Cover Image: Sasha Masha

Sasha Masha

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Member Reviews

Sasha Masha is a story about the discomfort we feel in our bodies. The ways that memories all of a sudden make sense. All the times we've felt like we aren't being ourselves, but not knowing how to bridge that gap. How we cannot imagine a future for ourselves when the present feels so untenable. Sasha Masha is a story about self-discovery, gender and sexual identity, and friendship. To undo the lessons, norms, and rules of the world society imposes on us is no easy task. At the end of the day, to figure out the feelings we have had that separate us from these conventions, to unlearn them, to see a different possibility is even more difficult.

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Alex gets good grades and is generally liked by the people around him. He does what people expect him to and say what he thinks they want to hear. But Alex doesn't feel real. All he wants is to become a "real boy." But then enters Sasha Masha and his whole world is turned upside down.

Sasha Masha is a trans coming-out story and what sets it apart from most of the coming-out stories I've read is that it's not about someone who already knows they are trans or have even considered that they might be. I think it gives a different perspective which is important because not everyone's journey will look the same.

My favourite part of the book is the idea that people are constantly changing and the difficulties we can encounter when the people around us have a fixed idea of who we are and who we should be.

I found the writing fairly straightforward. The book did feel a bit short and I wish we got to spend more time with the characters. Overall, this was a nice and quick read. And it's also #ownvoices.

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I received an advanced copy of Sasha Masha from Colored Pages Tours so that I could review it as a stop on their upcoming tour!

Something isn’t quite right with Alex’s body, but he can’t quite figure out what it is. His skin doesn’t fit right, he looks too big and clumsy, and he hates the way his clothes fit him. The only thing that really seems to fit is the name, “Sasha Masha,” which came to Alex years ago. When everything else feels wrong about his life, Alex knows that he can take refuge with Sasha Masha. Things start to look up for Alex when he finds Tracy, a girl who makes him feel more real than anyone else in his life. But even this blossoming relationship can’t chase away the aching sensation that something is wrong. Alex begins to explore the nearby LGBTQ+ support group for teens and finds that he fits there better than he ever could’ve imagined. Somehow, he must find out what it means to be Sasha Masha.

You can get your copy of Sasha Masha on November 10th from FSG Books!

I was so excited to hear that I’d been chosen as a stop on the Colored Pages' Sasha Masha tour! As an OwnVoices queer reviewer, I am always trying to read books featuring identities different than my own. For this reason, I really enjoyed reading Sasha Masha and watching as Alex grew into who they are meant to become. I read this book in a single sitting because it was just so easy to tear through! I believe that Agnes Borinsky brought real insight into Alex’s journey to uncovering who Sasha Masha is.

My Recommendation-
If you love stories about identity and self-discovery, Sasha Masha should be on your to-read list! For folx looking to support OwnVoices trans stories, Sasha Masha would be a good place to start! This book would be a good pick for fans of If I Was Your Girl, The Art of Being Normal, and George!

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Despite its shorter length, Sasha Masha serves as a great introduction and exploration into being transgendered and the struggle many teens like Sasha Masha face daily. Being a teacher, I know that books like Sasha Masha must be required in all libraries and classrooms. Having a book centering around a transgendered teen discovering their gender and sexuality will help other students do the same, but in a way that isn't forced. Just like Sasha Masha never felt forced into making the decisions they did or were leaning towards, we as educators and as human beings need to do the same for our youth: offering them opportunities to learn more about the world around them and their place in it.

This book, truthfully, is closer to a 4.5. The only thing I would have liked to see is just a little more depth. I felt there was much to Sasha Masha that we were missing and that some additional scenes or inner reflection would have helped flesh the novel out a little bit more. I did appreciate the ending, leaving the reader open to interpreting what would happen next. The reality for our youth is that not everything has a happy ending and that, sometimes, coming out isn't a pleasant experience. By pausing on Sasha Masha's story then, we get to form our own opinions on how it goes. I believe that, in the end, this allows teens to put themselves in Sasha Masha's shoes a little easier. I know this book will do great things for our youth and I hope it opens the way to see transgendered characters in more worlds, plots, and situations than ever before.

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☆☆☆☆ | Relatable. Real. Raw.

Sometimes you read a book, and there’s this part of you that can’t help but think it was written just for you. That was my thought while reading Sasha Masha. It was almost absurd how close I felt to Sasha Masha and the way this character was written. I cried several times while reading the story, and not even because it was that sad. It just felt so wonderful to feel like you are being seen.

This story is one of the realest portrayals of identity and adolescence I’ve ever read. The pace is meandering and some might even call it slow, but I felt like it fit the story so well. There is very little plot, as this reads as more of a personal story of Sasha Masha coming to an understanding of his transness (please note that I am using he/him pronouns for Sasha Masha, as it is said in the book that he only ever goes by those pronouns, at least from what we readers can gauge) rather than a intricate story with lots of action an twists and turns. The relationships Sasha Masha forms are realistic and messy, and the feelings he has towards his parents and towards feeling “not-Real” hit home for me on SO many levels.

I think it’s insanely important to read ownvoices works, especially when it comes to a transgender experience. The YA genre is expanding in regards to queer literature for sure, but I hardly ever see books like these being talked about and I need Sasha Masha to receive SO MUCH MORE HYPE than I’ve seen it being given.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the characters and the writing style, I did feel like the ending was severely rushed. It didn’t take away much from the story itself for me, it was more so disappointing because I would have loved to see Agnes Borinsky take more time with the ending. I just think it could have been so much more impactful.

All in all, a super solid debut. Whatever she writes next, I’ll be buying it.

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Alex doesn’t feel like a Real Boy. Sure, he’s well-liked at school, a good student, a smiling son - but his body feels like an ill-fitting costume, he both likes and dislikes hanging out with his girlfriend, and he never knows the right thing to say. The only time he’s ever felt completely comfortable was with his best friend Mabel, but now she lives in a different state. The name Sasha Masha, a playful nickname that he and Mabel used for him, keeps coming to mind, but Alex doesn’t know what to do with that. If he doesn’t know how to name his feelings, how can he possibly figure out what they mean?

Then he meets Andre, a blue-haired, unapologetically queer boy at the local youth group, and slowly but surely, Alex is having experiences that are making things click into place. Maybe he’s not a Real Boy - maybe he’s something entirely different.

A lyrical, moving story of queerness and being a teenager, of finding real friends and figuring out who you are. This book left me feeling hopeful and satisfied, and I am so very happy that queer authors are writing the books they wish they’d seen as teenagers. This one was a quick read, with a unique main character and story we can all relate to one way or another.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Comes out November 10th, 2020.

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Full review: 11/26/2020

Borinsky does a beautiful job of writing this experience. From drag mothers to parents not understanding but wanting to, this book was well written. While I enjoyed this book, there were some moments that I felt disconnected from it. It seemed some things were drawn out, while others didn't get enough light. The relationship with Tracy was clumsy, as intended, but it felt like it lasted too long. I suppose I wanted more of what happens as Sasha Masha discovers who they are, but the story was focused on the before- and I do get that.

A review for this is difficult because this book is messy. It's supposed to be messy because this experience is not cut and dry. Aside from some moments being slower than others and interrupting the pace of this book, this book was incredibly enjoyable and I cannot wait to read more from Agnes.

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This short, elegant book focuses on Alex, a white high school student from Baltimore who starts to explore his gender identity. He is adrift after his best friend Mabel moves away and begins to fill his life up with new friendships. His attempt to date Tracy, a smart African-American classmate, both makes him feel like a “real” person but also leaves him terribly confused. He keeps on recalling a moment with Mabel where they were dressing up and creating new personas. On a whim, he called himself Sasha Masha. But now he’s starting to wonder if changing his name is the key to unlocking greater happiness.

I really liked this book. Alex is a quiet character on the outside but his inner life is vibrant and curious. His world is filled with well-intentioned, loving people (including his parents) who don’t understand what’s going on. It doesn’t help that his attempt to explain that he wants to change his name to the improbable sounding “Sasha Masha” doesn’t give them enough of a window to recognize his honest identity struggle.

And the author did such a lovely job with the small details. There’s condensation on the metal creamer pitcher at the diner where he is meeting a new friend. Tiny things like this just bring me right along with the character.

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3.5 stars
SASHA MASHA is an impactful story of the journey Alex takes to discover who he is as Sasha Masha. This is an own-voices novel, which I think made the story all the more meaningful and impactful. This journey is in no way easy to take and this book doesn’t shy away from the tough topics. There’s confusion and sadness but also hope and the promise of a better future. This book was a super quick read, though the beginning did seem rushed and choppy. We jumped right in and I wish we had a little more time to get to know Alex. I really liked the sense of community present towards the middle of the book. My only real issue was that I feel we didn’t get truly know our characters because of how short the book was. Alex’s self-discovery over the course of the book was done very well and the ending was open but realistic and hopeful. I would definitely recommend this novel!

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This book is about Alex who doesn't think he belongs in the right body and meets Tracy who helps him know how to be a real boy but that isn't enough. Alex starts to find his true identity by trying on dresses and meeting a gay boy, Andre, who isn't afraid to show his true self.

This book was an enjoyable and a powerful read. The author did a wonderful job with the writing and pacing. The author did a wonderful job with writing Sasha Masha's before transition but I was hoping to see how Sasha Masha was after the transition. This book discusses about trying to find who you are and not being afraid which does send a powerful message. This book talked less about coming out but more of who you are which I liked this approach made by the author because I think finding out who you are is really important and some authors forget that part.

I enjoyed the main character Alex who is now Sasha Masha. She had a hard time finding out who she was and was struggling with telling people because she didn't know herself. I love how she didn't step off on finding her true identity but willing to go out and find it out herself. There were some great supporting characters that helped Sasha Masha like Andre and her old best friend. I enjoyed Andre's character because he helped Sasha Masha and supported her through her difficult time. This book did have some romance in it but it wasn't the main factor.

I enjoyed this book but was hoping for it to be longer. It was a very short read and I wanted to know what happened to Sasha Masha at the end of the story. It was more of an ending where the reader can decide what they wanted to happen. Overall I enjoyed this book and recommend it to everyone because this book needs to be read.

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I enjoyed this book! I’ve definitely never read anything quite like it. I thought the story was focused a lot more on the confusing/questioning/discovery aspect of finding who you are, which I really haven’t read much about. The characters were really sweet and it was heartwarming to see the blooming friendships, especially between the folks at the Purple Ladder. I couldn’t really jive with the writing style, but it was a quick read and I got used to it after a while. Overall an enjoyable book!

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Alex is smiling and likable and he largely tries not to be noticed, but over the course of this book, he begins to realize that his body doesn't feel right to him, and he begins to explore wearing dresses and trying out being Sasha Masha.

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Alex is not sure what happiness is, what it looks like, how it feels. He’s lost without his BFF Mabel, who moved to Pittsburgh, leaving Alex to navigate junior year of high school in Baltimore on his own. He dates Tracy, but something just isn’t quite right. Then he meets Andre, and Alex’s’ walls begin to come down. Truly a touching, heartfelt story of how to become yourself. And everything that could possibly mean.

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Many thanks to Netgalley and publishers for a review copy of Sasha Masha.

I LOVED this. The journey to self discovery Sasha Masha takes is poetic and beautiful. My only complaint is that I want more!

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