by Kristin Elizabeth Clark


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A powerful novel in verse told from the points of view of a genderqueer teenager, the teen's girlfriend, and a trans woman

“An important story, written with compassion and startling insight.” —Ellen Hopkins, The New York Times–bestselling author of the Crank trilogy

From the outside, Brendan Chase seems to have it pretty easy. Brendan is a star wrestler, a video game aficionado, and a loving significant other to seemingly perfect match, Vanessa.

But Brendan feels so wrong. Why does Brenan sometimes fantasize having long hair, soft skin, and gentle curves? Is there even a name for people like Brendan? People who are assigned male at birth but who sometimes want to be girls? Or is Brendan just a freak?

In Freakboy's razor-sharp verse, Kristin Clark folds three narratives into one powerful story: Brendan's exploration of gender; Vanessa, who fights to keep her and Brendan's relationship alive; and Angel, a woman who's struggling to confront her own demons.

Praise for Freakboy:

“Debut novelist Clark uses free verse to write a gripping story about a complex topic: the challenges of growing up transgender or genderqueer." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This gutsy, tripartite poem explores a wider variety of identities—cis-, trans-, genderqueer—than a simple transgender storyline, making it stand out.” —Kirkus Review, starred review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374324728
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 10/22/2013
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 5.88(w) x 8.64(h) x 1.36(d)
Lexile: HL700L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kristin Elizabeth Clark always knew she wanted to be a writer. She began dabbling in haiku in the third grade – this "experimentation" turned out to be a gateway to the harder stuff: book-length verse. She lives and writes in Northern California where she has worked as a child advocate within the juvenile justice system, and as a children's theatre producer. She is a proud volunteer at Project Outlet in Mountain View, CA. Freakboy is her young adult debut.

Read an Excerpt

A pronoun is a ghost
of who you really are
whispering its presence,
taunting your soul.
In you
of you
but not
all you.
my own
He She
Him Her
I You.
Scared that
for scrambled-pronoun
might never
The Name Is Brendan
Dinner table,
silverware gleaming.
Claude the Interloper finishes
telling a story.
Mom passes me steak.
                    “How was your day?”
She’s chirping, despite
surgery two days ago.
I shrug
the missed bus,
the half-hour wait for the next one,
the wrestling practice that blew.
Don’t bother to elaborate.
Mom hates Coach
(almost) as much as I do.
Freshman year
she wanted me to skip holiday practice
so what was left of our family
could go on vacation.
Coach described the importance of
“consistent training and conditioning.”
Said he always mentioned “dedication”
in his college letters of recommendation.
She wavered and then
he told her flat out that
I was the weakest link
and always would be if I was a
mama’s boy who’d miss training.
She was ticked, but
we stayed in town
with the other manly
and dedicated jocks.
He was on my ass today
for getting caught
by a head-and-arm drag.
A crappy thing itself,
our faces so close.
Still he yelled.
And through all the drills
my head wasn’t in it.

Copyright © 2013 by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

Customer Reviews

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Freakboy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Amabe421 More than 1 year ago
Actual rating 4.5 stars This book took me totally by surprise. I have listened to verse novels before, but have never actually read one myself. I am not opposed to poetry, I just don't typically read it. This book though written in poems never felt that way. It flowed really well, and I was able to get caught up in the story rather quickly. The other bonus of this being a verse novel was that even though it's quite a large book, it a very fast read. Also, the topic is not one that I have read before. I have read plenty of LGBT books, but never one that was focused on gender confusion as this one was. I thought it was done amazingly well, and I highly recommend this book to everyone! Brendan is the main character even though it is told in three different POV's. He is the central point of this book. I really enjoyed getting to know Brendan while he was trying to get to know himself. I felt for him and wanted for him to discover what he was looking for and just be happy. He is on the wrestling team and has a wonderful girlfriend who is totally in love with him. He isn't into guys, but he imagines himself as a female. He wonders what it would be like. He is jealous of the soft skin, pretty hair, and general comfortableness girls seem to have with each other. He feels really lost and confused and thinks that he is a freak. He isn't sure what to do, or who to talk to. Angel comes into his life at just the right time. She helps him discover himself and know that nothing is wrong with him. Vanessa is his longtime girlfriend. She is a sweet girl and I really did feel bad for her when Brendan pushed her away and shut her out. She is used to his ever changing moods, and has always been the person who Brendan would talk to. She is desperate to find out what he is hiding and why he is ignoring her and acting so distant. Her POV was interesting since she didn't really know what was going on. She was hurt, lonely, and felt like her relationship and first love were slipping away. What I liked the best about her is that she is understanding and very strong even while she is hurting. Angel is a Transgender and I loved her POV. She is a very tough person who has been through a lot, and still deals with a lot of stuff. She loves helping people and her heart is in a great place. She has learned a lot through her own experiences and wants to help others who are confused with how they see themselves. More than anything, she wants to find happiness for herself and for others. Being abandoned over and over again throughout her life due to who she is, she has become hardened, but is still a very lively and bright person. This book was so eye opening. Not that I didn't know about Transgender people, or how hard things must be for them. It was just great to read a book specifically about it and the confusion that the characters go through. Not only that, but how others around them act whether in a positive or negative way. I thought that the three different POV's was fantastic and it made the story well rounded. It packed an emotional punch as well. Being a book written in verse, it didn't read that way at all. I was able to follow the story just as with any other book. This is definitely an author I will be looking forward to reading again. *An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.