My Crunchy Life – Entered in 2018 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

Mia Kerick

My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick is a young adult novel focusing on the experiences of being transgender, queer, and in high school. The novel follows Kale, a new convert to the crunchy, hippie way of life as he grapples with his feelings towards his classmate Julian. Julian is going through changes of his own as he makes the decision to begin living as the girl he has always known himself to be.

My Crunchy Life seems, at times, to be unsure what it wants to be. The book is told primarily through journal entries written by Kale and Julia – or so it seems. The problem is that the book doesn’t fully commit one way or the other. The use of first person narration certainly supports the idea of the journal entry narrative. However, each time the book turns away from introspection and towards dialogue it fails to indicate whether it is still operating under the journal conceit. Clarifying the format and style of the narrative would strengthen the book.

Kerick tackles very heavy topics in this novel and she manages to do so in a very approachable way. The LGBTQ community is still sorely underrepresented in popular culture and the arts, making this novel a welcome addition. Kale and Julia are realistic characters that are easy to relate to regardless of the reader’s identity. Kerick does an excellent job of incorporating issues experienced by all high school students regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation in a book that also heavily focuses on the experiences of LGBTQ characters. My Crunchy Life will appeal to readers of young adult fiction who are looking for an exploration of the high school experience and the trials and tribulations of LGBTQ youth.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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