Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin || Eye Opening Book

February 10, 2016 | Posted by Gaby in Book Reviews | 7 Comments

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin || Eye Opening BookSymptoms of Being Human
by Jeff Garvin
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2, 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
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4 Stars
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

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 in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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This was such an eye-opening book. Before I start talking about this book, I first have to say that this book has helped me realize how little I know when it comes to sexual orientations and gender identity. Now this is not because I have no interest in this topic, it’s mainly because I haven’t been exposed to it. For a very long period of my life I was one of those people who thought there could only be straight or gay, gay or lesbian, and so on. Bisexuality and other terms where so foreign to me and not only that but I wasn’t allowed to ask about it or research it, but if there’s a will there’s a way so I started to search, I started to read and I started to learn. But most importantly I started to understand that it’s so wrong to ever think there’s just two ways to identify yourself  or even three ways. If everyone is different how do you expect to categorize people into two groups. We are raised to believe that everyone is different but society can’t seem to accept those differences. That’s the main issue with our society.

But even tho I tried to learn as much as I could, there’s still so much for me to learn. Concepts like gender fluid, pansexual or many other terms are still ones I don’t quite know much about but I want to learn. And this book has been a start.

This book opened my eyes to the immense diversity of human identity. Not only are we reading a book from the perspective of a gender fluid person but we also get to see so many of the other sexual orientations/gender identity and some of the struggles in their life. This book for me was mainly about the struggles and implications of how you define yourself in society. I loved that this book is not a self discovery book and it’s more about the reaction the people have towards a member of the LGBT community. We see the struggles of binary thinking and categorizing. We see all sort of reactions, from the person that is confused to people who don’t approve. This is a book about claiming your identity and being strong enough to show the world. It’s about awareness. It’s about encouraging non-binary thinking. It’s about real life.

I really liked the characters from this book. I feel like every character was so well written into the story and the plot. Usually when there’s a good amount of characters I tend to categorize them into groups depending on the roll they had or the importance they make in the story so I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I can honestly say that I think all of them brought something to the story and that’s something I truly appreciate. I love our main character Riley. Riley felt so real to me, the choices and the reactions felt very realistic and very adequate to the story and the situation. And I liked that we never know what sex Riley is, which is kind of the point of the story but I appreciated none the less. I also liked the other characters like Bec and Solo.

Now I really liked this book, but I do have to say that when people think of a book with these types of topics, they automatically want some heart-wrenching, dramatic, sort of heavy developed plot and I understand but this book is not it. This book is powerful and heartfelt in its own way. I believe the plot of this book is very well done for the type of book it is and the awareness the author wants to create. Emotional, Beautiful and Captivating Book.

I honestly really liked this book and if you are like me and want to learn more from these types of topics then I recommend Symptoms of Being Human.

About Jeff Garvin

Jeff Garvin grew up in Orange County, California, the son of a banker and a magician. He started acting in high school, and enjoyed a fifteen-year career including guest-starring roles in network television series ranging from The Wonder Years to Roseanne to Caroline and the City, as well as several independent features.

While studying at Chapman University, Jeff won awards for classical guitar and visual storytelling before graduating with a BFA in Film. As the front man of his rock band, 7k, Garvin released three albums and toured the United States. When the band dissolved in 2011, Jeff, who had always written short stories and lyrics, found his passion in full-length fiction.

His debut novel, SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN, tells the story of Riley, a 16-year-old gender fluid teen who starts an anonymous blog to deal with hostility from classmates and tension at home. But when the blog goes viral, a storm of media attention threatens Riley’s anonymity. Coming February 2, 2016 from Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins.

Jeff lives in Southern California with his music teacher wife, their menagerie, and a respectable collection of books and guitars.

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7 responses to “Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin || Eye Opening Book

  1. I love that this was such an eye-opening read for you, Gaby. I’m a lot like you in that I know of the different gender identities, but I don’t know about them because I haven’t been exposed to them. I love when books are able to both entertain and teach me. This sounds like a fantastic read that I need to add to my TBR pile.
    Fabulous review!

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