Title: SOME GIRLS BIND
Author: Rory James
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Pub Date: 02.01.2019
TW: mention of homophobia
Jamie knows that she isn’t like other girls. She has a secret. She binds her chest every day to feel more like herself. Jamie questions why she is drawn to this practice and why she is afraid of telling her friends, who have their own secrets. Could she really be genderqueer?
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange of an honest review.
A beautifully written story about confusions about gender identity, coming to terms with it and mustering courage to come out. This sweet and heartfelt story explores friendship, family relationships and the struggles of being a teenager, as well as understanding yourself.
The book follows Jamie, a genderqueer teenager as they try to understand their gender identity at the same time supporting friends through their hardships and learning how to come out.
The cover seemed a little off, and the description starts off with ‘not like other girls’, but I still wanted to read this book because it is about a dfab teen coming out as genderqueer written from ownvoices perspective. And in that sense, it didn’t disappoint me.
The story starts off with Jamie mentioning all the different kind of life problems each of their classmates has. It was great to see the friends supporting each other through it. The friendship and sibling dynamics were definitely wholesome and quite realistic. So was Jamie’s relationship with their family. It was a heartwarming read.
Now, let’s talk about Jamie’s character. They were overly likeable– a supportive friend, a good sibling. Nothing was wrong with them which in fact sounded unrealistic. They sounded unrelatable to me. I wasn’t expecting to relate since mine and Jamie’s life has nothing in common, but I was expecting to see a three dimensional character which the author didn’t create.
We get a very brief look into what it feels to find out you’re genderqueer. We see Jamie’s thoughts, their confusion, their fear of coming out. Still, we see barely a fraction of all of those emotions. We don’t see the physical pain, we don’t see that body dysphoria that comes with that binding. Since the book is all about finding out your gender identity, I believe it had so much more room to show it in depth but it didn’t.
The narrative style was kind of off, too. It is written in verse, but not strong enough to hook you in. Jamie’s thoughts get repetitive. And the story reads like middle grade. When we see Jamie, we don’t see a highschool junior. We see someone who’s in middle school. The only thing that makes them look their age is that they drive. I think the narrative style would have worked better if Jamie was younger.
Overall, the book perfectly catches some very confusing and equally frightening experiences of finding your gender identity, accepting it and looking for others who would accept it too. I wish I had this book when I was still learning my own gender identity.