I Am J by Cris BeamI Am J by Cris Beam

I Am J

byCris Beam

Paperback | November 13, 2012

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A powerful and inspiring story about a transgender teen's struggle to find his own path -- and love his true self.

J had always felt different. He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was: a boy mistakenly born as a girl. Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him; eventually J stopped praying to wake up a "real boy" and started covering up his body, keeping himself invisible -- from his parents, from his friends, from the world. But after being deserted by the best friend he thought would always be by his side, J decides that he's done hiding -- it's time to be who he really is. And this time he is determined not to give up, no matter the cost.
Cris Beam is the author ofTransparent, a Stonewall Honor Book and Lambda Literary Award winner. She has an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University and teaches creative writing at Columbia, New York University, and The New School.I Am Jis her debut novel.
Title:I Am JFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:November 13, 2012Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316053600

ISBN - 13:9780316053600


Rated 5 out of 5 by from MUST Read I was so hesitant to pick up this book. I wanted to read it because it's about an FTM transgendered person, but I was worried it would be awfully portrayed and totally misrepresent what transgendered people go through internally. I was so relieved that the emotional and psychological struggle J went through was so accurately portrayed. Even the outward struggle was well done. Most of the battle is an internal thing, trying to figure out where on the "gender spectrum" you actually fit and how much your physical body matches what that is. But when people don't understand what it feels like, when they don't understand how you can feel wrong in your own body, or mistake it for something else like intersex, it's humiliating and frustrating. It's so hard to talk about without tears when people get upset or angry at you, asking you why you have to change and why they haven't been good enough to keep you from causing these problems. It's easy enough to say 'I've always been this way, I'm not changing at all' to yourself, because to yourself, it makes sense. But how do you explain feeling like a man in a female's body when everyone around you is a woman in a woman's body or a man in a man's body? When they have no idea what it feels like to be physically sick having to look at yourself in the mirror, or wanting to curl up and hide from the world that god awful one week of the month when something so wrong and disgusting is happening and you can't stop it? Despite the fact that this was a teen book, the depth of the characters, particularly J's family, were amazing. I don't know too much about LGBT community, especially in the States, but Carolina and Manny's reactions were so realistic it made me want to cry for J. When you've felt like a son your whole life and the parent who you have looked up to and wanted to be for so long refuses to call you anything but his daughter, it's heart breaking. Parents are supposed to love their children no matter what. Why is a daughter any different from a son? Why does gender affect how proud a parent is? I just wish it wasn't a sad reality that so many LGBT teens have parents and friends who don't (or worse, refuse to) try to understand what we go through. The happy ending for this book is very needed. It can give other LGBT teens hope that maybe things don't have to turn out so bad. They aren't alone and at least someone somewhere will understand and be willing to help them through. It's only a brush across the surface of the issue, but it's a really good way to introduce yourself to the topic and what all transgendered people go through.
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Realistic and Relateable This is quite a realistic depiction of a trans teen dealing with an unsupportive family, trying to navigate dating, trying to live stealth when you're pre-physical transition. I read this book when I was at the same stage in my transition as J and his story really resonated with me. I think whether you're trans or not this is a good book to read in order to better understand what it's like to be a trans teen.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I Was J The only reason I every picked this up was because my name starts with a J but I'm glad I did because it really does touch on an issues that is not common. A girl wanting to be a boy, how does one go through such a thing, well this novel really does explain what someone in that situation goes through. Even if it is fiction it is still relatable because the scenario could be real. Great read, recommend to anyone who is confused in their life right now or anyone who wants to understand a person like this.
Date published: 2012-12-21

Editorial Reviews

"J is an especially vivid character...the story is believable and effective due to insightful situations, realistic language, and convincing dialogue."-School Library Journal