Preteens and teenagers…growing up and finding your place in the world. Trying to figure out who you are, what role you’re going to play and where you fit in. Normal, run of the mill stuff for most kids. But what if you really aren’t who everyone thinks you are? What if you’ve been given a role to play that doesn’t truly mesh with what your heart tells you about yourself? This is the story in this wonderful debut novel by Amy Polonsky.
Meet Grayson. He’s an even-tempered, sweet young boy living a very difficult life. He lives with his aunt & uncle because his parents died when he was just four, a mere baby. And although they love him and treat him as one of their own, he’s always felt the loss of his mom and dad. That alone would be enough to make most kids question who they are. But there’s more. You see, Grayson also struggles with his very identity. He’s always been drawn to “girlie” pursuits, whether it’s adding a princess to his drawing or wearing girls’ clothes. He knows, however, that this goes against society’s expectations and norms so he hides it. So he exists in his own little world. He gets by without too much trouble or grief from the other kids. He goes to school and does things with his family from time to time. But when he’s alone, he dreams about wearing pretty skirts, soft colors, and sparkles.
Then one day, Grayson takes a chance. He steps outside of his comfortable little box and tries out for the school play. New worlds and friendships are opened up for him along with new challenges. And he, along with his family, are forced to confront some hard truths. Things will never be the same for Grayson, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Grayson’s story is both heartbreaking and heart-lifting at the same time. It filled me with hope while also making me weep. It’s an important story, one that must be told and should be read by anyone who comes in contact with young people. It’s a reminder that what you see on the outside isn’t necessary the truth. And seeing the world through Grayson’s eyes shows us that we are all very different while also being very much alike in our hopes and dreams.
Buy It Now: Gracefully Grayson