Steve Brezenoff, September 2011. This book has gotten a lot of press for its main gimmick: the protagonist and her/his lover are not identified by gender. It’s intriguing that the book is written that way without being grammatically clumsy; this is accomplished by using first-person narration for Kid, who refers to the lover in the second person. It’s even more intriguing that there’s no reveal of a binary gender in the end. The author’s message is clear: gender is complicated, and it matters, but it doesn’t always matter that we can’t put everyone into one of two tidily-labeled baskets. Every reader will cheer for Kid, and we don’t need to know Kid’s genetics and biology to do that.
The plot: Kid is semi-homeless due to parents who can’t deal with the lack of a polar gender. Kid sleeps in a warehouse with a quasi-boyfriend, or else in the basement of a friendly bar. Kid meets Scout, falls in love, plays the drums, creates a new family of people willing to help out a genderqueer teenager without a home. It’s both disturbing and heartwarming; think Adam Rapp’s Punkzilla or Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Last Night I Sang to the Monster. Highly recommended.