Title: If We Shadows
Author: D.E. Atwood
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 240 pages
Rating: B List
Blurb: A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Born female, all Jordan wants is to slip under the radar and live the last year of high school as a boy. His parents and siblings support him, but he’d rather be recognized for his acting and musical talents than his gender issues.
When Shakespeare’s Puck gives him three magical potions—true sight, true seeming, and true love—Jordan discovers being true to himself isn’t as simple as he thought.
Jordan must navigate the confusion of first love, a controversial role in the fall musical, and his transgender identity, while fairy magic creates a net of complications over everything he does. In order to unweave the spells laid over his friends—his supportive older brother, James, his playwright friend, Pepper, and Maria, another transgender student—Jordan needs to understand exactly how far he’ll go to reach his goals of finding true love, true sight, and true seeming.
Review: If We Shadows is an excellent read for YA. It’s so good to see another writer who gives perspective to teenagers on trans issues. Issues relating to the pressures of school, peers, sibling and parental reactions. This story covers early transition support for teenagers from female to male and vise versa.The teen characters are realistic with their humour, attitude, thoughts and concerns. The bravery in all they do to be themselves whilst knowing and understanding the dangers this could bring on them.
Jordan presents himself as any other teenage boy liking baseball, acting and singing. Jordan has a healthy supportive relationship with his parents and his siblings. His older brother, James, accepts Jordan’s transition and they hang-out as best buddies behaving brotherly. James does have his concerns and feels uneasy at what others will think or do when they find out that Jordan was born female. Their parents are apprehensive too and do all they can to protect Jordan including prohibiting him from dating.
Jordon not only has his brother as a best friend but also Maria, who is a male to female trans teen. Maria’s support network is not as accommodating as Jordan’s, although they see the same therapist, who is the only real help Maria gets. Jordan worries and advises Maria where he can and tries to be there for her as any good buddy would. Maria knows that Jordan is the one person in her life that she can count on. So when she is assaulted by a boyfriend, Jordan goes to her rescue along with his brother, James, in spite of his fears.
Jordan wants nothing more than to be accepted and have a life like anyone else. Against his parents wishes, Jordan can’t stop himself falling in love with Pepper. Jordan meets Pepper whilst preparing for an audition of a remix of Shakespeare’s work by Pepper herself. Everything about her monopolises Jordan’s heart and so the inevitable begins.
Although there are parts of this book that disappear into some fantasy elements, which appear to follow along with some of the aspects of the play, this could leave some readers with a sense of mismatch. Overall, an enjoyable read.
Reviewed by Teddy