Symptoms of Being Human: Book summary and reviews of Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Symptoms of Being Human

by Jeff Garvin

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin X
Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
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Book Summary

A sharply honest and moving debut perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ask the Passengers.

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn't exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in über-conservative Orange County, the pressure - media and otherwise - is building up in Riley's life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it's really like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley's starting to settle in at school - even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast - the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley's real identity, threatening exposure. And Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created - a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in - or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

From debut author Jeff Garvin comes a powerful and uplifting portrait of a modern teen struggling with high school, relationships, and what it means to be a person.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Debut author Garvin clearly wants to teach his readers about gender and gender fluidity, but the knowledge he imparts buoys this rewarding story, never weighing it down. Ages 14–up." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. One of the first YA books to deal with the complex issue of gender fluidity…Riley's emotional life and personal growth shed welcome light on a hitherto obscure subject." - Booklist

"Both the blog's instant popularity and the media emphasis on Riley's role...seem less than carefully reasoned. Riley's family relationships and growing friendships, however, are vibrantly imagined, and the panic attacks are well-illustrated. Overall, a welcome mirror for gender-fluid teens and a helpful introduction for others. Fiction. 12-18." - Kirkus

This information about Symptoms of Being Human was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Jeff Garvin Author Biography

Photo: Zander Vera

Before becoming a writer, Jeff Garvin acted in films and TV and was the front man of a nationally touring rock band. He is the author of Symptoms of Being Human, which was a Lambda Literary Award finalist and was also named one of the YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, was an ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, and was on the 2017 Rainbow Book List, and The Lightness of Hands. Jeff lives in Southern California, surrounded by adorable, shedding beasts.

Link to Jeff Garvin's Website

Other books by Jeff Garvin at BookBrowse
  • The Lightness of Hands jacket
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