Read this for an education on gender and racism.
Kaz and Aisha meet in the 8th grade and become fast friends. They grow and learn from one another. Kaz struggles with gender identity. She also begins to have romantic feelings for Aisha, who happens to be black. Through their relationship, Kaz begins to open her eyes to the real modern and prevalent racism that exists regardless of how ‘woke’ people claim to be.
I have never been a cartoon or comic book fan. So it was really difficult for me to fully get into this one. I can appreciate that they used this as a way to further understand and cope with things they were going through.
The book seemed over informative to me. It was overload. I definitely took away some things. Especially things as they related to Aisha and the racism encountered. Just the fact that parents have to raise their black children to understand racism and how to deal with it from a young age, is just crazy to me. I never thought about it and I don’t like it now that it has been brought to my attention.
The gender stuff… I related most to Mr. Warren in this. I understand people are finding new ways to identify and I truly think everyone should just live their true selves happily. But even after everything Kaz internalizes, researches, etc… I have to say that I still don’t get the pronouns they/them. I got the message about them being acknowledged now as grammatically correct. I understand how agender/nonbinary people would feel uncomfortable being called him or her. But why not create specific and unique pronouns? I may be ignorant about this, but wasn’t there a Zee and Zed or something like that once?
This was a well written book. It reminded me of a classic style coming of age story. The Kaz/Aisha relationship was sweet. They were good kids and that helped us feel sympathetic to everything they were encountering. I would have liked the book to feel less like a lesson, but I did enjoy it. Took me out of my comfort zones at times. It showcased some things I hadn’t considered. And I’m pretty sure that was what the author had hoped in accomplishing.