Our most recent YA book club pick was the super sweet Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. It’s a book about two boys who become friends and together learn who they are. Acceptance of themselves and each other is a big theme throughout the novel, so we figured we’d recommend two YA books dealing with people who are different and their struggle to acceptance. We’ll also put some discussion questions at the bottom, in case you’re discussing this book with your own book club!
None of the Above
One of our YA book clubbers was sharing the love for this book on Goodreads, so we had just had to include it!
A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.
What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him. But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.” Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children
“This is Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, on community radio 90.3, KZUK. I’m Gabe. Welcome to my show.”
My birth name is Elizabeth, but I’m a guy. Gabe. My parents think I’ve gone crazy and the rest of the world is happy to agree with them, but I know I’m right. I’ve been a boy my whole life.
When you think about it, I’m like a record. Elizabeth is my A side, the song everybody knows, and Gabe is my B side–not heard as often, but just as good.
It’s time to let my B side play.
– What did you think of Ari’s relationship with his parents and how does this compare to Dante’s relationship to his parents?
– Did you expect the ending or were you just as surprised as Ari?
– Why did we only read Ari’s point of view and why would you or wouldn’t you want to read Dante’s?