Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill
About: Katie never felt comfortable in her own skin. She realized very young that a serious mistake had been made; she was a girl who had been born in the body of a boy. Suffocating under her peers’ bullying and the mounting pressure to be “normal,” Katie tried to take her life at the age of eight years old. After several other failed attempts, she finally understood that “Katie”-the girl trapped within her-was determined to live.
Why I recommend it: It is so important to me to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes”. I loved reading this book and I learned a lot about the LGBT community, especially transgenderism. I love how Katie wrote her story so the reader felt like they were learning everything right along with her. I could not put this book down.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
About: Sixteen-year-old Willowdean wants to prove to everyone in her small Texas town that she is more than just a fat girl, so, while grappling with her feelings for a co-worker who is clearly attracted to her, Will and some other misfits prepare to compete in the beauty pageant her mother runs.
Why I recommend it: Again, I love stories about someone who is “different” since we are all unique in our own ways. The majority of girls, or people in general, have something about themselves that they don’t like. I love how Willowdean deals with her struggles and proves that our differences are beautiful.
Better than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
About: Setting high ambitions for an Ivy League education and successful life, Juliet begins questioning her strict family rules in the face of her father’s abandonment, her mother’s instability, and her growing feelings for a boy.
Why I recommend it: Kind of opposite of my other two picks, Juliet’s life seems to be perfect; She’s pretty, has a boyfriend of four years, beautiful parents, and a lifestyle that includes a gardener, pool boy, and housekeeper. All of the sudden, she finds herself with separated parents, scoring low on the SATs, and falling for a boy who is not her boyfriend. I really enjoyed reading how Juliet made decisions in her life to be happy instead of just making everyone else proud and appeasing their desires for her future. Not to mention, one of the main character’s name is Declan, which is my favorite guy name!