"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

28 November 2016

Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity

Clark, Kristin. Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux BYR, 2016.

Jess's father is getting married in Chicago, and at the last minute Jess decides to drive across the country with her best friend Chuck to be at the wedding. The only thing is, Jess's father thinks she's not coming. Also, her father thinks Jess is a boy, not a girl.

This was an unusual story involving a trans* character, in that the book wasn't focused on the trans* character realizing she was trans* or beginning her transition, etc. etc. Jess was already out to the important people in her life - her mom, her dad, her best friend - and she had graduated from high school and was in the process of transitioning so she could begin college as a girl. The story, instead, is about Jess coming to terms with her parents' divorce, her father's remarriage, and the fact that maybe, just maybe, she might have feelings for her best friend.

I am glad for a book that features a trans* character that is about things other than her transition. Also, I have driven the I-80 route from the Bay Area to Chicago three times already, and the author got the details perfect, from the stop in Elko (why does everyone stop there?), to the random tree installation in the middle of Utah to the fake fort in North Platte. I'm also glad the characters aren't perfect. Jess is *a little* self-centered, and Chuck calls her on it, and I'm glad he does, because she starts to realize it by the end of the book, which is a good thing. I'm also glad we didn't get the Disney-esque ending of "I met up with my dad and he totally accepted me and everything is roses now!" because that isn't reality for most people.

Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: teens talk of "hooking up" even though nothing happens in the book; one character smokes; Jess and Chuck are offered (and accept) beer to drink at one point
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

Read-Alikes: Drag Teen (for the road trip), The Porcupine of Truth, Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley for the purposes of review.

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