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Adamby Ariel Schrag
I really liked this book. The characters are complex and the gender/sexuality confusion is extremely interesting. Not for the squeamish, there is a lot of explicit sex here, but it is important to the story, and Schrag is quite matter-of-fact about it. Adam seems like a real teenage boy to me: willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants, and not at all aware of the consequences his actions set in motion. Many readers are distressed by some bad behavior, which goes unpunished, but this also seems like real life to me. Schrag's writing is great and her story is compelling; I read the book in one day. Nicely done.
Synopses & Reviews
When Adam Freedman — a skinny, awkward, inexperienced teenager from Piedmont, California — goes to stay with his older sister Casey in New York City, he is hopeful that his life is about to change. And it sure does.
It is the summer of 2006. Gay marriage and transgender rights are in the air, and Casey has thrust herself into a wild lesbian subculture. Soon Adam is tagging along to underground clubs, where there are hot older women everywhere he turns. It takes some time for him to realize that many in this new crowd assume he is trans — a boy who was born a girl. Why else would this baby-faced guy always be around?
Then Adam meets Gillian, the girl of his dreams — but she couldn't possibly be interested in him. Unless passing as a trans guy might actually work in his favor...
Ariel Schrag's scathingly funny and poignant debut novel puts a fresh spin on questions of love, attraction, self-definition, and what it takes to be at home in your own skin.
"The eponymous hero of Schrag's frisky debut is an awkward, horny 17-year-old who, after a humiliating romantic failure, decides to spend the summer of 2006 in New York City with his older sister, Casey, who hasn't come out yet as a lesbian to their parents. Eager to score with older women and shed his loser status, Adam moves into his sister's Bushwick apartment, where she lives with her roommate June, who's besotted with her, and a mysterious trust-fund baby, Ethan. Adam's summer of love gets complicated, however, when he discovers that gender is not a simple matter in Casey's circles. Then he meets Gillian, the beautiful redheaded girl of his dreams. Problem #1 is that she is a lesbian, problem #2 is that she thinks he's a transgendered man. As they gradually fall in love, Adam is torn between revealing his secret, currently hidden beneath Ace bandages, and preserving their awkward but sweet romance. While the novel is far more conventional than the progressive themes might suggest, Schrag's brisk narrative has plenty of hilarious scenes, including a memorably raunchy interlude at a fetish club. Growing from crass boy to sensitive man, Adam comes to view gender and sexuality in a new light, resulting in one of the most original coming-of-age stories of recent years. Agent: Merilee Heifetz, Writers House. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Schrag's gifts for characterization and dialogue make the whole enterprise sweetly entertaining....A well-composed story about love and lust in all their myriad variations and about a boy finding his place in a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world." Kirkus
"The book is sincere, dirty (but not in an excessive way), and downright hilarious. Schrag somehow manages to walk the increasingly thin tightrope of being respectful and yet brutally honest about transgender issues...While this book will surely be on the summer reading list for anybody with a family member or dear friend that fits under the LGBT umbrella, it could and should be enjoyable to anybody who picks it up. After all, its core message is universal. Surviving our teenage years is no small task." The Daily Beast
"Colorful and smart, [Adam] understands that the struggle to discover one’s identity is somehow both ubiquitous and unique. With deep empathy and wit and humanity, Schrag has accomplished the seemingly impossible challenge of making the experience of marginalization and isolation feel universal." Grantland, June Book Recommendations: Young Adult for Adults
"Gives an authentic glimpse into N.Y.C’s underground queer culture....A compelling page turner with a suspenseful plot....A quick, easy, and captivating read, Adam pulls you in." Bust Magazine
"Completely and totally charmed, and also vicariously embarrassed for the titular character." The Chicago Tribune
"The sexual revolution is finally over, and Ariel Schrag has won. Adam is the most twisted, hilarious, and deeply gratifying reading experience I have had in a long time." Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home and Are You My Mother?
"Hilarious...Schrag's riotous, poignant debut novel will leave you reeling." SF Weekly
The sweet and subversive debut novel by award-winning memoirist and screenwriter Ariel Schrag. Sometimes a queer girl summer in New York is just what a straight boy needs.
About the Author
Ariel Schrag grew up in Berkeley, California. She is the author of the graphic memoirs Awkward, Definition, Potential, and Likewise, and has written for the television shows How to Make it in America and The L Word. She lives in Brooklyn.
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