Birdsall, Bridget (author).
Oct. 2014. 304p. Skyhorse/Sky Pony, hardcover, $16.95 (9781629146065).
REVIEW. First published September 1, 2014 (Booklist).
Hermaphrodite. Ambiguously gendered. Freak. Alyx was born with male and female genitalia, and though her parents raised her as a boy, she has always known she’s a girl. The only place she feels comfortable with herself is on the basketball court, but as she points out to her mother, she “still need[s] to pick a Goddamn locker room.” As she begins to officially transition to female, the change subjects her to severe bullying.
Seeking escape and a fresh start, Alyx and her mother move to Milwaukee, where Alyx lands a spot on the girls’ varsity basketball team, one of only two sophomores to do so. However, when a teammate feels threatened by Alyx’s talent, she begins digging around in Alyx’s past, with disastrous results.
Birdsall doesn’t shy away from the complexity of Alyx’s condition, touching on the medical and psychological challenges she faces on top of typical adolescent trials, such as identity and first dates, thereby creating an unconventional character with whom teens can relate to and root for.
— Julia Smith