f2m: the boy within

f2m: the boy within - Hazel Edwards & Ryan Kennedy

For various reasons I have been reading a fair amount of YA fiction of late. Part of that has been checking out trans-themed books for teenagers. This is one of them. f2m: the boy within, is not science fiction. It is, however, relevant to my South Pacific Tour because Hazel Edwards is from Melbourne and her co-author, Ryan Scott Kennedy, is from Wellington. I understand that Hazel will be at Worldcon. I have no idea whether Ryan will be at Au Contraire, but I’m sure he’ll be very welcome if he decides to turn up.

The book tells the story of Skye, the lead singer and guitarist in an all-girl punk band, who decides to transition to male. He adopts the name Finn, and goes through the usual problems with family, friends and the authorities on his journey to be true to himself.

As kids’ books goes, this one appears to be fairly in the educational camp. While the subject matter is liable to cause conniptions amongst religious fundamentalists, the book itself is very approachable and non-confrontational. It is exactly the sort of book that I can imagine a progressive school approving of. Sure Finn is something of a rebel, and plays very loud music, but there’s nothing here any sensible parent could object to, and the treatment of the subject is honest and informative.

I’m sure that trans kids will devour the book hungrily, but I’m hoping that the real intended audience is non-trans kids, especially those who suddenly discover that one of their friends is trans.

Judging from her website, Hazel has an established career as a writer of books for children. She has also been to Antarctica, which is very cool in more ways than one. Ryan appears to have provided the expertise on trans people and punk rock, which is equally cool without the need for thermal undies.

The book was originally published in Australia, but there’s a Lightning Source edition available from The Book Depository [buy isbn=”9781876462901″] and you can also get it on the Kindle.

Anyone know of any similar books? I have a copy of Luna by Julie Anne Peters [buy isbn=”9780316011273″], and I’ve reviewed one or two fantasy books.

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3 Responses to f2m: the boy within

  1. Kelly Buehler says:

    I saw a sign in town for a launch party for this book. I wish I could have attended, but my lecture schedule got in the way. I was pleased at how welcome the book and its authors were in the bookstores. Attitudes have changed in my lifetime so that this is a safe book to write and to promote and to read. I am pleased by this. Things aren’t perfect, but seeing the amount of publicity this book was given made me feel that things are moving in the right direction.

    • Cheryl says:

      It’s a green shoot. Hopefully it will grow into something wonderful, but while so much prejudice still exists, particularly in the mass media, government and health services, it is by no means established yet.

  2. Kay says:

    Hey Cheryl, it’s great to hear that you’re coming to Au Contraire. I’ll be there with my partner Tim Jones who writes SF and magic realism and poetry – http://timjonesbooks.blogspot.com/

    Ryan’s a friend so if he and his partner Brooklynne don’t get to the Con, we should still be able to organise coffee or similar. Drop me a line if you like

    As Kelly says there has been some progress addressing transphobia in New Zealand but I don’t know if this extends to Australia. NZ had the first openly transgender MP in Asia Pacific when former Mayor Georgina Beyer was elected. She’s out of Parliament now and back running to be elected as mayor again. NZ’s Human Rights Commission has also been conducting a Transgender Inquiry http://www.hrc.co.nz and info like
    http://ers.govt.nz/publications/transgender/transgender-people-employees.html

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