by Sophie Labelle
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Pub Date 15 Sep 2020 | Archive Date 18 Sep 2020
Average rating from 58 members
I am so glad I picked Ciel up! A friend of mine said they had heard about the original French version and how amazing it was and I absolutely loved the translation!
Ciel is a wonderful story that deals with all topics surrounding trans people finally getting the spotlight they deserve, what it means to be nonbinary, the fear one has to fit in when they tell the world about how they identify and finding friends that are worth sticking up for.
I loved how Ciel had so much going on and how their YouTube channel grew throughout the book and how they did their paper round to be able to afford a new camera to produce better quality content. The first hints that we got at a friendship between them and Liam was also great and I wish we would have found out more about Liam.
But since this is a slice of life kind of story without a real beginning or ending, I was more than satisfied to share a bit of time with Ciel, their family and their friends!
Definitely recommend this book especially to younger readers who want to learn more about being trans or nonbinary!
This is a character-driven, slice-of-life, coming-of-age novel featuring a gender nonconforming trans kid named Ciel as they start their first year of high school in Montreal. For my fellow American readers (I had to google this myself), that covers ages 12-17. Ciel and their friends are on the lower end of that age range, so this is solidly a middle grade novel. Kids will relate to the excitement and anxieties that come with being in a new school, making new friends, having crushes, further exploring one's own identity, and having the courage to be themselves. Ciel's inner dialogue will resonate really well with tweens and young teens. Best of all, trans and nonbinary kids get to see themselves in a happy, wholesome, feel-good read.
I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley and I’m very thankful!
Love me some own voices trans nonbinary rep, SPECIALLY in a middle-grade <3 And so cute, and light-hearted, and in a kinda positive tone. Love this to heaven and back.
That being said: I was very lost for the first… 15% of the story, and I remained somewhat lost after that, only that I didn’t care anymore because the story just lets you keep reading without worries. BUT midway through the book I felt like maybe this would work better as a comic book. And it’s because I found no substantial, book deep plotline. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I think comics have less plot than a MG novel, it’s just that this book in particular is… daily events based. It’s a chronicle of the first two weeks of the protagonist’s first year of high school, and it really would have worked GREAT in a comic format. That I thought BEFORE knowing who the author was and her previous work and I wasn’t surprised when I read about it.
Also, I feel like I didn’t get to know the characters, and some plotlines went to nothing (like Martin, or Stephie’s boyfriend??? Or the mean youtuber?), and I would love to, because Ciel is a great protagonist. They’re strong minded and determined, and they’re in that age where they’re forming themselves and I would have really loved to explore them more deeply.
Anyway; the most positive notes of this book are, obviously, the rep (trans boy, trans girl, nonbinary kid, and we even got some latino rep, which I always appreciate) and the themes of family and friendship and the importance of having people who understand and loves you, beautifully approached. I specially loved the ‘new friends’ issue: making friends in HS can be hard for any kid, and Ciel’s worries and concerns are VERY valid.
I liked the youtube subplot and I think lots of kids are gonna feel connected with that aspect of Ciel’s life, I’d have loved to see more of that as well.
I will definitely be on alert with this book and recommend it to everyone!
Ciel is a cute, heart-warming book about a non-binary teen who is struggling with starting high school, a long distance relationship, and their relationship with their best friend Stephie. The book tackles a lot of issues in a short period of time, and does so in a respectful, thoughtful way that absolutely feels appropriate for the target audience.
I think Ciel is a great protagonist for non-binary, trans, and cis kids alike. They're fun, smart, and ambitious, and it's enjoyable to watch them succeed at their goals. It hurts when they're hurt by the people around them, but Ciel generally has an optimistic outlook and their life, and that's good. Ciel as a narrator also takes the time to explain a lot of concepts about gender in very clear ways that don't feel condescending. I hope that the kids who read this book gain a better understanding of what it means to be non-binary. There are also multiple trans characters besides Ciel, and it's nice to see those characters existing and being happy together.
There are a lot of mentions of transphobia in this book, but I think they're handled well and don't go into a territory that would be difficult for middle grade readers to handle. Ciel addresses most of these moments and takes them in stride. In terms of educational but enjoyable content, I think the book hits the nail on the head. It's fun, keeps things relatively light, but also gives a voice to a group of people who are under- and misrepresented in the media quite a lot.
My only problem with the book is that I felt like it ended somewhat abruptly, and not every issue was entirely resolved. This is absolutely fine, and true to real life, because not everything can be tied up in a pretty little bow, but I do wish there had been a clear resolution between Ciel and Stephie.
Stephie is a trans girl who has decided that upon entering high school, she doesn't want to be known as "the trans kid" anymore, and so she doesn't tell any of her new friends that she's trans. This puts a strain on Stephie and Ciel's relationship, because Ciel, who doesn't identify within the gender binary, is much more "obviously" trans and doesn't want to hide that part of themself. In fact, Ciel has a YouTube channel where they talk about their experiences, and one of their videos talking about how pointlessly gendered the bathrooms at their school are ends up going viral.
Ciel can tell that Stephie is pulling away from them slightly, and understands why, but they never have an open conversation with Stephie about the problem. Instead, the narrative ends with them still ambiguously being friends, just not as close as before. When the book ends, Ciel has also just started to form a closer relationship with a trans boy from their school, Liam. Again, I think this is pretty realistic. It's a good representation of how relationships shift and change as people grow up and apart or together. But in terms of the narrative, it left me wanting more. It felt like an awkward ending that didn't quite tie up all the loose ends but also didn't suggest to me that there would be a sequel to address everything. I'd love to see a sequel though!
Overall, I quite enjoyed this book, and I hope a lot of middle grade readers also get to enjoy it and feel represented or learn something or both!
What a refreshing and delightful read!
Having followed Sophie Labelle’s Assigned Male comics for many years, I jumped at the chance to read the ARC for Ciel. This is the first novel that I have read from Labelle and it certainly won’t be my last.
Labelle offers a coming of age/teenage life story that is complete with all the usual complexities of being a teen these days. In addition, the reader is privy to the intricate dance trans individuals face when starting a new school, being introduced into new social circles, and just living in society in general.
Ciel’s character is bright and dreamy. Their voice is clear and mature without being too out of place. Ciel brings a certain amount of optimism in the outlook for treatment of trans kids at their school and in their life without being too naïve. I appreciate how Labelle inserts seamless clarifications in areas where perhaps some readers wouldn’t be too familiar with terms (eg. cisgender). I would anticipate seeing Ciel on the top of any YA “Must Read” list for this year.
Thank you to NetGalley and Second Story Press for the chance to review this book.
Ciel is a non-binary trans kid who is starting high school and is very worried about their friendship with Stephie, who is also trans and doesn't want people at their new school to know.
This is a book that's exactly what I love: not a lot of action, just characters having normal days and talking about themselves. We only get to see the first two weeks of Ciel's high school year, but in those days the author manages to tell us about Ciel's friends, family, boyfriend, job and YouTube channel without making it too much.
I don't know if Ciel is going to be a kid we'll get to know more about, but I'd love it if this became a series. I strongly believe this is the type of book a young trans kid would need in order to know there are people like them out there in the world. The adults in the story are nice and real, which I consider is something that MG/YA books that I read don't usually have.
Overall, I just wished the story was a little bit longer so we could get to know more about characters like the rest of the people at school and Stephie's parents. Still, I'm really impressed on how the ending didn't feel abrupt being such a short final chapter. I hope I get to know more about Ciel soon!
Ciel by Sophie Labelle is a heart warming novella about the fears and assertions of a gender non conforming trans kid Ciel. She is about to enter high school. Any kid would feel the butterflies on the first day. For Ciel it is even more because she fears how her teachers and classmates will respond to her idea of fluid gender.
Luckily she has a best friend Stephie who is also trans but does not want to be open about it unlike Ciel.
Ciel's days begin with her waking up realllly early to deliver the newspaper. She wants to earn enough to buy a camera and tripod that will help her make better videos for her YouTube channel, Ciel is Bored.
The novel is a simple, quick read that brings out the several issues around trans kids and the uncertainties and problems they face because of mainstream binary gendered outlooks. For instance, Ciel has trouble choosing what bathroom to use and only visits it when no one is around. She speaks about it on her channel as well.
This does not mean that Ciel only faces problems and is troubled at her high school. The writer captures the small moments of support she receives, be it from her father, her friend or even her teachers who are willing to accept and understand.
It is a beautiful novel which ends on a superbly positive and uplifting message of being true to oneself!
4 stars rating
i dont know what to say but i totally enjoyed this book it took me by surprise that there was so much to learn from it.
This story is about how Ciel was someone who had youtube channel and had a dream of becoming a better mark out there in the world though she was only a high school girl. She had a best friend names stephie whom was a trans girl .Ciel always relies on her but she happens to be a huge nerd which is the total opposite of Ciel.
Some of the parts in this book caught me by surprise as to how the author manage to share a voice which we teens feel whenever we are being judge from the adults. Ciel did the best to share her thoughts about gender identity, giving them the knowledge and explaining some of the terms which they face and should be treated as dirt. At the end of the day we are all humans.
i honestly think that the author did a good job delivering this important message across the non LGBTQ peeps out there to open up and understand this community better.
Thank you for the arc @netgallery!
This is a really, really special book. It's one thing to find representation in fiction, but it's another to find it in an age range that often doesn't show as much representation, such as middle grade. The pacing and characterization was just a smidge clunky for me from time to time, but that didn't at all hinder my reading. Ciel shows diversity with ease, and characters that are relatable for children and adults alike.
Ciel is about a gender non conforming trans teen as they navigate their first year of high school. Ciel is an aspiring YouTuber who documents parts of his life both as a trans person and as human.
This was such an adorable short novel. Ciel has an accepting and loving family. Their dad and brother are always there for Ciel. It was also so good to see multiple trans people in this story. Ciel’s best friend, Stephie, is a trans girl who has been friends with Ciel for a long time. Ciel even makes a new friend in Liam, an accomplished swimmer who also happens to be trans.
This book does touch on some heavy subjects such as racism and transphobia. It is a sad reality that people as young as Ciel have to deal with these matter in a many aspects of their lives. It can be so important to showcase these issues in all genres of books. I loved the fact that while Ciel did have insecurities and was affected by what other people said, they also were strong and amazing. Ciel refused to hide who they are.
Overall I though this book was just such a relief to read. I unconsciously kept expecting something something worse to happen to Ciel because that is often how trans kids are portrayed but I was happy to be wrong. I tend to steer more towards fantasy books and dramatic contemporary because I enjoy the big climatic moments. I’ve forgotten what a book like this could do to a person.
As I closed the book I thought “that’s it”? I wanted more. Books like this can be so crucial especially to young readers. Reading books where the trans characters can just live and be human can be so powerful. I think books like this can inspire hope. I throughly enjoyed Ciel.
I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book via Netgalley.
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