{Bieke Reviews Early} Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Posted December 1, 2015 by Bee in Reviews / 8 Comments

{Bieke Reviews Early} Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Symptoms of Being Human

by Jeff Garvin
Published on February 2nd 2016
by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | B&N | BookDepository | Goodreads

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

5 Stars

Sometimes I have this gut instinct about a book that tells me I have to read it because something inside me is screaming at me that it’ll be amazing. Symptoms of Being Human is one of those books and when I finally listened to that voice inside my head, it ended up being my first 5-star read in more than a month.

Symptoms of Being Human is about Riley Cavanaugh. Riley is many things. Punk Rock, snarky, funny, rebellious, and gender-fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a girl, other days as a boy. But Riley isn’t exactly out yet. Not in Riley’s new school, not to Riley’s mother and congressman father who’s running for reelection. On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth about what it’s like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But then unexpectedly the blog goes viral and someone in Riley’s new school finds out about everything and threatens with exposure so Riley has to decide what to do. Run away from it or come out and risk everything.

Gender identity is something completely separate from sexual orientation and it’s not something I’m completely familiar with yet because I don’t hear much about it. So I read these books partly because I love learning more about these different things. Gender-fluid was new to me. I had heard the term but I didn’t know anything about it really. So in my opinion, these types of books can serve as a means to educate people about these topics, which is a really good thing! I celebrate all types of diversity in books and I’m a very open-minded person, being a part of the LGBT+ community myself. And on that part, Symptoms of Being Human certainly did its job very well. I’m very happy to have learned more about what gender fluid means and what it’s like to be a gender fluid teenager. So props to that, Mr. Garvin, sir.

Of course there’s more to this book than just that and what makes me so happy is that the other stuff is also so very very good! The story is touching and has a lot of moments that hit me right in the feels. Riley’s journey throughout this book and the things Riley experiences touched my heart and I felt for Riley all the way through. Riley is an amazing character, so inspirational and strong while also being a bad ass, punk rock, snarky and so very funny. But next to Riley, there’s also Riley’s parents who were such a great part of the story, a rare thing in YA these days. Riley has amazingly supportive parents, which is something I LOVE to see. And then there’s Solo and Bec, Riley’s friends, whom she meets in the new school. I loved both of them so very much and they were great friends. All of these characters get so much love from me. Is there romance? Well… I’m not telling. I went into it not knowing and I want you to do the same. So… Be surprised! Whether there is a romance or not shouldn’t be a deciding factor for you to read this book or not. You should read it. Period.

Symptoms of Being Human is a very touching and important story to read. Not only because YAY DIVERSITY!!, but also because it’s just an amazing book period. While I do have to mention that this review was challenging because I tried to avoid calling Riley he or she as I do not know which to choose this day and by the time this review goes up, who really knows how Riley will feel that day? So go get this book on Edelweiss or pre-order it or both, just make sure you read it.


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8 responses to “{Bieke Reviews Early} Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

  1. I’m super curious about this one!! And I’m like you…i like to read books to LEARN about stuff, and I admit I know like zlich about what being gender-fluid really means. So I do have this one on my wish list! (I should sneak over to Edelweiss…because I totally don’t have enough books on my TBR as is. *dies under weight of hundreds of books*

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