I kept hearing about Symptoms of Being Human. It was on a ridiculous amount of most anticipated 2016 debuts so when offered a chance to read it, I snapped it up. As you may have noticed by previous reviews, I enjoy diverse books and like expanding my horizons by reading about different perspectives. I am glad I was able to read this, as gender fluid is not something I was familiar with. It is defined as – Gender Fluid is a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl. A person who is Gender Fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more boy some days, and more girl other days. Being Gender Fluid has nothing to do with which set of genitalia one has, nor their sexual orientation.
One of the main plot points of Symptoms of Being Human is that you do not know if the main character, Riley, is biologically male or female. I admit, at first, I tried to suss it out and kept looking for clues. Then a few chapters in, the story sucked me in and I forgot the gender issue and became entranced with Riley. Riley is a person trying to figure out where they best fit in, and not feeling comfortable in their own skin. Adding to this is the fact that Riley is a Congressman running for re-election in a conservative county. Riley tries to blend in and stay below the radar, until the blog that holds his/her innermost thoughts gets exposed.
Jeff Garvin created such a real world with the Symptoms of Being Human. I could visualize the school halls and sense the angst. The pacing was good, not too fast and not too slow. The plot was spectacular, such a unique view. The writing was crisp and carried the emotions well. Riley was a fantastic main character and so were the friends. The on negative was the standard YA parents. Unconcerned with their child’s emotions, they kept forcing their views and needs on Riley. Yes, I understand you need conflict to carry on a plot, but the school bullies did it just fine. One of these days YA parents will be supportive.
The Symptoms of Being Human is Jeff Garvin’s debut novel. In it he created a character to give a unique voice to an underserved community. I sincerely hope that Garvin continues to write and expand, not just my horizons, but those everywhere. Diversity in books is so important and I am glad to add another author to the list of diverse reads I loved.
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.