I have mixed feelings about this book. Which seems to be a common thing in books I have read recently. Huh.
There definitely is some good in this book. Firstly, hooray for diversity!! Transgender people are so underrepresented in books, TV and other media, so it's wonderful to finally see them getting some representation. I also thought Blue is an interesting character, although she's a minor character. But she did have some potential. And I guess the writing's not too bad. Sometimes it felt flat, but it wasn't annoying.
There were a lot of things I didn't like though. J is just not an interesting character. He has nothing that makes him stand out. Also, he acts like an asshole sometimes. For instance, in the first or second chapter, J is at a party and another guy comes up to him and starts talking about a girl who is doing sexual things for money upstairs. This other guy is concerned for her and thinks they should intervene, but J doesn't give a damn and calls her a "stupid ass bitch" or something. And then J is all confused when the guy gets mad at him. Dealing with hard stuff is not an excuse to be an asshole. So, I just didn't particularly like J. I felt sorry for him, but I didn't truly care. Also, all of the side characters are so boring, with the exception of Blue. I just didn't care about anyone.
There is also a lack of direction in the plot. Nothing is happening, really.
And, this is a minor thing that didn't affect my rating, but I just have to say: I really hate the cover.
Overall, this wasn't a bad book and I applaud the inclusion of a transgender character- not as a minor, side character but as the protagonist. But it definitely had a few flaws. So, I'd say 2.5 stars
Also, this is not the author's fault, but it's something I'd like to rant about.
So, you know how on the back of a book, usually there's a section called "Praise for (insert book title here)"? Well, in "Praise for I am J", one of the quotes praising the book uses an offensive slur against transgender people.
The exact quote is:
"Until I am Jcame along, I didn't know I'd been desperately lacking a tr*nny Holden Caulfield in my life. Smart and sensitive, but with just the right amount of rage bubbling over, J is an inspiring and courageous ambassador for any twenty-first century kid trying to figure out who and what he or she (or anything in between) is in this world"
The quote is complimenting a book about a transgender character, yet it uses a slur (the word in bold) that is offensive to many people. How did NO ONE catch and fix this mistake???? Maybe I'm overreacting (although I saw other reviewers addressing it, so perhaps not), but I find that extremely upsetting and I think that's NOT okay!!!! Again, that is not the author's fault at all, but it really upsets me.