Review: George by Alex Gino

“My point is, it takes a special person to cry over a book. It shows compassion as well as imagination.” 

This review contains *spoilers*.

I needed a breather after Crooked Kingdom, so George came at the perfect time for me to pick up. The premise of this middle-grade novel tells the story of Melissa, a ten-year-old girl who desperately wants to play Charlotte in her classroom’s theatrical production of Charlotte’s Web.

“I want to be Charlotte,” George whispered.
Kelly shrugged. “That’s cool. If you want to be Charlotte, you should try out for Charlotte. You make such a big deal out of everything. Who cares if you’re not really a girl?”
George’s stomach dropped. She cared. Tons.”

I was rooting for her to get the part with all my heart. But Ms. Udell says she can’t even try out for it.

“George knew she couldn’t have possibly expected to hear Ms. Udell call her name. Still, her heart sank. She had genuinely started to believe that if people could see her onstage as Charlotte, maybe they would see that she was a girl offstage too.”

George’s best friend Kelly ends up with the part of Charlotte, the wonderful, kind spider. They have a bit of a falling out over this, but fortunately drift back together after giving it some time. And, above all else, a weight lifted of my shoulders when George finally had someone to be completely honest with.

“She told Kelly about her bag of girls’ magazines, and about Mom taking it.
“But that’s not fair!” Kelly was indignant. “You didn’t steal them! What right does she have to take them from you?”
“Sometimes transgender people don’t get rights.” George had read on the Internet about transgender people being treated unfairly.
“That’s awful.”
“I know.”

George hatches a plan with her best friend, so that everyone can know who she is once and for all.
Since there are two performances in the day. Kelly could take one and George could have the other.

“She would be Charlotte’s Charlotte, deeply hidden in the shadows.”

And by the time Ms. Udell realizes it’s not Kelly performing, it’ll be too late. George’ll already be onstage and there won’t be a thing she can do about it.
Understandably, George was ecstatic about the idea of playing Charlotte onstage, and it was hard not to show it (same for me, too).
She’s going to be Charlotte!!!!tumblr_ocnq704kzu1s6z4zdo3_250And George didn’t disappoint at all because watching her fulfil her dream role made my heart sing. My love for her is never-ending.

“Charlotte was dead, but George was alive in a way she had never imagined.”

Also, that last chapter made my day because we finally get to see her use her private name: Melissa. I’m really proud of her for being herself one step at a time. And I seriously need some fanart of my best girlfriends, Melissa and Kelly, getting to dress up and go out to the Bronx Zoo with Kelly’s uncle.

“What if your uncle figures out I’m not really a girl?” Melissa asked.
“Look at you. Why would he think you’re anything else?”

A++ for this beautiful friendship.

And another thing: This book made me open up my eyes and see how many unnecessary things are gendered in our lives… from who got to play jump rope at recess to standing in girls’ and boys’ lines to leave class… I’m absolutely livid at myself that I never took notice upon this.

So I’m grateful that I got educated in the most honest way. This book may be small, but it speaks volumes. And in the short amount of pages that I got to read about Melissa, I felt like I got to know her so well. I’m dreaming for a sequel to come.

Also, listening to this next song made my reading experience that more incredible, which is saying a lot.

On that note, please let me know in the comments if you have more LGBTQIA+ book recommendations for me to read and love.

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying George, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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