“Double Exposure” reviewed on Julie’s Bookshelf, Midwest Book Review

The following review of Double Exposure appeared in Julie’s bookshelf, a feature of the Nov. 2014 (Vol. 14, No. 11) issue of Reviewer’s Bookwatch, a publication of Midwest Book Review.

Double Exposure
Bridget Birdsall
bridgetbirdsall.com
Sky Pony Press
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10018
9781629146065 $16.95 http://www.skyponypress.com

Synopsis

Fifteen-year-old Alyx Atlas was raised as a boy, yet she knows something others don’t. She’s a girl. And after her dad dies, it becomes painfully obvious that she must prove it now – to herself and to the world. Born with ambiguous genitalia, Alyx has always felt a little different. But it’s after she sustains a terrible beating behind a 7-Eleven that she and her mother pack up their belongings and move from California to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to start a new life – and Alyx begins over again, this time as a girl. Alyx quickly makes new friends, earns a spot on the girls’ varsity basketball team, and for the first time in her life feels like she fits in. That is, until her prowess on the court proves too much for the jealous, hotheaded Pepper Pitmani, who sets out to uncover Alyx’s secret. A dangerous game of Truth or Dare exposes Alyx’s difference and will disqualify her entire basketball team from competing in the state championships unless Alyx can prove, once and for all, that she is a girl. But will Alyx find the courage to stand up for the truth of her personhood, or will she do what she’s always done – run away? Whatever she decides, she knows there’s much more at stake than a championship win.

Critique

In Double Exposure, author Bridget Birdsall demonstrates a remarkable talent for original storytelling in her debut novel about a young girl overcoming adolescent insecurities and gender identification issues. As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is solidly entertaining from beginning to end, Double Exposure is very highly recommended for highschool and community library YA contemporary fiction collections and the personal reading lists for teenage readers.

Midwest Review February 2015:

Written for readers age twelve to adult, Double Exposure is an original novel about gender and identity. Fifteen-year-old Alyx was born intersexual – a human whose chromosomes and physical characteristics do not conform to a distinct male or female classification. Alyx’s parents chose to raise him as a son at first, but he was a little too different from the other boys, and the friction with his peers culminated in a brutal beating behind a 7-Eleven. Fearful for their child’s safety, Alyx’s parents moved from California to Wisconsin to give Alyx a fresh start as a girl. Alyx makes new friends, and earns a spot on the varsity girl’s basketball team, and starts to feel secure in herself – until a jealous classmate discovers Alyx’s secret, exposing it in a game of Truth or Dare. Alyx is disqualified from the team; can she prove that she is female and earn the right to keep playing? Will she be able to make a stand on who she really is, or run away from her problems (physically or metaphorically)? A thoughtful, serious-minded novel about complex social issues and coming of age, Double Exposure is highly recommended.

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