Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Book Review: Something Like Gravity

I can't remember who I was talking to when I mentioned I really haven't read many books in the LGBTQ+ arena because it isn't my jam. I am incredibly support and pro everyone, it's just not the thing that really interests me. I can't really explain it but I normally leave those books for others to enjoy. But then this pretty book showed up at my house and I'm really enjoying the recent YA releases so immediately I was interested. I actually didn't know this was about a transgender boy until I was into the book and I felt like that was how it was meant to be.

Something Like Gravity - Amber Smith

For fans of Love, Simon and Eleanor and Park, a romantic and sweet novel about a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time—and how first love changes us all—from New York Times bestselling author Amber Smith.

Chris and Maia aren’t off to a great start.

A near-fatal car accident first brings them together, and their next encounters don’t fare much better. Chris’s good intentions backfire. Maia’s temper gets the best of her.

But they’re neighbors, at least for the summer, and despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to stay away from each other.

The path forward isn’t easy. Chris has come out as transgender, but he’s still processing a frightening assault he survived the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister and trying to find her place in the world without her. Falling in love was the last thing on either of their minds.

But would it be so bad if it happened anyway?

I went into this book not realizing it had a transgender boy. I only read the first three paragraphs and assumed this would be solid, I'd enjoy it, all would be swell.

And then I started reading. I'll tell you right now that I am so glad I didn't skip this one and I am so glad it came into my life. I know there are others who have read this and are critical with how the transgender character was fleshed out and I guess I don't share any of their critiques. I really liked Chris and I thought he was 10000 times better than Maia. I didn't like Maia's character from the start because she seemed greatly immature but also self absorbed. Chris was just genuine and kind, beautiful and strong, just really such a great character.

The book centers on Chris and Maia told in alternating voices. Chris has moved to Carson for the summer to live with his aunt after a pretty scary and horrific event back home which have sent his parents reeling and unsure how to deal so him being in a different location while everyone gets their bearings straight and some perspective is the best solution. Maia is fresh off the unexpected death of her sister and her parent's subsequent divorce. Very much left to her own devices, Maia has tried to... I'm not even sure? Like try to become one with her sister because... I'm not even sure? To feel special? I don't know and I don't think Maia knows.

They come together when Chris almost hits Maia with his car. Naturally.

Over the course of the summer Chris would learn how to open up to someone about being transgender, how to handle those beginning flickers of love and lust, and how to really embrace the realities and challenges of being transgender.

I won't give anything away but I want you to know that the first love and the first heartbreak and all of the feelings that come with it? This author nailed and when I finished the book I could feel in my gut what each of them was feeling. Secondly, I love how the author tackled the horrifying reality of being transgender and experiencing violence and what that does to their family as well. That is a hard topic to handle and she did it really well. Maia's storyline and character development felt a little murky for me. I felt like I expected, and wanted, there to be more to her dark secret and I was a little disappointed when it was what we knew all along. I felt like in real life, that secret wouldn't have warranted the result that it did but.... we're in a book so we get what we get.

In the end, Chris was all that mattered and Chris was so well written for me that it trumps everything else.

Towards the end was a conversation between Chris and his mom that hit me so hard because I am a mom and I understand what she was saying and experiencing. They were talking about Christina become Chris and how Chris didn't understand how his mom was so supportive of the changes of being less girl but wanting to become a boy somehow crossed the line. On page 372:
"You have to understand" - she gripped my hands tights- "you were taking her away from me. That's why I was angry. I had to get all mama tiger on someone, and that someone was you." She coughed, trying to hold back her tears. "And I think I was grieving too, mourning you. I was holding on so hard to the person you used to be, I didn't realize you were still here." 
I feel that to my core. I am going through something with one of my kids where, though I love them fiercely and 100% supportive of their new path, I have to mourn what I had accepted as our future. When you're kids are born there are a set of milestones set in place: walking, talking, school, driving, graduation, first love, prom, college, wedding, grandchildren, etc. When something happens and you realize the future is uncertain and you don't know what milestones are coming, if any, a parent is going to feel sad. Maybe for awhile, maybe for just a minute, and I sometimes wonder if kids forget about that. It's their life and their choices, but as parents we will always want to see you go through these milestones. Even when my kids are 50, I still can't wait to see what they do with their life. All that to say, I could understand Chris's mother.

I highly recommend this book. It's a really great book that tackles transgender, family acceptance, death, grief, teenage love and loss and just being a teenager and how hard it is learning to navigate life and relationships. I really thought this was done well and just enjoyed it start to finish.

This post contains affiliate links which helps keep this little blog going. A big thank you Simon & Schuster for a copy to review, all thoughts are my own and I want to hear what your thoughts are on this book! Sound off below!

1 comment:

Shooting Stars Mag said...

You've told me before you tend to not read LGBT+ books, so maybe it was me? lol I'm glad you ended up reading this one though since it sounds like it was something you could really connect to and feel the emotion. I love that in books. I've read other reviews for this where people liked Chris a lot more than Maia, so you aren't alone there.