Rating: 3.4 stars
Pen battles with friendships falling apart, new love, old-world parents, all while trying to figure out who she is through how she looks.
I was pretty excited about this one considering all the buzz that I’d heard. It looked like a solid book about identity, not questioning sexual identity, but examining the borders of the gender spectrum. Although it did this to some degree, I wish there was a lot more to it rather than just touching upon it. Most of the discussions were around Pen’s physical appearance to her family, friends, school, I just hoped that it would transcend a little deeper than it did.
One of the biggest problems I had with the book was the parental element. There was a lot of talk of Pen stating that she didn’t understand her parents because they spoke Portuguese and little English. I really didn’t understand how someone could grow up in a household like this and not know Portuguese better. Maybe this is possible, but to me, it just didn’t make any sense.
I loved the development of the relationship with her brother. It was nice to see Pen receiving some kind of acceptance like that in her life. The love story could really have been given more feelings. It seemed to fall into place far too quickly and very little suspense. It left me wanting more, and not in the best way possible.
All in all, I had a lot of hope, with not the story I was hoping for or expecting it to be.
Recommendations: it’s certainly an older book. I wouldn’t stick it in my middle school library, as there’s a little too much mature content.