F2M by Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy
Ford St, 2010. ISBN 978 1876962901.
(Ages: 13+) Recommended. Skye does not want her breasts or hips, she repels all her grandmother's pink, frilly dresses, and is guitar lead for an all female punk band, where she can wear the male clothes she feels most comfortable wearing. But she must make a decision, she cannot hide anymore. Now that she is 18, she must do something. She searches the internet, finally finding enough courage to ask someone on a blog for a doctor's name and address for transition, that is, the step to make her a man not a woman, to change her name irrevocably from Skye to Finn, to no longer have to wear binders. But telling her friends and family is a road she must first cross.
Ryan Kennedy, who writes this enlightening and sympathetic story with Hazel Edwards, has been there, so we know the information we read is true. We hear about Skye making the initial appointments with a doctor, counselor and psychiatrist, we are with her as she explains why she wants to change and what it will mean to her, we are brought into her world of finding out information through the internet and not having someone close by to talk to. By drawing us so singularly into the world of the main character means our empathy is with her all the way. This well written story will make the reader cry when Skye's best friend deserts her, want to hold her hand when she visits a seemingly unsympathetic doctor, and feel the pain of that first injection of testosterone into her bum.
The he that she becomes, Finn, must now take some tentative steps towards being a man, and Edwards shows us unerringly the decisions and crises that he has in his life, before he feels really at home with himself. For most readers this will all be a revelation, as we trip along easily with a riveting story, and for those who have feelings of being different, here is a novel which will speak to them and give them a peep into the process which must be undertaken. I found this a riveting read. I wanted to shake Finn's mother and friend, Marla, for their initial lack of support, and I was surprised when Finn made judgments about others. But they are all flesh and blood characters with the foibles and inconsistencies we all share. And that makes for an engrossing story about the choices some people have to make.