Author: Ami Polonsky
Publication Date: November 4th 2014
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
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.
There's no doubt Gracefully Grayson is an important story to tell, and since it's between the Middle Grade age range, it's an important story for those ages to read. It's not an easy read, and maybe you're not going to outwardly get it, but you can't deny that at some point in here you'll stop and think about it. People's actions, reactions, their ignorance and prejudice of what's right and what's wrong. It's not a story you can relate to, it's not one you can imagine being in that persons shoes and try to understand because, honestly? How can you understand unless it's you.
I think these days, while there is still prejudice against people who are gay, but it's more accepted than seeing a guy wearing girls clothes, and I think it's more to do with something that people fear what they don't understand. It's not as simple as a guy liking a guy or a girl liking a girl. It's not as simple as a boy whose really a girl liking a boy or liking a girl, it's not as simple as a girl whose really a boy liking a boy or liking a girl. And it isn't about a guy liking to dress up in women's clothes and wear makeup. Transgender has nothing to do with sexuality. It's about not being in the right skin.
Can you honestly imagine that? Not being who you really are, afraid to be who you really are, that when you look in the mirror you see the outside of you, your gender, how you look, how everyone see's you, but feeling and looking completely different on the inside and not see that when you look in the mirror?
The one thing you can take away from Gracefully Grayson is honest bravery, and while you think you can't be who you want to be because people won't understand, and maybe they won't, but there are people out there who will support you, who will help you through it. Like in Gracefully Grayson, there's a teacher, Mr. Finn who, once he understands what Grayson is trying to say when auditioning for the schools play, The Myth of Persephone as Persephone, and he helps Grayson in his own way, to see that it's okay to be yourself-whatever that self is. We need more teachers like that.
In the beginning Grayson's scared and lonely, feeling like there's no one to turn to, and then takes a chance of making friends with the new girl, only to be exactly at the same position, defeated of trying and pretending. So it was fun that once taking that bigger leap in auditioning, you see the difference it makes, in Grayson's voice. Grayson didn't have a strong voice, if one at all, since Grayson felt invisible, so it was really great seeing Grayson find it.
Gracefully Grayson was bold and tactfully told, it showed the negatives and backlash of a Transgender person, but it also focused on the positives and showed that while it might be bad for a while, it gets better.