Author: Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Publication Date: October 8, 2012
Copy provided via publisher
I picked up a copy of this title (signed by the author!) at the ALA Annual Conference last year, and though it's taken me awhile to get to it on my TBR pile, I am absolutely in love in with it.
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children is the story of Gabe, a high school senior who's looking forward to his post-high school life. He wants to put all the bullying and awfulness behind and start over in a new life. Because Gabe has spent the past 18 years as Elizabeth and now he's ready to transition.
His neighbor/friend/mentor John gets him a DJ gig on the local community radio station and a part-time job in an indie record store. Gabe never thought transitioning would be easy, but his radio show becomes an underground hit. It's the one bright spot in his life, but he's scared he'll lose his fans if they found out about him.
Gabe's family basically ignores him, so he relies on his best friend, Paige, for support. Paige may just be into him, but he's kind of terrified to find out for sure in case he's wrong.
Then when he's finally outed and things turn violent, Gabe finds out who really stands with him.
Gabe's voice seems completely authentic, all the fears, hopes, insecurities, doubts, desires, and aspirations of any young person on the verge of a new life. There's humor, too, with Gabe's wit and charm.
Kirstin Cronn-Mills is straight, but she did her homework. She spoke with trans teens as she worked on the novel and Beautiful Music for Ugly Children ended up winning a Stonewall Award. (Just a reminder than you don't have to be X to write X. Do your research and have respect for that world and you can write from any POV.)
I'd recommend Beautiful Music for Ugly Children to readers who enjoyed Beauty Queens by Libba Bray or Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher.
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children Book Trailer: