Cyndy Aleo's Reviews > Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
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's review
May 17, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: arc, netgalley, young-adult, lgbt, diverse
Read on May 18, 2012

Every so often, an opportunity comes along for me to review a book on NetGalley that I select because I'm not sure the author could really get it right. R.J. Palacio's Wonder was one of those books, and Kirstin Cronn-Mills' Beautiful Music for Ugly Children was another. Both succeeded, despite my initial doubts.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children is Gabe's story. Gabe was born Elizabeth, and as the end of senior year approaches, Gabe has landed himself his own late-night show on the local community radio show, and begins his journey coming out as a transgendered male. The book isn't so much about that process as about Gabe himself: his interactions with his family, figuring out what he wants to do career-wise, and what he's going to do about his best friend... and the other girls he's interested in.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children could have descended into so many of the expected tropes for a young adult novel about a transgendered main character, but it manages to take the unexpected path nearly every time, making the reader think about Gabe in terms of being Gabe, not in terms of being transgendered. His obsession with music -- particularly the oldies -- adds to the movement of the novel, and may cause younger readers to research some classic tunes, while giving older readers something to relate to.

This is a moving novel coming out this fall, and isn't to be missed.

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Reading Progress

05/18/2012 page 52
18.0% "So far, I am loving the voice. I was worried about authenticity of a trans teenager MC/narrator, but it's believable."
05/18/2012 page 111
39.0% ""They make me feel like a rock star. Like I have something decent to say. They make me feel like I matter.""

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