Zenobia July is starting a new life. She used to live in Arizona with her father; now she’s in Maine with her aunts. She used to spend most of her time behind a computer screen, improving her impressive coding and hacking skills; now she’s coming out of her shell and discovering a community of friends at Monarch Middle School. People used to tell her she was a boy; now she’s able to live openly as the girl she always knew she was.
When someone anonymously posts hateful memes on her school’s website, Zenobia knows she’s the one with the abilities to solve the mystery, all while wrestling with the challenges of a new school, a new family, and coming to grips with presenting her true gender for the first time.
The first book I read that featured a transgender girl was Georgeby Alex Gino, one of my first book review. I didn’t do a great job at explaining what being transgender is like because 1) the subject of transgenders was new to me and 2) writing book reviews was still new to me. It’s been four years since I read that book and now after reading this story, I now have a better understanding on the subject. I’m not going to pretend that I know everything about being transgender, but I do have more of a general understanding. Zenobia herself gives a better explanation on being transgender.
The story itself, to me, shows what life it like for someone who is not excepted for who they really are. Unlike in the story George, Zenobia isn’t accepted right away as a trans girl. Some of the characters in the story who just don’t get it say things like “they are too young to understand gender” and “they are just confused”. From what I can understand, like many things being trans isn’t just something you choose to be, you’re born with it. It’s not like, “Hey, today I think I’ll be a girl. And tomorrow I’ll be a fish.”
The only problem I had with this story was the abundance of so many characters with their own gender identity. I can only handle a story with maybe two or three different issues going on at the same time, but this one has ten or more. When a story tries to fit in too many topics at once, each topic doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves.
The most important thing to learn from this story is that whether someone is gay, lesbian, trans, gender queer, etc. it is nothing to be afraid or ashamed ofand we are all just people.
On an ending note, here’s a YouTube link to a video on Things Not to Say to a Trans Person (some of the questions I don’t think you should ask anyone).
I’d like to share this other video I found on a YouTube channel called Storybooth, where people record and submit their real-life stories to be animated and shared with the world. This story is about a girl who found out her best friend is a transgender girl and how their friendship grew.
Here’s one last bonus YouTube link to a video about the TV show Supergirl’s new star Nicole Maines, who talks to Ellen DeGeneres about growing up transgender.
I wanted to add this one because I think Nicole Maines is really cool.