BOOK REVIEWS

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-12-14 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 30 user ratings
ISBN:0738732516
LANGUAGE:English

" My 12 year old daughter came out as gay last year, and she asked for a gorgeous array of YA LGBTQ books for Christmas, which I’m reading along with her. The author’s note does state she wouldn’t write the book again based on the more current “nothing about us without us” theory of marginalized voices in entertainment. I did enjoy this book; some aspects seemed very true to life and some seemed a little unrealistic. I loved the musical emphasis.Harry Potter reference: YES " said.

"Kristin Cronn-Mills keeps the focus on empowerment and friendship in this easy-going novel about a likable teenage disc jockey who happens to be transitioning from female to male. I was particularly appreciative of the treatment of Gabe's confused but loving parents, who are doing a not-so-great job adjusting to their child's transition. Gabe has to contend with rejection and violence around his transition, but he also gets a generous dose of acceptance and understanding. If only every trans teen could find such support and help." said.

"This is one of those books where my emotions are going to overwhelm my ability to write a coherent review. Beautiful Music hit me in many ways, but it's importance lies in representation. I read books daily- all types, any genre- and this is the first book I've ever read where the narrator is a trans youth. It is such a different experience than reading a trans character from the third person. Gabe is an amazing character. And while I know each experience is unique and Gabe may not be accurate representation for everyone, his presence as a main character is important regardless. I missed a book club because I was so absorbed in the characters. Recommended for all, but be prepared to cry!" said.

"This is a fantastic read.

Gabe is a transgender high schooler who is struggling with making decisions about the next phase in his life. He has a mentor who is encouraging his love of music and being a radio personality, and he has friends who understand his struggle, living in a world who still sees him as Liz, yet life is still mostly confusing and scary.

Although I appreciated a lot of the amazing musical allusions in this fantastic story, I think many will be over my students' heads as they seem to listen to the same six songs on the radio and have little love of history.

This book had it all...struggle, sentiment, honest life lessons...

Great pick.
" said.

"Gabe is a lot braver than a lot of the transgender teens I've seen in YA novels, but most of this novel came across as pretty inauthentic. Gabe's music choices are the *worst*, as most of his radio shows sound like what you get to hear on classic rock stations. The fact that the next store neighbor John was the first person to play Elvis on the air AND has an autographed napkin AND has what we're supposed to believe is Elvis's first guitar is just unbelievable.
The title names are just obnoxious and precious.
Gabe gets play from Heather Graves AND kind of from Paige? It seems unlikely.
Still, some good information here and there.
I can't wait to see more YA Lit from transgender protagonists.
" said.

"I like the concept. I like that it talked about music. And I love that it tackled one of the most sensitive issues that we have in our society at the moment - gender. Or more specifically, someone's gender, gender-preference and gender-orientation. I'm sure no homophobe or close-minded individual would be interested in reading this book, but it's nice to know that a book like this exists. It helps people better understand the story of someone who feels like they were trapped in the wrong body.

But as a story itself, it was just okay. Nothing particularly exciting. Plus, the ending was a complete meh. I was expecting more. But the author ended up with a lecture about the LGBT community, which is okay as a whole but bad for the book itself.

But, the book is pretty much forgettable.
" said.

"Beautiful Music for Ugly Children drew me in with a fantastic title and gorgeous cover, plus I’m a big sucker for LBGT+ books. I wanted to like this book. I really wanted to like it, but in the end the writing was just too poor to pass go. The writing was childish, the emotions were thin and flimsy at best, and all of the characters were incredibly stereotypical. This book was the first of its kind and received a lot of praise for bravery and honesty and I can appreciate that, but I think that this is one of those subjects that is going to have to be written about with more depth than this. While I felt for Gabe and the problems he faced, they all seemed very predictable. I didn’t like the way the book ended and or how the book breezed by some transgender issues that need to be discussed more than dating and appearance. I had high hopes for this and in the end I was let down by the childlike and surface level writing.

Pros: Transgender lead

Cons: Predictable, poorly written, surface level, difficult to connect to main character

Triggers: Bullying, abuse

Rating:
" said.

"Though our society has come a long way, there still aren't that many YA books out there that tackle transgender issues or have transgender narrators. Beautiful Music for Ugly Children tells the story of Gabe (born Elizabeth) who is struggling to bring his "B side" out for good. His family still refers to him as "Liz", and although his two best friends have accepted his announcement, he still has to deal with his town--some of whom aren't as happy about his new persona.

I love the supporting characters in this one (particularly Gabe's neighbor John), and I felt like the friendship/relationship between Paige and Gabe was touching and realistic. Wading through all of the musical references got a little tedious at times, but the story is a good one. There's not too much swearing and only some minor sexual references (other than the direct references to male and female anatomy that goes along with gender questioning), so I would feel pretty confident putting this on my middle school shelves for my more mature readers.
" said.

December 2018 New Book:

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