Today is the release of Ana on the Edge by AJ Sass with Little, Brown.
I don't see many Middle Grade books that focus on nonbinary stories, so I have been eagerly anticipating this book since I first got wind of it last year.
About the Book:
For fans of George and Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World, a heartfelt coming of age story about a nonbinary character navigating a binary world.
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.
I love this book so much! As a nonbinary person, I really appreciated the nuanced view of trying to figure out what words apply to that feeling of in-between-ness. I also love figure skating (from the bleachers, not the ice) so I particularly enjoyed the behind the scenes look at the figure skating world. AJ Sass knows of what he writes--he is a US Figure Skating double gold medalist in Moves in the Field and Free Skate, a silver medalist in Ice Dance, and a member of the 2018 national bronze medalist and 2019 national silver medalist Masters synchronized skating team, IceSymmetrics. AJ Sass is also nonbinary, so this is an all-around Own Voices story.
I connected easily with Ana, and I loved the off-ice complications of navigating friendship, family, identity. Once I sat down to read I did nothing else until it was finished. I felt the trepidation and tension, cried a bit, and soared at the ending. Highly recommend to youth and adults!
Copyright © 2020 Lara Lillibridge
Public domain imagery courtesy of Snappygoat.com