hal 's Reviews > Symptoms of Being Human

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
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it was amazing
bookshelves: lgbtq, young-adult, realistic-fiction, amazing, favorites


Originally gave it four stars, but thinking about it my complaints are small enough that I can forgive it. Five stars it gets. It's so important for nonbinary people, and LGBT people in general, to get more representation. And more than that, Symptoms of Being Human was just a well-written, engaging, and relatable book.

Riley is so fucking funny. They're sarcastic and a real smartass and I love it. Ugh I need someone like Riley in my life.

I relate to Riley so much. Obviously our stories are very different, but I still feel a sense of kinship with Riley. Being non-binary myself, I know very well what it is like to live in a society that refused to recognize your existence. And it sucks. So I am so happy that there's finally gender fluid/non-binary representation. Finally, someone is acknowledging that we fucking exist! And we are valid and worthy of love! It shouldn't be this amazing. Nonbinary characters should be common place and not something to marvel at. But that's not the world we live in, so I am happy that we are finally getting some recognition.

Despite my love for this story, a few things struck me as unrealistic. How the hell did they (Riley) get so many followers in one damn week?! And this whole story only takes place in a few weeks?! Wtf??

Okay, let's talk about the physical attack on Riley. At first, this plot point annoyed me. I thought "are you seriously using rape as a plot device?". I thought it was unrealistic. But then I thought about it. And I changed my mind. I don't think at all that's what the author was doing. And the truth is, sexual violence against trans people is so goddamn common. Maybe it's unrealistic that the guy from Riley's school would have happened to find them there (fyi I'm being vague on purpose to avoid spoilers), but the idea of Riley, as a trans person, being assaulted is unfortunately not that far fetched.

Okay. Moving on.

Thank you for not revealing Riley's biological sex. And I don't like how people are complaining about that. This ain't Nancy Drew! What genitals Riley possesses is not a goddamn mystery to be solved. It's no one else's damn business.

I love the author's note at the end. @Jeff Garvin: Thank you for writing about us nonbinary/genderqueer folks. Thank you for giving a damn about trans people, and taking the time to research and talk to us before writing. Thank you for the resources- I don't need them, but there will be someone who does and I appreciate that they're there. Thank you so goddamn much.

Tl;dr version- Go. Read this. Whether or not you're trans, this is a good book and I highly recommend it.
On another note, I am trans/nonbinary myself so if you have any questions feel free to comment below! As long as you keep it respectful I am happy to help others understand :)
Pre review:
After getting into a heated argument with someone in the comment section of a review for this book (he was very transphobic/anti-LGBT, and I unsuccessfully tried to change his mind), I figured it's time I actually read the book. I was very excited to hear this had a trans/gender fluid main character, as I myself am non binary and it's great to see us getting some representation at last. Here's hoping it does not disappoint!
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Reading Progress

January 19, 2016 – Shelved
January 19, 2016 – Shelved as: if-i-have-time
April 19, 2016 – Shelved as: lgbtq-to-read
August 2, 2016 – Started Reading
October 13, 2016 –
page 136
40.6% "Omg I am loving this so much"
October 14, 2016 – Finished Reading
October 15, 2016 – Shelved as: lgbtq
October 15, 2016 – Shelved as: realistic-fiction
October 15, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
October 19, 2016 – Shelved as: amazing
October 19, 2016 – Shelved as: favorites

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Wren I'm glad you liked this so much! I really want to read this, I'm so excited to find a book with someone like myself in it!

hal Wren [t(he)y] wrote: "I'm glad you liked this so much! I really want to read this, I'm so excited to find a book with someone like myself in it!"

Thanks Wren! I was really excited too. I don't identify specifically as genderfluid, but I am nonbinary so I was so pleased to finally see us getting some representation. I hope you like it just as much as I did!

hal Also attention! I forgot to add this to my review, and I will be fixing it now, but to whom it may concern: trigger/content warning for sexual assault.

message 4: by Molly (new)

Molly You can put spoilers behind a cut so those who wish to read trigger warnings can and those who don't won't be spoiled :)

hal @Molly- I didn't think of that! Thanks for letting me know :)

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