Symptoms of Being Human

Symptoms of Being Human

Book - 2016 | First edition.
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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.

Publisher: New York : Balzer + Bray, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062382863
Branch Call Number: Y Fic
Characteristics: 335 pages ; 22 cm


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Aug 24, 2018

This book goes on my list of "things I wish I'd had when I was a kid." A YA novel that adults can definitely enjoy and learn from. I fell in love with Riley, the main character, from page one. One of the best books I've read in a long time.

Jul 11, 2018

Symptoms of Being Human was a great read. I really enjoyed how it put the reader in the shoes of a gender fluid teenager. Since I don't identify as such, it was a really eye-opening experience. I found the choice of not including any pronouns for Riley interesting, and out of the few books I've read about non-cisgender people, I've never seen it done. Whether or not you are gender fluid, I strongly recommend this book.

Sep 21, 2017

A 2018-2019 Missouri Gateway Readers Award preliminary nominee (grades 9-12).

Riley's life is complicated. Riley just started at a new school after the school year had already begun. Riley's father is running for reelection to the House of Representatives. Oh, and Riley is gender fluid, which means that on any given day Riley might feel more like a boy or a girl, and Riley is not out. On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts a blog, and the blog goes viral and gets more attention than Riley wanted.

I devoured this book, but there were a few things I didn't love about it. I felt like the author veered a little too close to afterschool special territory sometimes. I would advise against the audiobook, although I looked it up on Audible, and I appear to be in the minority.

Jun 03, 2017

What an excellent read! I learned so much. At first, I thought it was a little cheeky -- especially the whole I've got an anonymous blog and it has my deepest darkest secrets and it's suddenly popular and it gets revealed. That basic plot line was a struggle for me. HOWEVER, that said, I fell in love with the characters, Riley, Solo, Bev the whole lot of them. It was dynamic and interesting and honest. Also, I instantly liked it more when the book took a serious turn. It earned so much more respect from me when that happened and I was able to let the cheeky plot line issues go in light of that turn and that challenge presented to the characters and the storyline.

Aside from Magnus Chase and The Hammer of Thor, I have never read about a gender fluid character and, like I said, I learned a lot and feel more educated for having read this book.

Mar 28, 2017

I've read this before and I'm checking it out so I can read it again. As a genderfluid teen, this book is not only an enjoyable story but it's also relatable.

Cynthia_N Mar 23, 2017

Such a good read! I was pulled right into the story, I learned some things along the way, but I wasn't ready when it was finished! Quick read.

Aug 29, 2016

A really good book! I liked the story and it was really original with Riley's dad being so important in the government so Riley had to lay low. I would have preferred that the author had specified what pronouns Riley uses as I found it a bit realistic that no one called Riley any pronouns throughout the entire book. Also, Riley seemed to think there were only two sets of pronouns (either he or she) when in fact there are many more! If Riley didn't know what gender a person was Riley would refer to them as "he or she" when in fact "they" (!!) in a great alternative. Other than that a really great read!

LPL_WilliamO Jun 20, 2016

A well written, informative story about a gender fluid teenager struggling to find acceptance and self love. Riley's story is inspiring and an important one for those who can relate, and for those wanting to learn more about gender fluidity and the transgender community. Some strong language and violence, so best for a mature teen or adult audience - but definitely recommended.

Mar 25, 2016

Yet another disgusting example of a queer character ending up a victim of sexual assault. There was no point to that being in the story and with actual Real Life Queer individuals being continually assaulted in staggering numbers, it doesn't need to be anywhere near a young adult novel. It does nothing for the plot and is a sickening device used by a cis author who has obviously never lived the experience.

I wouldn't recommend that anyone read this book in a million years.

BostonPL_JordanD Mar 03, 2016

This was a fantastic book! Riley, as a gender fluid teenager sometimes feels like a boy and at other times feels like a girl. This is more common than a lot of people think. Not only was this well written, but I found it a great book for those who may be gender fluid or other non-binary option, and for those who are seeking to know more about what it's like to be non-binary(not being a girl or a boy).
The author's note is especially nice at the end, explaining why the author decided to write the book.
This is a book I will highly recommend to anyone looking for non-binary characters in YA.

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Sep 21, 2017

booknrrd thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

BostonPL_JordanD Mar 03, 2016

BostonPL_JordanD thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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