Review of Both Sides Now

Both Sides Now
by Peyton Thomas
High School    Dial    304 pp.    g
8/21    978-0-593-32281-9    $17.99

“Brilliant” debate team star Finch is a young trans man who is months away from transition surgery. The high school senior’s parents struggle financially, which makes debating success and the potential scholarship especially important to Finch’s hopes for college and a political career. His friend and debate partner Jonah is a similarly talented debater (and, as Finch observes, strikingly handsome). The two friends are tested when a debate topic requires them to argue against trans rights and everything they believe in. As the teens develop clearer understandings of themselves and their relationships, they are confronted with unconscious bias, including from generally supportive loved ones. Jonah, who is Filipino American, also faces racism. A cast of characters who are wise beyond their years and embrace their nerdiness exemplifies the diversity and spectrum of gender identity and sexual orientation. Debut author Thomas’s conversational writing style is highly engaging and should draw readers in with a compelling story of self-realization and a bit of youthful romance.

From the November/December 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Nicholas A. Brown

Honduran-American librarian and arts producer Nicholas A. Brown is acting co-CEO and chief operating officer for communication and outreach at the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, an adjunct faculty in library and information science at The Catholic University of America, a District of Columbia Library Association past president, an ALA Rainbow Round table member, and a former Library of Congress music specialist.

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