Alone at home, twelve-year-old Grayson Sender glows, immersed in beautiful thoughts and dreams. But at school, Grayson grasps at shadows, determined to fly under the radar. Because Grayson has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body.
The weight of this secret is crushing, but leaving it behind would mean facing ridicule, scorn, and rejection. Despite these dangers, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Strengthened by an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher who gives her a chance to step into the spotlight, Grayson might finally have the tools to let her inner light shine.
Debut author Ami Polonsky’s moving, beautifully-written novel shines with the strength of a young person’s spirit and the enduring power of acceptance.
Often LGBT novels fall into one of these categories; preaching, provocative, bullying. Or at least the ones I've read so far. Therefor Gracefully Grayson was definitely something different. It's the first time I've read a novel concerning this subject and with a main character at such a young age. The voice Ami has given Grayson, was wonderfully done and very well written.
While being gay has become more commonly accepted, people stuck in the wrong body is an entirely another matter. Grayson has always known he was a girl, but for as long as he can remember he's had to hide that fact. He sees himself as a girl and wished other people would be able to see this part of him without having it to be a big deal. Until now Grayson has always locked himself away from other people, keeping his distance and never making any real friends. For the kids in his class, he's the quiet freak, they don't know what to make of him. At home he's Grayson, the quiet boy, who they wished to be happier.
This story tells the tale of Grayson very slowly bringing his inner self outward. It starts of a bit slow, but as soon as Grayson takes this one big chance, you get completely suck in. He's a twelve year-old-kid who just wants to be able to be himself and taking this chance is helping him with that. Of course it will unfortunately never be easy, and other kids will tease him and even adults have trouble accepting this. Luckily there are also people and family supporting him.
While that is the biggest subject or issue in the book, it's not just that. Grayson is twelve years old, which means he's also dealing with the beginning of puberty and overall just trying to fit in. He's a bit lost, and the struggles he has with expressing himself have a lot of influence on other parts of his life as well.
One of the best facts of this story is that they never used any labels, except when other kids teased Grayson that is. Though concerning his identity no labels concerning LGBT were used and I loved that. Grayson is a girl and that's it, you might want to call it transgender, but the fact remains that he feels he's a girl and therefore is a girl.
I don't deal well with prejudice people and bullies, so my heart broke for Grayson with all the people not handling the situation well or the bullying. How his family also deals with the fact is surprising and the uncle handled it simply perfect. It's not easy if this happens close to you, I can not even imagine nor will I pretend I do. I can certainly understand that his aunts wants to protect him from the bad in the world, though that doesn't mean Grayson should hide who he is, rather stand by his side.
Gracefully Grayson is a near perfect debut. Ami Polonsky has written an amazing novel and character. No matter what your age is, no matter how you think or feel about this subject, I fully recommend you read it.