How can you convince the world you are a girl when you were born a boy? How can you be accepted in a small town when you are different?
Finch has run out of parents. Her father left when her mother's cancer came back. Her mother left when the cancer won. Finch's mother was smart though and she married a guy named Stan before she died so Finch has a home and a stepfather and a stepmother. But to Finch these two adults don't feel like family. She knows she has a real father out there somewhere and she's waiting for him to come and find her and take her home wherever that home might be.
This is the story of Finch's journey after her mother passes on. There's a lot that doesn't feel right to Finch. She doesn't have her real parents for one. But just as powerful, she knows she's a girl but was born with boy parts. So she sets out to find her real father and she fights to express herself as a girl instead of as a boy against adult prejudices and peer bullying and humiliations.
She isn't alone in her battles. Lucky for Finch, she has a neighbor named Maddy, an older woman who rescues wildlife. Maddy knows how to gain the trust of wounded creatures and she has a very special place for Finch in her very special heart.
Lucky for Finch, Sherri, the girl with the blue hair, comes to town and couldn't give a fig for what the class bully, Amanda, thinks about anything. She really tells it like it is and doesn't put up with the nonsense. Sherri's mother plays "dial a boyfriend" and has Sherri and her older sister moving from state to state in search of the right man. The two girls, Finch and Sherri, stand beside each other in some of life's most painful moments. They really have each other's backs.
This is a story about weakness and fear in adults and how it gets passed down to children. This is a story about figuring out where you belong. This is a story about loss and adults who aren't strong enough or smart enough to do the right thing. Most of all this is a story about hope and how some people, some incredible wonderful people, will see you as the special person you are and they won't be confused by or suckered into kowtowing to someone else's prejudice, weakness and downright meanness.
There's gold in these pages. There is empathy and understanding and some wonderful characters you want to hug. There is hope.
So, gather yourself some munchies, a couple of tissues and hit the hammock or your favorite chair and dig in because this is one of those books you will love reading and you won't want to stop until you get to that last precious word.
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
272 pages 978-1250293725 Ages 10-14
Keywords: transgender, love, family, loss, grief, injustice, bullying, friendship, resilience, belonging, fitting in, believing in yourself, diverse books, diversity, LGBTQ, gay and lesbian, growing up, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, 14 year old, acceptance, accepting others, gender identity
From Ginny Rorby, the author of Hurt Go Happy, winner of ALA’s Schneider Family Book Award, comes Freeing Finch, the inspiring story of a transgender girl and a stray dog who overcome adversity to find love, home, and a place to belong.
When her father leaves and her mother passes away soon afterward, Finch can’t help feeling abandoned. Now she’s stuck living with her stepfather and his new wife. They’re mostly nice, but they don’t believe the one true thing Finch knows about herself: that she’s a girl, even though she was born in a boy’s body.
Thankfully, she has Maddy, a neighbor and animal rescuer who accepts her for who she is. Finch helps Maddy care for a menagerie of lost and lonely creatures, including a scared, stray dog who needs a family and home as much as she does. As she earns the dog’s trust, Finch realizes she must also learn to trust the people in her life―even if they are the last people she expected to love her and help her to be true to herself.--from the publisher