Jamie (Books and Ladders)'s Reviews > Symptoms of Being Human

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
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Actual Rating: 3.5*

I did enjoy this one and it was very informative but the writing was meh and the inclusion of the blog posts wasn't my favourite thing. I thought the way Riley handled some of the anonymous hate was awkward and put in there so specific conversations could happen. I felt like while there wasn't much of a plot, per say, it was kind of nice to just see someone who is genderfluid go about their life. Sometimes I think we need more of these stories where LGBTQ+ people are just being themselves to show how normal we are. (But also I like when dragons are involved)

I really liked Riley and I liked that we never found out Riley's gender. However, because of this, it made the writing really bulky. I think "Riley" was used every single sentence which made me feel like I was reading someone's work who was just starting out (which I guess technically I was since Garvin is a 2016 debut). But it got to be dense and bogged down with the amount of times that I read Riley to the point where I thought I was reading the same sentences over and over because of the use of Riley. And while I applaud the fact that there were no pronouns and IDGAF what gender Riley is (because I'm v attracted to Riley's personality), I felt like the writing suffered because of it.

I liked Riley's BFFs though. I thought Bec was interesting, especially since she named herself as a protective way to scare off bullies. I also liked Solo who learned from Riley to embrace the differences about himself. I thought it was interesting to see parallels between Riley coming out and Solo accepting that he is a huge nerd because while they are NOT the same level of magnitude, it showed how much strength Riley had and could give to those around them (is it okay if I say them? It was never really specified in the book but I can't keep saying Riley, which is what the issue was in the book tbh).

I'm INSANELY jealous that Riley's blog took off the way it did tbh. But I thought the blog posts were awkward additions. While they were definitely in Riley's voice, it made for an awkward read for me because Riley was summing up the day that Riley had and we had just read about it. It didn't really give us, the reader, more perspective on what had happened to Riley because we were in Riley's head the whole time. So it was more just a way to continue educating us (which is fine) except I felt like it was also a way to show bigotry and hatred (also fine). But then the anons were just awkward and were clearly ways to have specific stereotypical conversations happen. And I think this book could have done better than the stereotypical conversations.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. I liked Riley and I learned stuff while reading, which is always good. But the writing was dense and heavy because of all the "Riley"s and I thought that some of the education came off as very stereotypical when it could have been so much more.

Read this as part of the #ReadProud Challenge.

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Reading Progress

October 23, 2015 – Shelved
October 23, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
October 23, 2015 – Shelved as: lgbtq
October 23, 2015 – Shelved as: 2016-debuts
October 23, 2015 – Shelved as: february-2016
October 23, 2015 – Shelved as: balzer-and-bray
October 23, 2015 – Shelved as: 2016-release
October 23, 2015 – Shelved as: young-adult
October 23, 2015 – Shelved as: contemporary
October 23, 2015 – Shelved as: need-now
February 3, 2016 – Shelved as: preordered
February 3, 2016 – Shelved as: owned-hardcover
June 24, 2016 – Started Reading
June 24, 2016 – Finished Reading

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