Title: Rising Out
Author: M. Azmitia
Publisher: West 44
Genre: Poetry, Teens, YA
Release Date: 1st August 2021 (US) 1st December 2021 (UK)
BLURB from Goodreads
Anaya knows great things are expected of her: go to college, find a good man, and make her mother proud. But going to college means leaving behind her best friend, Eri. Eri is an Afrolatina transgender woman living in a closed-minded world and only Anaya knows her secret. The two decide to take a cross-country road trip, where Eri is finally able to open up to who she is, and Anaya finds out that she might be in love with her best friend.
I have read this type of Hi Lo book before and really enjoyed them. Hi Lo stands for High Interest, Lower reading age. I think it is great that there are books to encourage those who perhaps don’t read as much or didn’t get the love of reading whilst younger. These books are also quite short, so you are not committing to reading a really long, involved, meandering read. I think the book cover is attractive and would certainly catch your eye on a book store book shelf. The genres listed for this book are Teen & YA, but I am definitely not in either of those age brackets and still enjoyed reading the book. Hi Lo books are also told in verse, so categorised as poetry, which in my reading years I have dipped in and out of reading but would never say I loved reading a lot of poetry on a regular basis. These books have re-introduced my to the poetry genre and made me feel like reading more of these books too.
In this book the main characters are Anaya and Maurice or Eri as Anaya calls him. The two teens live in a fairly small town with its type of straightlaced thoughts and ways of life. Both Anaya and Maurice know only too well what is expected of them. For Anaya she must first go to college, get good grades, find a man to settle down & have a family with. Most importantly she must make her mother proud, and repay her for all the sacrifices she has made to make sure that Anaya has these choices available to her.
For Maurice life is more complicated as Maurice is trans. Maurice desperately want to be Eri, but his family would not accept this, these see only Maurice who is training to be a mechanic like his father before him. Anaya and Eri plan a road trip, where they can both be themselves, Anaya can forget college for a while and Maurice can be Eri, wear dresses, and make up.
The book is how the teens feel, and reactions of the strangers they meet, how they act when they can truly be who they want to be. It’s kind of a coming-of- age tale about dealing with accepting who you are but taking on board and having to deal with the expectations of parents and people around you.
I found the book a deeply emotive read. Having had a relative who had to come to term with being gay himself then reveal it to our large family and deal with the fall out and at time small mindedness of certain relatives this book made me look back and admire his courage even more so than I already did.