Cover Image: Sasha Masha

Sasha Masha

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Member Reviews

I wish this was a little longer. But within its length, Sasha Masha brought us a story that many transgender people can relate to. As a LGBTQ+ member I understand all too well how it feels to finally know yourself but be afraid to share it with the world.

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Gah! This book is magical, heart wrenching and just the thing I needed. Sasha Masha is a beautiful story of exploring gender identity and queer sexuality. The authors narration is stunning and absolutely brilliant.

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So the book takes us on a journey of self discovery, how finding yourself can sometimes creates a mess inside of you as well as around you. How Alex learns about himself through experiments and how he denies it, because that's how we're raised. We're taught if we're any different from others, we're wrong and we need to correct it, but hello? It's not something you can correct. Alex stood strong and accepted his own self, he accepted Sasha Masha. The inner turmoil he faces is shown perfectly, it was like I could feel his situation. The writing style of author blew me away, I cannot wait for more books!!!! Also side note I loved Mabel, maybe I'd date her if she was not fictional (sed) or maybe Andre, oops I should say (clears throat) Andrew Charles Nickelson Norteño. The friendship that Sasha Masha got is the one I absolutely adore. An amazing book, I really loved it.

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I honestly enjoyed this book better than I thought I would. I really don't read YA fiction since sometimes it's hard for me to relate but I think everyone can relate to this story. It's a true, raw story about discovering yourself, your true self. I really liked the beginning of this story more. Not because the second half was more of Alex transitioning into Sasha Masha but just because it felt a little rushed. This was a shorter book and it was important to feel Alex's confusion on why Sasha Masha really spoke to him but then we get towards the end and it was like there. I just wanted more from this and feel Alex really turn into Sasha. Again, this was such an amazing story and no matter what age or how you identify, it touches you. I know this book will really help people who are trying to discover themselves but no matter what, anyone can see themselves in this book.

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I adore this book. Another queer fiction. Another trans narrative. Another journey. Another gem of a book. Another admirable, compelling yet absolutely unique writing style. Just not another book. It isn't just about coming out as a queer but the journey before it, the self-recognition of being a queer, the difficulties of being and feeling not-Real, the trials and errors of fitting into the boxes of heteronormative society and the eventual coming out and living as Real.
It flows so smoothly and elegantly. A beautiful and very compelling writing style had me engrossed and it felt as if I was standing right there beside the main character, taking it all in slowly and steadily. There are many queer fiction books out there, almost all talking about the transformation or the dealing with the knowledge of it later, but this is the first book I have come across that considers bringing to light the real struggle faced by the main character regarding his identity, his name and his desires. It is about how the idea took birth, grew and manifests itself. A beautiful beautiful book!
Thank you netgalley for the arc!

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This is a different transgender narrative than many of the YA books out there. This is not someone who has always known and is struggling to tell the important people in their life. This is someone who knows something is wrong, knows he doesn't feel quite right in his body, but has absolutely no idea it has anything to do with gender until his feelings grow to be too much to bury and they burst through. It's a quick read, but you spend all of it rooting for Sasha Masha to allow themself to ask those questions they keep dodging.

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While this premise seemed great and I was really looking forward to a transgender story that I might be able to relate to (even if I am non-binary), the writing made it difficult to read and Sasha’s character was one I just couldn’t click with. I really hope this story can find its readers, and I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to read this to completion and enjoy it.

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While I ultimately DNF-ed Sasha Masha, I believe this transgender #ownvoices novel about identity and queerness can provide valuable insight into the emotional yet invisible struggle experiences by so many.

I felt at times some of the characters veered almost into caricature, which could alienate some readers, but others will surely felt seen within its pages. As Alex explores his identity, he learns not only about himself but about queer history and community as well.

Agnes Borinsky’s debut novel is a intimate first-person account of Alex’s self-discovery. There wasn’t anything *wrong* with the book; I just wasn’t invested enough in it to finish it.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my e-ARC.

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I was so excited to read this book, so being a part of the blog tour has been amazing. Knowing what this book was kind of about, I went into it with an open mind and an open heart. And this took me into a whirlwind of emotions.

Alex in a way describes what depression could look like, can feel like, or better the lack of. But for him, it was different. It was something deeper, and it made me feel sad. It gave me an understanding of not knowing what or who you are. The mess that you feel is your life and how Alex just wanted to feel like a real person. Discovery is what this book was, it was also self-awareness and expectance. I gave this read a 4/5 star rating. I really enjoyed the emotional grasp this had on me as I was reading this book. Alex made me hurt as he went through his struggles and experimented on his journey.

I could feel the loneliness he felt and the excitement he felt to have people that could understand him. Even the darkness that enveloped him when he started to feel whole only to feel lonelier and emptier. I would have liked to see what his parents took it but I also loved that it was left open to what we might think would happen. And I believe they would accept him and tried their best to help him in any way possible. I also would like to think that his mother had a bit of intuition and realized it only to give him the time he needed to say something.

The book was so easy to read and I found myself invested in Alex, I also felt like the book was a quick read. The flow was quick and easy and I would not put the book down. I highly recommend it!

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I received a complimentary copy of Sasha Masha by Agnes Borinsky from Farrar, Straus and Giroux through Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Sasha Masha comes out November 10th!

I'm going to do this review a little differently than usual because I think the subject matter calls for it. First off, trigger warnings for queerphobic language (used by queer characters reclaiming those terms) and transphobia. This book also deadnames the main character, but I think it's impossible to tell a story like this without doing so. Sasha Masha follows a teenager as she first begins to realize she is a transgender girl. The writing is fairly simple and this book is a short, quick read. I was slightly put off by the writing style at first, but that quickly disappeared as I became immersed in the story. This #ownvoices story hooked me before long and I read almost the whole thing in one evening. Sasha Masha felt so realistic to me. Parts of it reminded me so much of high school in both good and bad ways that felt true and familiar. I think this story could be very helpful to those who are questioning or first coming to terms with being transgender. There's also a part that addresses important figures in queer history, which could be a great starting point for those who are just starting to learn about it. Overall, I thought this book was handled well and could be very important to LGBTQ+ youth who are still figuring out their identities. I'd recommend giving it a try or recommending it to young readers in your life!

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It’s such a cute short coming-of-age (and coming-out) book in which a person tries to understand who they are. The starting point is a name that they came up with that they feel deep connection with – Sasha Masha. To me, it corresponds more with national identity than gender identity but sure, why not. Where I come from, it just sounds like any other Russian name (it’s basically Alex Mary). Fun fact: in Poland, Maria is a common male middle name.⁠

Anyway, back to the book. For a person confused about who they are, Sasha Masha is doing great. Seriously, usually books like this end with at least two broken hearts, turning a couple of the MC’s friends into mortal enemies and one used ex-girlfriend you kind of feel sorry for. Here, everything goes more or less fine. Sasha Masha is just trying to figure themselves out, without wreaking havoc.⁠

How does Sasha Masha figure themselves out? Through seeking new relationships, learning more about themselves and the queer community in general, and finding someone who will care about them no matter what. If you are confused and scared about the future, this book will most likely lift you up.⁠

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"All these years I'd never put the pieces together. They pointed to something that didn't make sense to me. I hid them in different corners of my memory, where I wouldn't accidentally see them together and make sense of them. But when I wasn't looking, they'd banded together and given themselves a name.
Sasha Masha, they said. That's us."

Thank you Colored Pages Book Tour for providing me with an e-arc through NetGalley and giving me the opportunity of being one of the bloggers on the promotional tour of Sasha Masha by Agnes Borinsky.

This is one of those books I'm going to have a tough time writing the review over. I may or may not end up writing paragraphs of my thoughts and how much of 'everything' the book happens to be. All I can do is sit back and go through everything this reading experience turned out to be about.

Here is the blurb: Alex's best friend moves out and Alex is left feeling even more wrong and strange within his own skin and self. Until his class genius, Tracy ends up being his girlfriend and who he thinks will make him feel like A Real Boy with all the dates and kisses. But it isn't quite enough. Something is missing.
As Alex struggles with finding answers to what feels amiss with his identity, he finds himself in a support group for queer teens, in his locality, after trying on dresses and swiping on lipstick in the quiet of his bedroom. There, he meets a beautiful gay boy, Andre, who is unafraid to own his identity. Slowly, Alex begins to realise: maybe, he isn't Alex at all. Maybe it is Sasha Masha.

With her impassioned simplicity and unabashed honesty, Agnes Borinsky debuts Sasha Masha- a soul-touching tearjerker, exploring queer identity and queer romance. Narrated in the first person, this book provides a raw insight into the life of a teenager who is about to pursue a journey of exploring one's identity and sexuality, portrayed under a realistic light. There are scenarios that are truthful and hurtful. Something that every queer person, whether trans or not, can relate to. And that includes family and close friends' part in the journey. The questions Alex poses himself, his thoughts, his confusion and his inner battles are something that comes close to home and Agnes has impressively captured that with her words. The characters: Alex's family, Mabel (his best friend), Tracy, Andre and others who play a minor but a crucial role in the story, are realistically portrayed. Readers can easily know that as much as they play a lasting role, Agnes has written them in just the right way with Alex being the primary focus. As much as I would love to know more about Alex's relationships with all the characters in detail, it just felt right that it isn't the case.

I rarely stay up to read a book. It is so rare that I can actually name books that I stayed up late into the night to read. But this made me stay up late until I finished reading it. For once in aeons, I was not distracted by anything and I finished this in two hours. I found myself sniffing and crying at so many points of this read. Maybe, in the end, I cried in a good way since it ended in a genuine note of Alex beginning his journey, but throughout the read, it was not the same case.

This is not just another trans story*. This is so much more: a very necessary read. I really want to read Alex's journey more but I don't think there would one. As I mentioned earlier, I don't know if I reviewed this right but all I can say with certainty that you should make sure that you add this title on your reading list because you do not want to miss out on this one.

*Just another trans story: I really had to add this note but cishet's do not have the right to say that it is 'just another trans story" when they have been writing stories with repetitive tropes and themes of which some are just too bad and too embarrassing and continues to praise those books. Let us not forget how dangerously problematic some of your (cishets) tropes, themes and books are.
So move a lil, you are blocking the glorious light LGBTQ+ authors and otherwise are spreading.

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<i>Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.</i>

<i>Sasha Masha</i> is a story of teenage confusion and identity discovery. Alex (note: he/him pronouns are used throughout the book for this character) doesn't feel comfortable with who his is, but can't exactly pin down what it is that's wrong or missing. As he navigates a rocky relationship, confused parents, and some new queer friends, Alex starts to wonder if he's not exactly Alex: maybe he's actually Sasha Masha.

This is a quiet, short novel about coming to terms with sexuality and gender identity during adolescence. There's not much plot to it, but I think that works well with the fact that this story is more focused on internal processes. However, I really wanted more <i>feel</i>. Something about the writing style made it a bit difficult to understand how Sasha Masha was feeling--of course, one could easy guess how he was feeling, but I wanted more of his internal voice explaining what was going on in his head and heart. Overall though, this brief but realistic read had some wonderful characters and support for queer and trans teens.

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I sat down last night to do a little bit of reading. I picked up "Sasha Masha" and thought I'd read about 10% and go to bed. But this book was so short and quick that I ended up finishing it in one sitting, in two hours!

Alex is a junior in high school whose best friend has recently moved away. As he begins to wonder who he'll be without his support system, he finds a new group of friend at school and at a local organization for queer teens. When he starts his first relationship and begins to feel like something just isn't right, he begins to explore who the "Real Person" inside of him might be.

This book was your typically YA LGBTQIA fare. Teenager questions identity, explores identity, comes out to friends and family to varying degrees of success, and takes one more step to becoming their true selves. As I've said before, I love to see the representation, but in 2020 these books need to have something more for me to really LOVE them. I enjoyed the read -- it was quick, easy, and straight-to-the-point. But ultimately it was so similar to previous books I've read in this genre. It's getting to the point that my own STUDENTS are begging for books with this representation where their queer identity isn't the central conflict. I'm not saying it can't BE a conflict (since in 2020, unfortunately for many teens, it is a realistic one), but to have that be the only conflict is problematic. The writing style also was too simplistic and read more like a slightly-above average teenage journal for the first half.

Generally engaging story with a good plot, great representation, but not as unique and well-written as other books that tackle the same topics. I'll still recommend this book to teens who enjoy this genre.

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“Sasha Masha” follows a young teen’s journey into gender exploration. It’s a very soft, sweet, gentle book, one that I absolutely blazed right through. I was lucky to get my hands on an advanced copy thanks to NetGalley.

I thoroughly enjoyed following Sasha Masha on this journey of self-discovery. At times it was gut-wrenching with how disconnected Sasha Masha was from the world. The feeling that one isn’t a real person… it really hit hard.

This book felt like something private, like I was snooping on Sasha Masha’s personal journey. Sasha Masha’s internal life is rich and vivid and so very compelling. I absolutely devoured this book in one sitting, though it has taken me a long time to sit down and condense my thoughts into words.

I think this book would be suitable for young readers as they explore themselves and their identities in ways similar to Sasha Masha. It is also definitely a book that makes a transgender or questioning person feel seen. We need more books like this.

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I enjoyed the story of Sasha Masha, but it took me about 2/3 of the book to get really into it. I probably wouldn't have finished this one if I weren't reviewing it for NetGalley, although I'm glad I did end up reading the whole thing. Sasha Masha is very disconnected and bored, and while this came across very strongly in the writing, the problem was that it made me feel disconnected and bored. This may have been the feeling that Borinsky was trying to get across, but it didn't make me particularly interested in the story. As Sasha Masha's feelings and thoughts change throughout the story, I did feel the writing change and became more interested. While this was done successfully, I think it can be really hard to hook a reader when such a large portion of the book makes them feel removed from the story. I was interested in the lives of many of the secondary characters, even those shown briefly.

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I really liked Sasha Masha as it felt like a blend of Perks of Being a Wallflower and the show Love, Victor. It was a story of Sasha Masha trying to feel comfortable with his changing identity and it took a new group of friends and older members of the queer community to guide him to not just who he wanted to be, but who he was. I won't even get into my feelings about Tracy but *side eye*. There were a lot of emotional moments in the story but also a lot of sweet moments. The book really showed how far acceptance and safety can take a person, and I really loved how the book ended. I think this book is great for anyone who might be hesitant to show every part of themselves or who just want to see a character that has to go through the journey of stepping into who they are.

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Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an ARC of this book for an honest review. This was a beautifully written story about a teenager finding friends and an identity for himself while dealing the the typical life of an adolescent. It was a rather short read but I felt like the story was told perfectly in the length of the book. This is very much a character driven story with the plot being secondary. It works really well for the content of what is being told.

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I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest opinion. Thank you so much, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) for the chance to read and review this book.

Alex has good grades, he's a good student, a good son and friend, he's quiet, people, grown-ups like him and he's the kind and smiling kid everyone like. But he doesn't feel right in his own skin, in his own body. To complicate things, then comes Tracy, who likes him, who is cutely awkward and wants to be with him. Tracy who makes him feel more Real, but still Alex feels something is missing, something isn't right.
While grappling with his identity and sexuality, trying new things, asking himself questions, he meets Andre, a gay boy who is unafraid of himself and his sexuality, who helps him understand who Alex really is.

Transgender author Agnes Borinsky wrote a wonderful and intense novel about gender identity, sexuality and discovery. Told in first person, by Alex's POV, the novel is heart-wrenching and beautiful and messy. The reader follows Alex questioning himself, his sexuality, his preferred pronouns, who is or she is, how to talk with his parents and friends and so on.

Mabel, his best friend, who unfortunately moved at the beginning of the novel, is a wonderful and constant presence in his life, helping and supporting Alex in understanding himself. It's thanks to her and a dress, Alex starts to question himself and who he or she is. It was intense reading about the pressure Alex feels about what people, his parents, his classmates, think he is and what he should do and be.
I loved reading about Lavender Ladder, a safe place when queer people meets, with queer groups, movie nights, parties and slowly Alex is introduced in a new and wonderful world, with people just like him, ready to help him understand and process.
Through friends and love, Alex slowly starts to understand his new identity and sexuality and to use the real name: Sasha Masha, a name Alex felt intensily.

The way Alex thinks about Real people, people who are confident in their bodies and in what they do really hit me hard.
I loved reading this book. It's very peculiar, because the reader follows Alex in his thoughts and questions, so it can be messy while he's trying to figure out himself and his sexuality and, at the same time, it's very realistic. Sasha Masha is about the beginning of a process, a slowly realizing of who Alex is, a sort of slice of life in Alex's life, while Alex struggles with questions, schools, friends, girlfriend and crushes.

Reading this novel it felt like I was snooping in Alex's life, following him around and it was really heartwrenching reading him realizing the real name, identity and sexuality.
It's a book about queer people, love, discovery, questioning and gender identity and it's really beautiful.

"I have this theory that some people are Real People and some people are not. Real people are comfortable being themselves and don't have to think about what they want. They laugh out loud and they eat when they are hungry and they say what they're thinking not matter who is listening. And the paradox of it is that the harder you try to be Real, the deeper you know that you are not." (quote taken from the earc, so it can be subject to changes)

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I really liked this story. The characters were clear and humanly flawed. It asked beautiful questions and gave not so many answers because that's not how life works. The one thing that really kept me from loving it was the writing style. I felt constantly removed from the characters (which I realize may have been intentional), but I still struggled. That could totally just be me, though!

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