Gino, Alex. George. Scholastic Press, 2015. Hardcover $14.49, ISBN 978-0-545-81254-2; PLB $18.51, ISBN 978-1-51811-632-2
TL;DR: Do I recommend this? YES!!!
Genre: Realistic Contemporary Fiction/LGBTQIA Fiction
Part of a series? No.
George has a big secret — she’s a girl. She wishes that she could ask people to call her Melissa; she wants to wear makeup and dresses and perfume. How to tell her family? She doesn’t know what to do. She does know that she wants to be Charlotte in the class play of Charlotte’s Web. She confides this dream to her best friend Kelly, and Kelly encourages her to go for it. Auditions don’t go as planned, however, and when George’s mom finds and confiscates her secret stash of girls’ magazines, it looks like nothing will go George’s way. Will anyone ever accept George for who she is? Or will all of them — bullies like Jeff who beat her up, well-meaning adults like Ms. Udell who refer to her bright future as a wonderful young man, or her mother who refers to George’s interest in girls’ things as “not cute anymore” — crush her spirit and force her to live a life that isn’t right for her?
Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:
George is a fantastic protagonist. Her voice is so clear that it is almost as though readers are reading the actual diary of a middle school girl. Gino’s writing shines, and their narration never sounds like an adult pretending to be a kid speaking. This book is a must-read for all middle graders (and teachers … and parents … and people in general)! The drama-nerd life is also clearly expressed, and as a drama enthusiast myself, I loved that plotline.
Curriculum Ties/Library Use:
I’d love to feature this as a book club book or reading circle choice. A potential activity would be for kids to design the set for a play if we were to stage George as a drama; this would allow for a discussion of what it takes to design a simple set, and we could talk about what the most important places were in the novel so that we can focus on those locations. (Idea from myself)
Grade Level: 3-6
Awards and Starred Reviews:
Booklist starred 8/1/15
Kirkus Reviews starred 6/1/15
Publishers Weekly starred 5/11/15
School Library Journal starred 7/1/15
Stonewall Book Award 2016
Kirkus Reviews. (2015, May 6). George (Review of the book George). Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/alex-gino/george/
Pavao, K. (n. d.). George (Review of the book George). Common Sense Media. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/george