Synopses & Reviews
The lives and loves of a teenage transboy music geek.
Gabe has always identified as a boy, but he was born with a girl's body. With his new public access radio show gaining in popularity, Gabe struggles with romance, friendships, and parents — all while trying to come out as transgendered. An audition for a station in Minneapolis looks like his ticket to a better life in the big city. But his entire future is threatened when several violent guys find out Gabe the popular DJ is also Elizabeth from school.
"Gabe Williams has a lot going on. He's about to graduate from high school, he's just started hosting a radio show, and he's got a crush on his best friend Paige. Overshadowing it all: everyone knows him as Elizabeth. Cronn-Mills, whose The Sky Always Hears Me and the Hills Don't Mind featured a teenage girl grappling with her sexuality, has clearly done her research. Gabe's difficulties from dealing with freaked-out parents and bigoted classmates to navigating love, sex, and whether to use the men's or women's room are well documented. So much so, in fact, that the book sometimes feels like a PSA exposing the challenges a trans teen faces. Cronn-Mills never minimizes those challenges (Gabe faces some terrifying abuse), avoiding a too-happy ending, but Gabe and Paige's supportive friendship and Gabe's love of music shine through. Gabe spins Elvis, Devo, and Prince on the radio, and old media meets new as his fans come together via Facebook. It's impossible not to root for Gabe as he finds the courage to live the life he wants. Ages 12 – up. Agent: Amy Tipton, Signature Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Every so often a book comes along that is so sharp, so moving, so real, and so good, you want to press it into everyone's hands and say, Read this! READ THIS!" Courtney Summers, author of Cracked Up to Be and This is Not a Test
"[A] moving story of senior-year insecurity and bravery." VOYA
"A kind and satisfyingly executed portrait of a music-loving teen coming out as transgender." Kirkus Reviews
"[T]he quirky relationship between Gabe and John and their shared music obsession elevates this story above the average problem novel." School Library Journal
"This is Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, on community radio 90.3, KZUK. I'm Gabe. Welcome to my show."
My birth name is Elizabeth, but I'm a guy. Gabe. My parents think I've gone crazy and the rest of the world is happy to agree with them, but I know I'm right. I've been a boy my whole life.
When you think about it, I'm like a record. Elizabeth is my A side, the song everybody knows, and Gabe is my B side — not heard as often, but just as good.
It's time to let my B side play.
About the Author
Kirstin Cronn-Mills is the author of Minnesota Book Award finalist The Sky Always Hears Me And the Hills Don't Mind and Beautiful Music for Ugly Children. Cronn-Mills received her doctorate degree from Iowa State University and currently teaches in North Mankato, Minnesota, where she lives with her husband and son.