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What Makes You Beautiful
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About the Author

BRIDGET LIANG is a mixed race, queer, transfeminine, autistic, disabled, fat fangirl. They came into their queerness in Hamilton, Ontario, and co-founded RADAR Youth Group at the LGBTQ Wellness Centre (the Well), the first queer group in a Hamilton high school. They were instrumental in the passing of an equity policy in the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board. A budding academic, community researcher, workshop and group facilitator, performance artist, and writer, Bridget has been published in the anthologies Meanwhile, Elsewhere from Topside Press and Resilience from Heartspark Press. Much of their work revolves around intersectionality and arts-based research. This is their first novel for teens. Bridget lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Reviews

A Toronto teen questioning their gender finds friendship and support among other queer students at their new school in this feel-good, #ownvoices debut.

At Logan Osborne's old school, their slight frame and feminine appearance made them a target for bullies. But when Logan, who is Chinese and white, transfers to Rosedale School for the Arts at the start of grade 11, they meet a group of friends who are openly queer and embrace Logan for who they are. There is Robin, who is white, bisexual, and trans; Micah, Robin's Jewish boyfriend; Drew, who is asexual homoromantic; and Jennifer, who is Chinese/white/Afro-Guyanese, fat, and queer. With their friends' encouragement, Logan begins to ponder the reasons behind their discomfort with being one of 'the guys'--are they trans? At the same time, they find themselves developing a crush on Kyle, an attractive tenor of Japanese descent who tells Logan about his two dads but is less forthcoming about his own sexual orientation. The book's present-tense narration brings readers up close and personal with Logan as they process their thoughts about gender identity and gender presentation. Dialogue between the teen characters is authentically earnest, awkward, and funny, minus the occasional use of slang that may feel dated. Short chapters and simple, direct prose keep the pages turning and make the book accessible to reluctant readers.

Thoughtful and affirming.--Kirkus Reviews

-- "Journal"

This series starring LGBTQ+ characters explores teen romance through an intersectional lens. Jassie has feelings for two different people at her summer camp in We Three, but must navigate new territory when the three begin to date as a triad. In Ace of Hearts, Alvin grapples with others' expectations for his romantic life after he starts at a new school and realizes he is asexual. Charlie uses rom-com cliches to try to get a date to the prom with his dream guy only to fall for his wingman in Prom Kings. Against the backdrop of the protagonist's conservative family's expectations, What Makes You Beautiful follows Logan as she starts questioning her assigned gender and transitions to her true identity as Veronica. The books present vibrant, supportive queer communities, and characters are both ethnically and neurodiverse. Written at an upper-elementary reading level, these titles are on the longer side for hi-lo fiction, but the fast-moving YA romantic plots will keep readers engaged. VERDICT These texts stand out for their authentic depictions of LGBTQ+ teens; recommended for high school collections. --School Library Journal

-- "Journal"

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