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Book Review: Ana on the Edge by A. J. Sass

*this post includes 24/7 LGBTQIA+ resources*

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, LGBTQIA+ Fiction
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin, the reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion, is not a frilly dress kind of kid. So, when Ana learns that next season’s program will be princess themed, doubt forms fast. Still, Ana tries to focus on training and putting together a stellar routine worthy of national success.

Once Ana meets Hayden, a transgender boy new to the rink, thoughts about the princess program and gender identity begin to take center stage. And when Hayden mistakes Ana for a boy, Ana doesn’t correct him and finds comfort in this boyish identity when he’s around. As their friendship develops, Ana realizes that it’s tricky juggling two different identities on one slippery sheet of ice. And with a major competition approaching, Ana must decide whether telling everyone the truth is worth risking years of hard work and sacrifice.

 

My Review: I have been wanting to read Ana on the Edge for the longest time and it was just as good as I thought it would be. It was superb and heartfelt. What drew me in was the cover art, the plot, and that the main character was a figure skater.

There’s a lot of figure skating terminology used throughout, but you don’t need to fully know the ins and outs to enjoy this book. The author’s care and attention to detail made this story easily accessible and immersible.

Our MC, Ana, is not feeling the princess-themed vibes of her new skate program. It doesn’t feel right and she thinks it sends the wrong message about who she is as a person. But without a clue as to why or how to express her ambivalence, Ana struggles in more ways than one throughout the story. That is, until she meets Hayden, who is a transgender boy, prompts her to question and explore her gender identity.

My heart broke for Ana and all she struggled with internally and externally. She’s also stressing about living up to high expectations as a top skater, being able to afford to skate, pretending to be a boy so she can keep hanging out with Hayden, and more.

Ana’s a good kid who lives and breathes figure skating. She’s worked so hard and put in countless long hours to get to where she is today. All of this is a lot for a 12 year old to handle.

Ana’s journey felt genuine and organic. She’s at that age where kids begin to really think about their identity, where they fit in, and how they’re perceived by others.

I could feel Ana’s indecisiveness on telling the truth, how to deal with her program, and who she is before it’s too late. Is she a girl or boy? Ana-Marie Jin, reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion or Ana, someone else entirely?

She’s methodical in her search for answers since she has no one to ask or is too afraid to ask (I think partially in fear of letting down those who matter most to her, like her mom, coach, best friend, and eventually Hayden). All the while Ana tries to maintain her passion for figure skating and leveling up.

Ana’s whirlwind journey led to a realistic and satisfying ending. You couldn’t have asked for a better one. It stayed true to the heart of the story.

Ana on the Edge is a must-read, all-around, good middle grade novel. I think many people will be able to connect really well with Ana on some level. I definitely recommend adding this book to your tbr. I also encourage reading the author’s note for a fuller picture of the story as well as LGBTQIA+ resources.


24/7 Resources Here For You

The Trevor Project
1-866-488-7386
TrevorChat available
Text START to 678678

Gender Spectrum
https://genderspectrum.org

GLSEN
https://www.glsen.org

PFLAG
https://pflag.org/

Trans Youth Equality Foundation (TYEF)
http://www.transyouthequality.org

Trans Youth Family Allies (TYF)
http://www.imatyfa.org

3 replies on “Book Review: Ana on the Edge by A. J. Sass”

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