July 22nd, 2019

andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick

The Princess of Baker Street

"I found this book compelling from the first age and I could not put it down until I'd finished. It's not an easy light fluffy read, I had tears streaming down my face. I really felt for the characters and for real people I've known who at times have been Eric and his friend. Thankfully all the characters get the correct ending for their stories. Note: I read the book without reading the blurb. I see the first paragraph in the blurb would imply this is primarily the story of a trans girl and readers expecting that may be disappointed. Although some of her story does emerge told through Eric's point of view, the book is not her story. The story is more about how other people in school react to her, firstly as a boy who doesn't conform to gender expectations and later as an out trans girl. I'd say this book is primarily about bullying and surviving school through that adolescent period. It sits well with other books that combine LGBT themes and bullying, such as James Howe's Misfits series. The bullying is severe and there is a suicide attempt. And it is Eric's story of survival both at school and at home, where he suffers neglect. It is a story that is very real, I can imagine there are kids living something similar in every school. Eric's thirteen years of age and navigating his way through life at a tricky age. From his point of view, all other kids around him could potentially ruin his life. He tries to fit in and avoid drawing attention to himself. To fit in and not be bullied. He's an average kid. Part of survival means not associating with the kid who doesn't fit in. I would recommend this book to young readers in general. I'd be happy for my children to read it. However, I would say it is targeted at general readers not specifically trans youth."

When she was a child, Joey Kinkaid, assigned as a boy at birth—wearing Mom’s purple sundress and an imaginary crown—ruled the Baker Street neighborhood with a flair and imagination that kept the other kids captivated. Day after day, she led them on fantastic after-school adventures, but those innocent childhood days are over, and the magic is gone. The princess is alone.

Even Eric Sinclair, the Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel, has turned his back on his former friend, watching in silence as Joey is tormented at school. Eric isn’t proud of it, but their enchanted youth is over, and they’ve been thrust into a dog-eat-dog world where those who conform survive and those who don’t… well, they don’t. Eric has enough to deal with at home, where his mother has abandoned him to live in isolation and poverty.

But Eric can’t stay on the sidelines forever. When Joey finally accepts her female gender and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies readily take the opportunity she hands them, driving Joey to attempt suicide and leaving Eric at a crossroads—one that will influence both their lives in not just the present, but the future.

Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?



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