Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman


Alex as WellAlex as Well by Alyssa Brugman

Publication Date: January 20, 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Genre: Young Adult Coming of Age

[Special thanks to the publisher for the review copy!]

Goodreads Summary:

Alex is ready for things to change, in a big way. Everyone seems to think she’s a boy, but for Alex the whole boy/girl thing isn’t as simple as either/or, and when she decides girl is closer to the truth, no one knows how to react, least of all her parents. Undeterred, Alex begins to create a new identity for herself: ditching one school, enrolling in another, and throwing out most of her clothes. But the other Alex—the boy Alex—has a lot to say about that. Heartbreaking and droll in equal measures, Alex As Well is a brilliantly told story of exploring gender and sexuality, navigating friendships, and finding a place to belong.

Something New

Alex as Well presented something new, at least to me. I’ve never read a book where the main character is experiencing sexual ambiguity. In a way, books like these can be similar to LGBT books, but I think they tell a slightly different story. The best way to understand what’s happening with individuals who were born sexually ambiguous is to ask them, or in this case, read about them.

I have to admit that the first chapters were confusing, especially because I don’t know that much about the character’s condition. But people who are interested in these rare medical conditions might want to check out this book. (Biology students, maybe?)

Spotlight on the writing style (Hi, Alyssa!)

I love, love, love the way Alex as Well was written. I felt like Alex was really talking to me (the reader) and I felt like I was involved in the story. It’s super fun to read, and the chapters were really short, giving room for reading breaks when needed.

I laughed a lot during the first quarter, mostly because of the side comments that Alex made. But as I understood more about what’s really happening, I became more serious in reading. I like it that Alyssa did not reveal the whole situation right away. She gave pieces of the real thing, slowly forming a big picture. Because of this, I didn’t have any problems with my reading experience. 🙂

Nature versus Nurture

What plays a greater role in the development of an individual? Alex as Well touched this issue. In the story, you’ll find out about the problems that Alex encountered because of the nature versus nurture debate. Alex wants to be someone, but that someone isn’t exactly what the parents wanted.

I bet at least one of you can relate. You may not have the condition that Alex suffered from, but this situation, the what you want versus what they want dilemma happens to almost everyone, in my experience.

My say on this is to hear both sides and compromise. Our family is there to guide, not dictate. And we’re supposed to know their reasons for doing things before assuming that a compromise can’t happen. Children are naturally rebellious. We should think before doing anything that might cause misunderstandings within the family. Families are supposed to be support groups.

The consistency of the story is something new as well…

I think this is the first time that all quarters of the story received 4/5. The story was very consistent. No extremes. And this is something new to me. Usually I read stories with OMG-worthy plot twists or swoonworthy scenes that give all the feels.

I believe we can see the consistency as something good, in the sense that Alex as Well did not disappoint.

Spotlight on Vic and the blog posts…

There were chapters dedicated to the blog posts of Alex’s mother and the comments were the parts that I always look forward to reading. But there’s one respondent who stood out, and that’s Vic.

Vic seemed to see things in a different way, and even if he’s usually opposed by the other respondents, he stood for what he believed in and I admire that. When you read this book, watch out for Vic. He’s totally awesome. 😉

Alex as Well is for people who struggle to establish an identity. Don’t be scared, fight for who you are. This book will help you understand yourself, and other people as well.

Respect begets respect.

***

Quote love! ❤

There are moments in life when something happens and it changes everything forever. You make one decision, and after that you can’t go back. It doesn’t even have to be a big thing.

-Alex

This is the first few lines of the book. Upon reading these, I knew I was going to like the book. This quote is so true, at least to  me.

It sounds more like Alex is establishing an identity. That would have taken considerable bravery, I would have thought.

-Vic

I told you, Vic is an awesome character. Opposing the majority is something that most people find difficult to do. But remember Robert Frost’s poem? I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Every time someone stands up and fights for what he believes in, the world sucks less.

She’s my baby. She’s so strong and fierce that I am afraid of her sometimes. But she’s going to need to be fierce, because the path she is on is going to be painful.

-Alex’s mother

This is where I knew that Alex’s mother didn’t mean to do what she did. I felt her love for her child. This quote describes how a mother cares for her child’s future. She knows what could happen, and she just wanted to keep her child as safe as possible. I understand her side, and I don’t blame her for what she did.

Favorite quote:

When we love people, then we forgive them and we support them when they’re going through something.

-Alex’s father

I’m a heart person, and everything about love fascinates me, even the ugly parts. This quote expresses pain, and how Alex’s father tried to explain to Alex what people do for love’s sake. I believe in this, too. ❤

***

Initial Rating: 4/5

Bonuses: 0.25

Demerits: None

***

Final Rating: 4.25/5

Choose to be the best version of yourself.

Signature II

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3 thoughts on “Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman

  1. One look at the cover art gave me a hint that the story has something to do with Alex’s sexuality. But after reading your review, I think it’s different than the usual identity crisis story that I thought of. I was deeply intrigued by Alex’s medical condition. Gotta read this one.

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