100 Crushes by Elisha Lim

100 crushes

Originally published in: 2014

What it’s about: A collection of excerpts from several different series of comics. Each focuses on the lives and identities of different queer and gender-nonconforming people and their relationships with the the author.

What made me pick it up: It sounded cute and I liked the cover. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

My favorite things: I love the artistic style! It reminds me of those filters you can use to make a photo look like a painting. There is also a great range of topics, from crushes to fashion to pronouns, each handled with both lightness and care. This reads like a beautiful celebration of queer identities.

Who it’s great for: Anyone looking for graphic novels with diversity in gender and sexuality. Fans of Bechdel’s graphic memoirs.

Abby’s rating: four-shells


Pick up a copy of this book at Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.

The Sunlight Pilgrims: Abby’s Turn

51yp96i9jnlToday we’re talking about The Sunlight Pilgrims, now that Abby finally finished it.
Erica: So what did you think?
Abby: It made me feel cold
Erica: Me too! How many shells did you give it?
Abby: I don’t remember. Throur?
Erica: lol
Abby: Somewhere in there.
Erica: Me too. What did you like about it?
Abby: I liked the way it incorporated a trans character without making her gender the entire plot.
Erica: Yeah that was well done.
Abby: Yeah she treated her like an actual human and still got into some of the real challenges trans teens face without sensationalizing her.
Erica: That’s pretty much what I wrote in my review. What didn’t work for you?
Abby: It made me COLD. Also it was a liiittle slow and I wanted more from it at the end, but I was pretty happy with it for the most part.
Erica: Yes, that ending! Now I hate ambiguity so I had to immediately forget it. What did you think?
[SEMI-SPOILER WARNING]
Abby: I think it ended with them in a little icy tomb. But that’s ok, because I think the next year would’ve been worse.
Erica:Really? I think they just had to wait it out a while but everything was ok in the end.
Abby: Are you feeling ok?
Abby and Erica’s jointly agreed upon rating: three-and-a-half-shells

Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace

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What it’s about: A memoir by Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace that explores her experiences with gender dysphoria and transition while tracing her life has a musician.

What made me pick it up: Oh man, I pre-ordered this the moment I heard it was going to be published. Grace has been a longtime hero of mine, her music was the backing track to my later teen years, and so I was thrilled to see she’d be penning something longer than a few verses.

My favorite things: The inclusion of journal entries within the narrative is well done and offers a more intimate understanding of Grace’s experiences, making it all more real and easier for the reader to empathize. I also appreciated them because I got a little bit of thrill each time I spotted a line in one of her entries that became a lyric or song title. The way she considers difficult questions that follow her coming out is eye-opening. How does her identity impact her wife’s understanding of her own sexuality? Will she still be Daddy to her young daughter? Grace is brutally honest about herself and her band and it is in turns infuriating and heartbreaking. She has no trouble opening up about all of her experiences and emotions, from depression and self-loathing to anger and entitlement.

Who it’s great for:  Memoir readers seeking drama and dirt. Fans of Against Me! who don’t mind reading harsh words about the rest of the band. Anyone looking for a painfully honest story of transition and redemption.

Abby’s rating: three-and-a-half-shells


Pick up a copy of Tranny at Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.


 

The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan (2016)

51yp96i9jnl

What it’s about: In 2020, a transgender teen, her mom, and their grieving neighbor Dylan plod through a frozen apocalypse together.

What made me pick it up: I read Fagan’s first book The Panopticon which was equally bleak but also hopeful. I enjoy the way she writes characters and her use of language. The Scottish brogue mixed in is also very entertaining and instructive if you’re like me and Google each unknown word. When I saw the press for this I placed a hold.

My favorite things: Fagan makes Stella’s journey as a trans teen extremely relatable and realistic. You feel the depth of all the characters’ confusing emotions, which is one of my favorite aspects of her writing. You also feel the bleakness of their deepening winter, in a way that’s almost too real.

Who it’s great for: Adults who can handle a large dose of heaviness sprinkled throughout with bits of light. Those who like ambiguity. Anyone who wants to feel like it’s deep January somewhere north of Florida.

Erica’s rating: three-and-a-half-shells