and I’m somewhat glad I was able to face it while reading.

Dean, the main character, is navigating through school while dealing with being picked fo
Sep 20, 2020 marked it as not-yet-released  ·  review of another edition
literally can't wait for this ...more
Kate (Reading Through Infinity)
Really enjoyed this! RTC.

Content warnings for transphobia, misgendering, deadnaming and homophobia (all challenged on page), threats of violence, discussions of gender dysphoria.
michelle (magical reads)
4.25 stars

read on my blog

rep: trans boy protagonist, lesbian side character, gay Black side character, bisexual Japanese-American side character, trans girl side character, nonbinary side character
cw: transphobia, homophobia, mentions of dead naming (name not on page)

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

I don’t want the audience to see a girl in boy’s clothes. I don’t want them to see a lesbi
noah ♡
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Between Perfect and Real was an extraordinarily moving novel that I’m sure will stay with me long after finishing it. It is without a doubt the kind of book we need more of.

Heartbreaking, honest and hopeful, Between Perfect and Real tells the story of Dean, a seventeen year old trans boy living in Seattle. The book starts with Dean being cast as Romeo in his school’s production
I was so excited to read "Between Perfect and Real", a book about a trans boy, Dean, coming to terms with his gender identity during rehearsals of his school’s theatre production.

I won’t deny that there were some aspects that I really enjoyed: the writing style is lovely, easy to follow and what some might refer to as “typically YA”.

The cast of characters is very diverse, there’s several trans and non-binary characters, there’s Black and Japanese rep and gay, lesbian and bi rep.

Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 14-and-15
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Between Perfect and Real in exchange for an honest review.

THIS! This is how you write relatable teen characters. Dean and everyone in his life felt so much like actual people that it hurt my feelings. Dean is a trans, straight (I'm fairly sure), man and I'm a cis, queer, woman and yet I still found him to be one of the most relatable teens I've read in a long time despite us having pretty opposite identities because he's just so universally well w
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, transgender, lgbtqia, audio, ya
I really liked this contemporary YA about a closeted trans guy whose getting cast as Romeo in the school play sparks his coming out.

Content warnings include: transphobia (including misgendering and deadnaming), coming out, getting outed, bullying, fistfight, school suspension, college applications, unrelfected adherence and enforcing of gender roles; mentions of teenagers getting kicked out for being queer, teenage homelessness.

The plot is mostly centered around Dean's coming out as trans after
Jun 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2021-s-books
this book had everything to be perfect, i mean its literally between perfect and real so you're either gonna love or hate it!

there are some issues i wanna address, because that if they didn't exist or were put in another way, the book could have been way better and here is it: non-black character explaining police brutality and white privilege to a black character (which is even worse than if they were just explaining it to somebody else),

grow ups in position of power acknowledging that they a
May 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

*insert stan pines saying ‘oh this, this is beautiful’ meme*

i love this book i cried a lot reading it and i recommend it very highly
Jun 10, 2021 rated it liked it
Between Perfect and Real is a poignant story following a young trans boy as he navigates his identity, friendships, family, and future.

The book has great representation in terms of BIPOC characters and explores the theme of "chosen families" through the trans support group in which Dean attends. I loved that this gave Dean an outlet where he could truly let go and be himself. The contrast in Dean's character between when he is in this environment compared to when he is at his rehearsals is clea
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A huge thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the chance to read and review this book!

TW: deadnaming, misgendering, bullism, mention of a trans' person's suicide and deadnaming, forced coming out, gender dysphoria

"The possibilities are endless"

Dean Foster knows he's a trans guy, but everyone thinks he's a lesbian, including his friends, parents and girlfriend, Zoe. It was already hard enough coming out as lesbian to his parents, most of all to his mother, who wants him to be the perfect daugh
Tasha  Ní Mhiacháin
Jun 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
(I was gifted this book by PrideBookTours in exchange for an honest review)

“I’m starting to sweat in my hoodie, but I don’t want to take it off. I feel more comfortable when I have an extra layer between me and the world.”
Every transition story is different. Everyone has their own coming out story, and even if your situation is similar, no two people will experience things the same way.
This is Dean Foster's story and I loved every minute of it. I love that I’ve put down this book and feel li
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Ray Stoeve is a queer & nonbinary writer. They received a 2016-2017 Made at Hugo House Fellowship for their young adult fiction.

They are a contributor to Take The Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance, an anthology out now from Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic Books. Their first young adult novel, Between Perfect and Real, will be published by Amulet Books in April 2021, with a second standalon

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