I Am J


Title:  I Am J

Author:  Cris Beam

Summary:  When J was born he was given the name Jenifer Juana Silver, but that is not who he is.  J knew Jenifer was the wrong name just as he knew he was walking around in the wrong body.  Unfortunately, everyone else is having a harder time understanding what J has always known:  he is a boy mistakenly born as a girl.  J’s parents and best friend want to label him a lesbian, but J doesn’t accept the label.  J knows he is transgender, but isn’t sure how to live in a world that wants him to be a Jenifer.   After a fight with his best friend, J decides it is time to figure out who he really is and how he will get along in this world as his true self. 

Through the character J, Cris Beam gives an authentic and powerful voice to the experiences of a teen self-identifying as transgendered.  Beam creates a fully developed character dealing with not only the issue of transgender, but also a best friend who cuts herself, parents in a less-than perfect marriage, and getting into a good college.

Who will like this book?:  This powerful story is recommended to anyone who wants to understand some of the experiences and feelings a transgender teen may be going through.  It’s also for those who enjoy stories of self-discovery and being true to one’s self in the face of narrow-mindedness.  

If you like this, try this: Luna by Julie Anne Peters and Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian