I am J

I am J

3.77 (6,992 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Hola, Jeni."J spun. His stomach clenched hard, as though he'd been hit. It was just the neighbor lady, Mercedes. J couldn't muster a hello back, not now; he didn't care that she'd tell his mom he'd been rude. She should know better. Nobody calls me Jeni anymore.J always felt different. He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was: a boy mistakenly born as a girl. Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him; eventually J stopped praying to wake up a "real boy" and started covering up his body, keeping himself invisible - from his family, from his friends...from the world. But after being deserted by the best friend he thought would always be by his side, J decides that he's done hiding - it's time to be who he really is. And this time he is determined not to give up, no matter the cost.An inspiring story of self-discovery, of choosing to stand up for yourself, and of finding your own path - readers will recognize a part of themselves in J's struggle to love his true self.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 145 x 216 x 30mm | 470g
  • Little, Brown Young Readers
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0316053619
  • 9780316053617
  • 728,981

Review Text

An ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Title
A California State Recommended Literature List Pick
An Amazon Best Book of the Month Pick
A Kirkus Reviews Best YA Book of the Year
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Review quote

* " Easily the best book to date about the complicated condition of being a transsexual teen, not only sharing important information that is artfully woven into the plot but also creating, in J, a multilayered, absolutely believable character whose pain readers will share. Perhaps most importantly, the author brings clarity and charity to a state of being that has too long been misunderstood, ignored, and deplored." -- Booklist, starred review
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About Cris Beam

Cris Beam is the author of Transparent, a Stonewall Honor Book and Lambda Literary Award winner. She has an MFA in writing from Columbia University and teaches creative writing at Columbia, New York University, and The New School. I Am J is her debut novel. While living in LA, Cris volunteered at Eagles, a high school for gay and transgender kids. During the 2.5 years Cris taught there, she became deeply involved with a complex but marginalized tribe of transgender teens who had nowhere to go but the streets, one of whom became her foster daughter.
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Rating details

6,992 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 32% (2,217)
4 31% (2,155)
3 24% (1,705)
2 9% (619)
1 4% (296)

Our customer reviews

Wonderfully written and thought out, I Am J is certainly something that I'd recommend to others. There are few books out (that I'm aware of) that describe the thoughts and feelings of transgendered teenagers and it's good to see that there's one that's so authentic. This book really encapsulated how it must feel to be stuck in the wrong gendered body. J's thoughts and struggles seemed very real and it was interesting to see how his world and the people around him changed as he started his physical transition. The strongest point of this book, for me, is that it seemed so realistic. I've never felt as though I've been assigned the wrong gender, but if I had then I'd imagine I'd feel very much like J did and have some of the same struggles. I found the changes in his relationship with his family and friends to be interesting but sometimes their actions did feel a little forced or fake - the only issue that I had with this book. This novel opened my eyes that little bit more to the transgendered community and hopefully it will allow a lot more people to be informed or to even feel more comfortable with themselves. If I was questioning things, J covered it and managed to give me more information. I also found the inclusion of J's best friends self harm issues and the fact that J was a Jewish/Puerto-Rican to be impressive. Beam has made an inspiring choice to write this and her own experience with other trans- men and women are apparent. I really hope that Beam writes more as she has so much to offer.show more
by Stephanie Forster (Stepping out of the Page)
J has always known he was different. Now almost eighteen, he has decided it is time to commit to who he really is and make the fact clear to his parents and his best friend, Melissa. J was born Jeni Silver. His parents have always seen him as their little girl, but J knows deep inside that though his body may be female, he is truly male. Transgender to be exact. After spending most of his life attempting to ignore the betrayal of his body, J is determined to take the steps necessary to become his true self. He wants his parents and his best friend to come to terms with and accept him as transgender, but even if they don't, he will find a way to get the injections of the testosterone that will lower his voice, stimulate facial hair growth, and help him develop the male attributes that will make him be the person he believes he truly is. Author Cris Beam takes a difficult subject and creates a book that will help readers understand the physical and emotional turmoil of one transgender boy. She is able to explain J's gender frustration from an early age, his secret crush on his long-time friend, the constant jeers and taunts from fellow high school students, and the fear of disappointing his parents, who sacrificed much for their daughter. Readers will experience J's self-discovery, his courage, and his determination in facing the long, hard path before him.show more
by TeensReadToo
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