“What makes you think a girl like me and a boy like you can figure out what nobody else in history has ever really figured out?” “Because only a boy like me and a girl like you could ever figure this out.”
By: B.T. Gottfred
Review by: Ivy
Zee is in love with her best friend, Cam. Who’s a boy, in case you were asking. Although her looks may scream otherwise, Zee is pretty sure she’s not a lesbian.
Art’s best friend, Bryan, is in love with him. Art isn’t gay, but neither Bryan nor anyone else in the world believes him.
As both Zee and Art’s families and friendships begin to fall apart, they find solace in each other. Art claims it’s love at first sight, and while Zee’s a bit more tentative, she can’t argue with the feeling she gets when she’s around the kid. Is Zee just attracted to Art because he acts like a girl, and is Art just attracted to Zee because she looks like a boy? Or are love and sex and gender a higher power that should go unlabeled?
The Handsome Girl & Her Beautiful Boy is a book that’s like a cult movie of YA. The writing style and the general concept is simple and different. The characters are outrageously unique and don’t follow any trope I’ve ever seen before. The relationship between Zee and Art is so complex, and every aspect of it is explored. This book was weird, but a good weird.
Breaking stereotypes is always awesome, and The Handsome Girl did that in a very healthy way. How we act and how we look is an important part of how we express ourselves, but doesn’t always affect how we live and love. The book spreads this message while not dismissing queer culture entirely. Yes, many queer people exist in a way that makes it easier to label them just by their looks, but that doesn’t mean everyone who looks like that belongs to that group, or everyone who doesn’t look like that doesn’t belong. After all, wearing a pink shirt doesn’t make you female, and casually wearing a Star Trek shirt doesn’t mean you’re on the crew of The Enterprise.
Overall, this is a Good book with a Good message and a Good romance. I went in thinking, oh no, this book is going to be homophobic/transphobic/generally bad, and I was happily surprised to see that it was not. The Handsome Girl & Her Beautiful Boy is a great read for fans of I’ll Give You the Sun, and a Good read for anyone. Rating: Four/Five
- “Can we hug? Not because we’re sad or in love but because we’re human.”
- “You can do whatever the heck you want to do. You can love whoever you want to love. You can be whoever you want to be, Anyone who says you can’t, no matter what religion or bullshit they are hiding behind, are only telling you that you can’t be you because they’re terrified of the freedom to be who they want to be.”
- “The universe wants you to find partnership (purpose/happiness/pleasure/love/peace) with whoever (boy/girl/both/many/yourself) you want in whatever way (emotionally/sexually/intellectually/spiritually) you want.”