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Between Perfect and Real cover art

Between Perfect and Real

By: Ray Stoeve
Narrated by: MW Cartozian Wilson
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Summary

A moving YA debut about a trans boy finding his voice - and himself.  

Dean Foster knows he’s a trans guy. He’s watched enough YouTube videos and done enough questioning to be sure. But everyone at his high school thinks he’s a lesbian - including his girlfriend, Zoe, and his theater director, who just cast him as a “nontraditional” Romeo. He wonders if maybe it would be easier to wait until college to come out. But as he plays Romeo every day in rehearsals, Dean realizes he wants everyone to see him as he really is now - not just on the stage, but everywhere in his life. Dean knows what he needs to do. Can playing a role help Dean be his true self?

©2021 Ray Stoeve (P)2021 Recorded Books

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Profile Image for Jackson Theofore Keys
  • Jackson Theofore Keys
  • 30-04-21

Transgender story that was almost really good

I love YA books in that kids learn about and find themselves. This book did the same with a guy who comes to terms and then begins the transition to become the transmasculine boy he wants to be. A lot of the story is stop on in relation to the typical teenage trans journey. The plot was predictable, but still enjoyable. The characters were a bit flat. Except for the MC and his father, I felt like I never got a handle in the characters. In fact, in many cases, I couldn't tell the characters apart. Was Allison the friend or the snotty kid? One would think that it should be obvious in the plot and character development, and yet... The last thing that bothered me was the internal dialogue of the MC. Sometimes he sounded like a typical teen, but other times, I swear he sounded like a 40 year old English professor. He was much, much too mature over emotional messes that most adults would have problems with. In many ways I just couldn't believe in his teenage journey, except in relation to his transness.

The narrator was just okay. They read the book well, but gave the character a flat affect (though that might have come from the book itself). My real annoyance was their reading of Shakespeare. Shakespeare is supposed to flow and has a rhythm and meter that should be observed. The narrator instead read the Shakespearean excerpts like they were just prose, without the lyrical beauty Shakespeare should evoke.

So I give this book 3 stars. I debated giving an extra star just for getting the trans experience correct. However, this is a novel, and even if I dearly want to love its queerness and transness, I can't give it an extra star just for the love of the subject matter.

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  • lil g
  • 27-04-22

love the representation

i really enjoyed the book and feel like it got a lot of the trans experience right but i also think that it focused too much on dysphoria and ignored euphoria

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  • Austin
  • 01-06-21

I adored this book

This book was sad at times, but endearing, and so meaningful to me as a trans person. The author worked hard to represent a variety of experiences through different characters, and the tie-in to Romeo and Juliet throughout the narrative brought a fresh perspective to both the book and the play.