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Adults who Read YA: Symptoms of Being Human

  • Hooray for Books! 1555 King Street Alexandria, VA, 22314 United States (map)
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Join us the fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. to explore the dynamic storytelling of young adult fiction. Books purchased for our book clubs are always 20% off. Please email Ellen Klein for more information and to join.

This month, we are reading Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, a powerful and uplifting debut novel about a snarky but anxiety-filled, gender fluid teen, who starts a blog on gender identity that goes viral . . . and changes everything.


The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in überconservative Orange County, the pressure-media and otherwise-is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. And Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

Earlier Event: March 23
Nat Geo Kids Explorer Academy Party
Later Event: April 1
Judy Moody Day!