Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-MillsBeautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Published: Flux (2012), Paperback, 262pg
Source: Library
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, GLBTQ

"This is Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, on community radio 90.3, KZUK. I'm Gabe. Welcome to my show."

My birth name is Elizabeth, but I'm a guy. Gabe. My parents think I've gone crazy and the rest of the world is happy to agree with them, but I know I'm right. I've been a boy my whole life.

When you think about it, I'm like a record. Elizabeth is my A side, the song everybody knows, and Gabe is my B side--not heard as often, but just as good.

It's time to let my B side play. (from Goodreads)

Why don’t I read more contemporary fiction? Maybe because I keep getting seduced by books with dragons and wizards and whatnot. Anyway, if, like me, you feel you need to read more YA contemporary books, Beautiful Music for Ugly Children might be a good book to add to your TBR list.

Here’s why!
1. it’s got a transgendered protagonist– very unusual for a YA book, PLUS it’s done in a way that seems to be realistic (coming from a non-transgendered person’s perspective) without dipping into a “story of the week” kind of thing.

2. it’s got romance and it’s not a super depressing romance! I mean, there are PARTS that’re depressing (including parts not dealing with the romance) but overall it’s a pretty positive book.

3. there are lots of music references, including the chapter titles which are all “[something] is the new Elvis because [something].” And the references aren’t the kind that’ll make you feel dumb for not knowing about them already! Yay!

4. it teaches you about things (like various GLBTQ issues) without being preachy or obviously “here is a thing you will learn whether you like it or not.” Ninja-like education! Huzzah!

I think it makes for a pretty good summertime book, too. There’s something about it that makes it a good book to read while lounging in a hammock under some trees, for example.

Read: May 25, 2013

You may also like: Tama Wise’s Street Dreams and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

And be sure to check out this article! The Grey of Gender: Intersex and Gender Variant/Non-Binary Characters in YA (found via Diversity in YA, which you should totally be following because it’s awesome).

2 thoughts on “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills”

  1. I love the excerpt. That’s a wonderful way of describing how it feels to live part of your life in secret. I also do not read that much contemporary fiction but this looks well worth it. I was reading some Diana Wynne Jones essays where she said cross things about the YA novels that are, like, kids dealing with a problem; and she said it was iniquitous to give books like that to children dealing with that problem. However, I do not agree. All depends on the kid, I think.

    1. I agree, too, though on the other hand sometimes people give kids those books in lieu of a conversation about whatever the issue is and that’s not good either.

      Do you remember the title of the essay, by the way?

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