*LGBTQIAP+ resources below*
Genre: Middle Grade, LGBTQIAP+
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Passage: “You are the person who knows yourself better than anyone else. There are lots of different ways of being. Lots of different kinds of people, and lots of different kinds of relationships.”
ABOUT: From the award-winning author of George, the story of a boy named Rick who needs to explore his own identity apart from his jerk of a best friend.
Rick’s never questioned much. He’s gone along with his best friend Jeff even when Jeff’s acted like a bully and a jerk. He’s let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn’t given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out.
But now Rick’s gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school’s Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that … understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones.
As they did in their groundbreaking novel George, in Rick, award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world … and all the steps you and the people around you need to take in order to get where you need to be.
My Review: Rick by Alex Gino was a wonderful read that exceeded my expectations!
In Rick’s first year of middle school, his world immediately turns upside down as he begins to – for the first time – question his identity and his place in the world.
He wonders about all the people in his life, if he’s doing the right thing and being the right person. And he struggles to fit into the normative mold, any mold, that will allow him to be his true self. I like that Rick – though afraid of retaliation from Jeff – takes it upon himself to find answers to all his questions by going to the Rainbow Spectrum club. But it near broke my heart seeing him struggle.
I enjoyed reading the parts that take place during the Rainbow Spectrum meetings. I feel I’ve learned so much more about gender identity and how those in the LGBTQUIAP+ community feel about it.
I loved watching Rick bond with his Grandpa Ray, how his grandfather went from this obscure, quiet relative to an awesome person Rick can share important things with. Those were sweet and tender moments.
This story takes place over a relatively short period of time but Rick’s character develops exponentially. He’s very relatable and was a joy to read about.
The author’s note at the end was really insightful about the story as a whole. Gino writes:
“…we as a culture are learning more comprehensive ways to talk about ourselves. And there’s more language to come. The question becomes: How do we talk about our community in ways that are both aware of the value of commonly understood language and respectful to people who deserve to have language that works for them?”
Another terrific story by Alex Gino! Discovering who you truly are is hard, but I like that Gino leaves us with an assurance that it’s okay to be unsure and that there is no deadline towards self-discovery. A super quick but captivating read, I would highly recommend Rick.
More by Alex Gino (my reviews)
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