Some Girls Bind

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I got an ARC of this book.

I got this because I was super excited by genderqueer rep in YA books. The title and the description are pretty misleading. Just assume everything I type is going to be a spoiler after this line. Ok, so Jamie is genderqueer, that is established super early on in the book with very little fanfare. There is a lot of angst about coming out, but the identity itself was super easy. They started using they pronouns pretty early in the book, so I wouldn't feel comfortable using she like the description does. This is why I hate the title. Jamie doesn't identify as a girl, so why is the title about being a girl? There are so many lines where Jamie expresses how they are neither girl or boy, so why did this title stick? It is so untrue to the character and to the idea behind the story. It invalidates the feelings that Jamie expresses over and over again in this book. 

The reason why I can still rate this book as high as I do is there is the background characters. There are gay people coming out to differing degrees of acceptance, there is the older brother who is a total sweetheart (made me tear up at one point), and then there are the straight and cis characters who have actually things going on in their lives that is unrelated to sexuality which gives the book depth. The book otherwise had no depth. It was just angsty poetry about being afraid to come out. It read much below the age of the characters in the book too. If this was aimed at or about ten year olds, then this would have made perfect sense. Instead I am left feeling like I was being talked down to instead. 

The ARC file I received was also very much inaccessible at times with formatting and repeating of whole sections of the book. I am hoping this is cleared up with the final ebook that is for sale, but it makes me wary of recommending buying the ebook instead of the hard copy. The hard copy version would be better because it would give a more tangible weight to my favorite part of the book. The one line that made this book make a huge impression on me. 

There is a line that stood out as so wonderful and so necessary that it made me tear up. The older brother tells Jaime that they are perfect and they are enough. If someone had said that to me when I was coming to terms with my gender, maybe I wouldn't still be ashamed and hate what I am. Maybe I wouldn't still struggle with my body and my mind on a daily basis. Seeing a character get that level of support and hearing the exact words that I would have needed touched me so deeply. I just can't get over it. That line alone would have made this book worth reading. I can ignore all of my bad feelings and recommend this book based on that one line.
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This book has such important subject matter and I liked the stream of consciousness format of it, but it was weighed down by a jarring unfinished format and a pretty unremarkable writing style
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This book is written in verse, and while I was looking forward to reading something about trans men (or even those who are simply not cis female), that’s just not a writing style that I enjoy.
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Some Girls Bind was such a unique story for me, I've never read a book where the main character is genderqueer before so it was a great experience being able to see through Jamie's eyes.

Jamie are adorably sweet and strong nontheless. I loved seeing how they discovered how they felt about their identity and how that was perceived by other people. Their struggle was so saddening but truthful, this is one of those books that make you feel exactly what the character is going through and that made it a very moving story.

Moreover, we have a friend group in here that was just the most adorable thing to read about, they are all so supportive to each other and they created a safe space where everyone can be their true selves without feeling judged. And that's also another nice thing about this book, every friend had their own challenges and things they had to deal with, it was a very diverse group and we don't get that often.

The problem I had with this book, though was that after finishing it I cannot exactly tell you anything else about Jamie apart from the fact that they are genderqueer. I was expecting to get to know them better but I get the story focuses only on that aspect.

All in all, it was an enjoyable and very eye-opening read but I didn't give it 5 full stars because I would have like to know Jamie outside of their gender identity too.
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A book written in poetic verse. A story that needed to be told and is important to younger generations today, but not one I felt I could connect with.
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This is a great book about a genderqueer character coming to terms with their gender identity. I did get emotional a couple of times while reading this as a strongly resonated with it. While I did enjoy this book, it did feel almost dramatic at times as the main character was full of angst and was convinced their parents wouldn't accept them. Although, having said that, even though it seems dramatic while reading it, that is exactly what many trans and non-binary people go through while considering coming out. I knew my mum would accept me when I came out but I still misinterpreted certain things she said and I was extremely anxious about coming out to her. Coming out is scary and difficult even if you know your family are open-minded people who will love you reagrdless, but I digress. I thought this was a great story of friendship, family, secrets, and queer identities.
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"I wish I could tell them, with a smile: queer isn't contagious."

Some Girls Bind is told from the perspective of Jamie - a teen who is trying to navigate her way through some new feelings, and thoughts of gender and identity. Jaime doesn't fit into the gender binary and learns to accept herself as is when others aren't so welcoming when she comes out to them.

While I don't normally enjoy books told in verse, I connected with Jamie on multiple level because of the topic and ultimately, i ended up enjoying Some Girls Bind. 

Rating: 3.5/5
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Off the bat, I can say this wasn’t anything overly special to me. It didn’t impact me in a life-changing way. But I can tell you Some Girls Bind was worth the read.

Now, don’t let yourself be swayed by the the synopsis. Or the title. Or even less the cover. If you really look at it, it looks and sounds like a messy book. But it isn’t.

My only real critique of the book isn’t actually of its content, but of its exterior. I feel like the publisher could’ve done a much, much better job of writing the synopsis of this book. And coming up with a title (or at least a teeny part of me hopes the publisher is to blame as I’m aware they’re usually in charge of that stuff).

I find the title and synopsis of this book to be very misleading and quite harmful, as the entire point of the book is Jamie realizing they’re genderqueer and the process of them coming to terms with that label. But with a title like that, it invalidates all of Jamie’s growth as a character. And the synopsis uses the wrong pronouns, therefore misgendering Jamie. Yes, they finally get comfortable with they/them farther along the book, but it’s important to emphasize and normalize that gender identity and sexuality are NOT spoilers; a message that the people responsible for writing this blurb apparently can’t seem to get into their wittly heads.

Anyway, I’m not an OV reviewer, but I feel like Avery @ The Book Deviant flawlessly explains the issues above from an own-voices standpoint in their review, so click here to read it. (It’s a great review, by the way!)

Anyway, my actual thoughts on the book:

I literally flew through this book. as I mentioned earlier, it’s written in verse, so it’s a super quick read. I often hesitate when it comes to books written in this format because I don’t *love* poetry. And I don’t tend to enjoy it anyway. But, if you’re like me, trust me, you won’t struggle.

The writing flows very easily and naturally, and it was a quite soft reading experience. Calming and nice.

It was an incredibly nice story that touched upon gender fluidity in a perfect way, and demonstrated how much genderfluid teens can struggle in society nowadays; the fear they feel and the prejudice they face. And how important it is to be understanding and supportive. To respect people’s pronouns. If you misgender somebody, apologize and do better.

I have struggled a lot with my gender identity for the past few months, and this book made me feel seen. Safe and comfortable. Like I was hugging a cup of hot cocoa in a chilly winter night. I still haven’t figured it out yet, but this book reminded me that it’s okay to not have figured out anything. And I really appreciated that message.

I felt for Jamie and their struggles. How they felt ready to come out to their best friend but it took a lot of courage to tell their family and the rest of their friends. They were a really relatable character, but not so memorable, sadly.

The other characters I felt lacked a ton of development. Out of nowhere, I was thrust into this ginormous friendship group whose dynamics I was unfamiliar with (and weren’t explored further along anyway), and I was just so confused. And to be honest, I didn’t care for anyone but Jamie.

Overall, I don’t really have a lot of thoughts on this book besides the fact that it was a nice read. I recommend it to anyone looking for some heart-warming genderqueer representation, and a good book told in verse.

Rating: 3.25/5 stars

Thank you to West 44 Books for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest
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3.5 Stars
*I received an eArc via NetGalley in exchange for an honest answer*

This book was fine... The only somewhat interesting thing about this book is the fact that the main character was genderqueer. Other than that I found the main character to be pretty bland for me to be honest, and I don't think it's helpful for a character's most interesting trait to be their gender identity. However, I can see how the main character's story could be affirming for another reader and actually how the character's blank personality might help others relate to it even more, by being able to place themselves into the story. I didn't find that the way the story was written (through verse) was particularly impactful, but I don't think it drastically lowered the quality of the story either.
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I was a little concerned going into this book because I hadn't heard much from trans and nonbinary reviewers that I know. However, going into this book was a refreshing, wonderful experience. 

It's written as a verse novel from the first person PoV of teenaged Jamie. Right from the start, we are introduced their very queer friendly friendship group (I particularly like the line where one of her friends is worried that he's not queer/doesn't have any secrets and the rest of the group reassures him that's okay).

The novel talks a lot about coming out, it is the focus of the book, for better or worse. We go from Jamie being annoyed that coming out is a thing that even needs to happen, to feeling pressure from their best friend Levi to come out (even though it's not intended that way and does get addressed). We see Jamie being afraid of coming out, of what it will mean to tell more than one person that they are genderqueer. 

We see the beautiful support that they get from their older brother Steve. We see the way they stand up and confront their parents when they say thoughtless things. We also see the effects of Levi and his boyfriend coming out to their own parents, with various results. 

Some Girls Bind is about community as much as it is about identity. I particularly loved when Jamie went to a poetry reading of a genderqueer poet who also bound their chest, and later took their friend Nora to another poetry reading. 

The main complaint I have is that this book was too short, but having said that it really did everything I set itself out to do.
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We definitely need more stories like Jamie's, who identifies as and comes out as genderqueer. It's one of the few times I have seen a non-binary character and I want more books to share with the non-binary and genderqueer people in my life and in my classes. This book is a start. 

But it's also a little disappointing in its simplicity and depiction of queerness in general being centered on coming out, especially when conclusions are somewhat one-note. Maybe if this had not been written in verse it would have had more emotional heft to it. Rather than reading as poetry, it read as super-trimmed prose and it gutted some of the emotion. When Jamie cried, it didn't feel earned. I wanted to be crying with them. 

I do hope the publisher will keep looking for #ownvoices stories and getting them into the hands of readers. I'm also hoping they will press for more substantive writing.
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Told through verses, this book is Jamie's story. Jamie is a teenager, goes to school has friends, and secrets. Jamie's main secret is that they're not a she and they're afraid of people finding out.

This was pretty good. I enjoyed the poems and it's always interesting to hear about points of view from the community. My problem with the books from this publisher stays the same. They're too short and don't convey as much feelings as they could. It didn't help that the file was broken though that did not affect my rating. Anyway, it was interesting and the characters were layered but I felt like with stayed as observers of this story instead of living it. I don't really know if what I'm saying makes much sense, but basically, I liked it, I just would have liked more and for it to go deeper.
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A novel in verse about coming out, the challenges of a world that enforces the gender binary, the fears of acceptance, Some Girls Bind tells the story of Jamie, who realizes they are genderqueer. Jamie is AFAB, so a large part of the story is them trying to shed the feminine label, and initially just being seen as a person who prefers boyish clothes. They slowly grow to trust their friend, who is gay, to confide in, to find other people like them (a genderqueer poet) to look up to, and building up the courage to come out to their other friends and to family. They talk about a world that is unnecessarily gendered; the bathroom thing is obvious, but there are also clothes, and language. They find surprising support in their older brother, who discovers their binder, and helps out by reassuring them and getting a proper binder, as well as facilitating a conversation with their parents (the language of that conversation could have been better, but keep in mind this is to inform 20th century cis-people that gender is not a binary, but a spectrum). The verse is in a modern poetry style, and there are a couple of really good metaphors and lines thrown in (I particularly liked the one about 'courage' being necessary to come out). Overall, though, it is just what the synopsis says - it is about a genderqueer person coming out, and finding their place in a gendered society.
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I received this ARC via Netgalley in return for an honest review

I think I need to lay off poetry for a while because it's not hitting me like I hope it will. It usually gets (at best) three stars from me and that tells me I'm just not the intended reader. This is poetry in general, as I just like lyric poetry more as apposed to free verse.

This book does have a good flowing narrative throughout it which I really liked. I find it keeps the subject matter in focus as apposed to breaking off into shorter verses. The subject matter in the book is about a major topic of our time, gender fluidity. Our main character Jamie, comes to the realization that she is neither boy or girl but gender queer and is afraid she will be judged by her family/friends for this. She starts out slow by only telling her best friend Levi, and by deciding to use the pronouns they/ them. (Although constantly referred to as SHE) The author herself said the story was based on herself, but seems to still use female pronouns on herself, mistakenly or not.

As other people have stated the middle section repeats itself over (3x) at first I thought it was a artistic choice, then realized it was just a mistake, or a way to be a page filler either way it is distracting. It's a quick read, and I think most people will come away from it fine, the bare bones of the narrative is a "coming out" story and it does that, I also appreciate that it doesn't demonize "cis" people (though I hate that terminology) into not understanding. Even having the character Jamie state that "other people have problems too." It seems like in this day and age that's the most progressive thing about the book. Simple understanding.
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Thank you to Netgalley and West 44 Books for the advance Kindle copy of this 2.1.19 release. All opinions are my own.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5. Written in verse, this is the story of high schooler Jamie, who feels better when she binds her chest and wonders if she is genderqueer. Each of her friends has a secret, so she should feel fine telling hers, but she can’t quite bring herself to say it out loud. Despite the ending wrapping up a little too neatly, I think this is an important book to have in middle and high school libraries. There aren’t a lot of LGBTQIA+ books that aren’t too graphic for middle school, so I was pleasantly surprised that this fit the bill for both the content and style my students need. I have it on one of my spring orders, ready to purchase soon!
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I was looking forward to this book a lot because I'm trying to educate myself to be a good ally. I want to support the #OwnVoices movement as much as possible. Although I was having trouble finding any information on the author, the "about the author" section of the book did say that the author was inspired by their journey with gender.

The issue that I had with this as a reader was that the synopsis is basically the story. There wasn't really a story here. The book is written in prose, which would be my first time reading a novel written in prose, and while I didn't mind it, I felt like the story really didn't have much substance to it. My perspective on this could very well change if I read more prose in the future (which I do plan on doing).

The galley copy itself was a MESS. There was one set of passages that was repeated at least 4 times and there were tons of typos. For example "My Gbortbmtem ringtone". The main character, Jamie, was referred to as "J" at times by their friends but "I" was used instead. Basically, whoever was supposed to review this and make sure it was edited properly in preparation to get beta read, failed. They did the author dirty, if you ask me.

All-in-all, it seemed unfinished and I would definitely have liked more from it as a whole. More of the characters and more plot.
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This is one of those books that is definitely important, but I'm not entirely sure it executes well. If that makes sense? Like yes, this is definitely VERY important as, as a society, we're becoming more open and accepting to gender as a spectrum. Of people not fitting into boxes. But on the other hand, I feel like Jaime's entire coming out experience was almost too easy? Like their parents were super accepting of it (which is true in some real-life cases!), but all the dread and anxiety and stress and build up for...what?

I did appreciate their friend group and found family being so wonderful. I felt like Nora's deal was that she wanted to come out, though? But just...couldn't?

Excellent in theory, but a little lacking in execution.
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I chose this book since the blurb seemed quite interesting to me and also because I wanted to begin exploring the LGBTQ+ theme. However, this book didn't meet my expectations, at all. 

Jamie, a 16 year old high school student, wears a tight vest to bind their chest beneath their baggy clothes. Neither “boy” nor “girl” feels right to the protagonist, but they worry about who they will become if they don’t fit inside the binary. The story starts off with Jamie mentioning all the different kinds of life problems each of their classmates has. There was a subtle hint that, thanks to that Jamie was not feeling alone at least. With the encouragement of their best friend, Levi—a Jewish, cisgender, gay teen—Jamie seeks out the language to describe themselves and gains the courage to share who they are with family and friends. Finding representation and community plays an important role in Jamie’s journey of self-discovery. While Jamie has an overall positive experience with their family, they still acknowledge the challenges that come with living in a society that enforces a gender binary. 

This is a story about discovering one's gender identity, coming to terms with it and mustering courage to come out. The friendship and sibling dynamics were realistic and uplifting. Jamie is an endearing character, a good sibling, a supportive friend. We see Jamie’s thoughts, their confusion, their fear of speaking up the truth. This book is full of rational emotions and affirmation that supports exploring and accepting gender identity. It isn’t a highly-reflective work - I love that it seems to be targeted at younger audiences like it’s teaching the next generation how normal this is to be genderqueer and how you can be an ally to anyone learning their identity.

However, The narration was not up to the mark. Jamie’s thoughts get repetitive -  there were limited content. Their thoughts and feelings could have been expanded in more detail and the book could have been longer. It seemed as if a few ideas have ben stretched over a couple of chapters. Moreover, the story reads like middle grade fiction. When we see Jamie, we do not see a highschool junior - we see someone who is in middle school. The only thing that makes them look their age is that they drive. Since the book is all about finding out and coming to terms with gender identity, I believe it had so much more potential to show it in depth but it didn’t.
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The plot and potential were there, but this book fell short for me. About half the book was missing -- this was a seriously messed up Galley. So I don't know if I even got the whole plot. I liked that we got into Jamie's head, and I liked that they had an LGBT+ bestie to relate to, but a lot of this book just felt too easy to me. I did appreciate that not all of Jamie's family accepted their identity, because as crappy as that is, it's realistic, and I think that relatable books should also be realistic. I also really liked the format.

All in all, this book was just okay to me. I would like to read more by this author though.
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This is such a sad tale. I love that it’s written in verse since that makes it so much easier to read. But this is just a sad and tragic story about not feeling free to be yourself. I hate that people still feel this way. I hope this book gives someone out there hope.
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