marnanel: (Default)
Fun read, but I'd expected better: the book can't decide whether it's comedy science fiction or political thriller. The SF part is well-handled, but the political stuff confuses me; I briefly considered drawing a diagram while reading so that I could keep up with who was working for whom. One moment you're reading some lovely SF about sheep DNA and the brains of the dead being uploaded into intelligent agents. Then you're suddenly pitched into the middle of a fight scene which looks like it dropped out of a Wachowski film; it doesn't work half as well in print.

But the biggest problem with this book is the sexism. In almost all the story there is *one* major female character, Robin. She and all other women are referred to by their first names; all the men are referred to by their surnames. Robin is described well, as seen by the male viewpoint character, and there's a lot of action *involving* her. But she rarely does anything that affects the situation; for much of the story she's just a McGuffin.

To its credit, it has the best opening line I've seen in years: "Dirk Moeller didn't know if he could fart his way into a major diplomatic incident. But he was ready to find out."
marnanel: (Default)
A trans girl moves to live with her father in Arizona to escape bullying. She meets people at high school, but she is afraid to come out to them as trans.

The plot is straightforward but enjoyable. Chapters alternate between the present (high school politics and living with her dad) and the past (transition angst and living with her mum). The characters of her parents are especially well-drawn, each with their own tangles of development and motivation.

After the story ends, the author adds two notes: one aimed at cis readers, about understanding trans issues, and one aimed at trans readers, to encourage them and show them some options. I think this is a grand idea.

The only serious fault I find, and it's a fault acknowledged by the author in the endnotes, is that the protagonist has too few problems with transition: she gets hormones easily, she has a girlish build, and she gets bottom surgery earlier than would normally be possible.

There are perhaps too many books about trans people where much of the plot is about them being trans, but they serve a useful function in educating and encouraging (as well as entertaining) and this book does all three.

Strong content warnings for transphobia and bullying, of course; one scene has a graphic suicide attempt; reference to a successful suicide; attempted sexual assault; firearms; soft drugs; no actual sex.

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