Karen Rayne and Kathryn Gonzales' "Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You" is a comprehensive guide for transgender teens.
Without access to resources, growing up as a transgender person can feel isolating. However, the authors emphasize that transgender people exist as “part of a strong, important global history.” In this handbook for navigating young adulthood as a transgender person, debut author Gonzales and Rayne ("Girl," 2017, etc.) organize the chapters into six sections: an introduction to gender, dysphoria and coming out; body development and reproduction; paths for transitioning; strategies for dating, building healthy relationships and identifying unhealthy patterns; sexual activity and health; and confronting challenges in other aspects of life like school and work. Each chapter includes diary entries from trans people of varying identities and backgrounds. The authors also chime in with their own personal reflections. Quirky portraits of each contributor accompany the diary entries and author reflections. A conversational tone makes the content more engaging and approachable. Along the way, Gonzales and Rayne stress that certain topics may be triggering or exacerbate dysphoria for readers, so they encourage skipping parts or replacing terminology that feels uncomfortable with more affirming words as a means of self-care. Every chapter ends with additional trans-centered resources. While the guide covers a broad range of topics, a central theme unites them: Transgender people of all identities have their own valuable narratives to share that are deserving of respect.
This book is honest, inclusive and essential.
(Rayne and Gonzales will speak and sign copies of their book at 2 p.m. Sunday at BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Information: bookpeople.com.)
A terrifying tale through the lens of fatherhood
In "The Whisper Man" by Alex North, the serial killer who terrorized a small British town by kidnapping and murdering five little boys has been locked up for over a decade. So who could have taken 6-year-old Neil Spencer?
"The first forty-eight hours following a disappearance are the most crucial." And yet one of those hours has gone by the time Neil's separated parents realize he never made it from his father's house to his mother's, a short walk he took alone. One of the main investigators of the crime is DI Pete Willis, who cracked a similar case years back and has never quite recovered from it, especially since one of the missing boys was never found. Is there an accomplice still on the loose? As Willis and his colleagues comb the town for clues about the disappearance, a recently widowed novelist and his young son move into what they don't yet know is called "the scary house." Jake is a bright but isolated child who has relied heavily on an imaginary friend and a Packet of Special Things for comfort since he came home from school one day to find his mother's lifeless body at the foot of the stairs. This move is meant to be a much-needed fresh start for the grieving and bewildered father and son, but from the start nothing goes right. On Jake's first day at his new school, the other children draw him into discussion about the missing boy and the Whisper Man who took him. Soon enough, Jake hears whispering too. North's novel pits nasty men submerged in evil against decent men struggling to do good; several father-son pairs reflect the challenges and darker possibilities of this relationship, though plotlines involving female characters are a bit undeveloped.
A terrifying page-turner with the complexities of fatherhood at its core.