Figuring It Out: Two Novels About Ice Skating and Adolescence
In the meantime, she begins to understand how a lot her single mom has sacrificed to make her desires a chance. However Ana isn’t positive what her desires are anymore. Even together with her success on the ice, she has by no means felt at house in her personal pores and skin, and never due to her uncommon half-Chinese language, half-Jewish heritage. She finds herself wincing when individuals name her “Miss” or use her full identify, and she will’t shake the visceral shudder she feels when pressured into performing like a typical lady. Nonetheless, she will’t pinpoint the supply of her anguish.
Whereas her greatest buddy, Tamar, texts continually, wanting to listen to about her life on the new rink, Ana is fascinated by a skater named Hayden who has simply moved to the world from Minnesota and can be beginning group classes. Ana works as a skating assistant and is curious as to why Hayden’s mother has requested an replace to his identify and requested everybody to make use of male pronouns for him. She learns phrases she by no means knew earlier than — gender-neutral, nonbinary — and a whole world opens as much as her, one she desperately needs to discover however doesn’t perceive why. “Can individuals actually ask others to name them no matter they need?” she asks herself, since she doesn’t belief anybody to present her the reply.
After they meet, Hayden begins calling Ana “Alex” and thinks she’s a boy as a result of she’s carrying the unsuitable identify tag by mistake. She doesn’t right him. Ana turns into good associates with Hayden, spending plenty of time with him and his household, who all suppose she’s one of many guys. Each time she has a gap to clear up the misunderstanding she doesn’t take it. She even goes as far as to keep away from getting into a public toilet in entrance of him. Ana needs to make clear her id in her personal thoughts earlier than she defines herself to others.
Tamar feels her draw back and misconstrues her evasion as selfishness. Her mother and her coach are saved at nighttime about her hatred of the brand new program and costume. If she will’t even get her mom to name her Ana as a substitute of Ana-Marie, how can she clarify that she doesn’t know the place she suits by way of gender?
“It’s not my physique that makes me really feel uncomfortable, or the shimmering, glowing costume,” Ana realizes when she appears within the mirror at herself within the “Sleeping Magnificence” gown. “It’s what different individuals will consider me after they see me carrying it: lady, princess, Intermediate girl.”
Setting the file straight is tough to do while you don’t know what your fact is, particularly at 12. Ana has some troublesome encounters when she lastly unburdens herself to Tamar, to her mother, to her coach and, hardest of all, to Hayden. However their responses shock her. She feels at peace with letting go of her secrets and techniques and able to make her personal decisions — at college, at house, on the rink.
Sass has created dynamic, authentic characters who’re plausible and enjoyable to observe. Generally it’s unclear the place he’s going along with his story traces — particularly Hayden’s love of cosplay, which he introduces midway by way of the novel — however the plot comes collectively nimbly towards the tip. You may’t assist rooting for Ana, although we’re left questioning how she is going to transfer ahead. “I haven’t found out if I wish to attempt completely different pronouns but,” she tells her mom, “so you’ll be able to hold utilizing ‘she’ for now.”
Ana decides to proceed skating, and raises the potential for competing sometime within the males’s class, a brand new problem that may very well be a e-book in itself.
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