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Ash’s mom didn’t really check before signing Ash up for a new school. I mean, it’s great that she’s supportive, and great that the new school has a Rainbow Alliance and gender neutral bathroom, but Ash isn’t really ready to talk about gender to the whole school. It’s easier to let everyone assume that Ash is a girl–maybe a tomboy–than try to explain how that identity can change from day to day. Just the existence of the gender neutral bathroom creates problems. What if Daniel saw Ash using a gender neutral bathroom? It’s kind of convenient for Ash’s male crush to think of Ash as a girl.
When Daniel rescues an elderly Pomeranian from euthanasia at the vet clinic where he volunteers, though, he turns to Ash for help. And Ash realizes that the crush is very much mutual. The only problem: Daniel has no idea of Ash’s gender identity. Will their friendship continue to blossom into something more if Ash tells Daniel the truth?
Loved this middle grade novel! The voice of both protagonists is so authentically middle grade with just the right balance of humor, sincerity, and self-doubt. A true delight to read. Highly recommend to 5-7th grade readers, especially dog lovers!