336p. ebook available. Knopf. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101937167.
Gr 9 Up—A coming-of-age tale where the main character's physical growth unfortunately outpaces his emotional development. Fifteen-year-old Dylan is incredibly self-conscious about his size (6'4" and still growing), his hairiness (he's had to shave since sixth grade), his ugly face (which he hides with his long hair and hat), and his unflattering nicknames (Beast, Sasquatch, Caveman). On the day his school bans long hair and hats, he happens to fall off his roof and break his leg. This lands him in group therapy for self-harmers, and at the one therapy session he attends, he meets love interest Jamie. Dylan isn't listening when Jamie reveals that she is transgender, and the relationship predictably suffers because of this miscommunication. Despite this, the romance between Dylan and Jamie is this book's best aspect. At first, Jamie seems to embody the manic pixie dream girl trope, but she does evolve into a fully realized character. There is some transphobia exhibited by Dylan and by tertiary characters, but this is the area where Dylan shows the most character development, while not becoming magically perfect in all of his reactions. However, Dylan's self-esteem issues are increasingly ignored as the romance blossoms, violent tendencies and self-harming behaviors are glossed over, and a major breach of trust between Dylan and his mother is treated as a mere plot point instead of having genuine emotional consequences.
VERDICT An ambitious YA romance that doesn't reach its full potential but that may find fans among realistic fiction readers.

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