George by Alex Gino – book review

George by Alex Gino

George by Alex Gino

Published: August 25th 2015 by Scholastic Press

Length: 240 pages

Where I got it: Library!

Why I got it: I saw it in a book haul on Youtube and the synopsis caught my attention straight away.

Summary from Goodreads:

BE WHO YOU ARE.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

I cannot explain fully how important this book is.

George is a story about a very young girl who is dealing with the fact that although everyone is expecting her to be a boy she simply isn’t happy being one. With their year putting on a play of Charlotte, George is determined to play the main role despite what her teacher said. Just from that short description, you can already imagine how courageous our main character is. George is the definition of brave and I can honestly say she is one of the greatest role models any child can have.

The biggest surprise for me when reading this book came at me straight away and that was the pronouns. Going into this book I assumed that George will be referred to as a “he” but that wasn’t what happened at all and it was such a pleasant surprise. I am thrilled to say George’s identity and journey was respected to the fullest. This, along with the simple yet charming writing, Alex Gino presents a really wonderful novel that everybody should read.

Something that really caught my attention with this book is how hyper-sensitive children are about “acting their gender,” especially the boys. We see it throughout the book and although at first I was slightly stunned at how big of a deal this was, when I look back at when I was that young I could definitely spot the similarities. Boys have to be active and sporty and radiate the careless attitude. It’s hard to read this book and not think of how ridiculous it all is. The author definitely highlights this issue with some of the side characters which wows me every time I think about it.

George receives the easiest five star rating I’ve given this year. To think that we are at a point in children’s literature in when LGBT+ issues and topic can be written about without it being deemed “inappropriate” or thought of as “adult only” makes me incredibly happy. After this book I will definitely be picking up anything and everything Alex Gino writes and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

If this book goes on to gain as much success as it deserves, I can only imagine what an impact it would make on people’s opinions and how it could make some kids out there feel a little less alone.

RATING: [5/5]