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.