Beautiful Music for Ugly Children uses rock and pop music to show how music can provide us with love, friendship and transformation. It will appeal to readers who enjoyed Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Fat Kid Rules the World among other outstanding YA books that use music to deliver part of their message. Gabe, our hero, possesses a wry humor and quiet courage which complements his confusion. His friendships, including his turbulent and supportive relationship with his best friend Paige, and his mentor-protege relationship with John, are well drawn, and it is always refreshing to see positive teen-adult relationships in YA.
Now that Gabe is graduating from high school and can leave his small city life behind, he is ready to make the transition from female Liz to male Gabe. He has come out to his family, which didn't go well, but his best friend Paige, who he fantasizes about as more than a friend, has remained a supportive accomplice during his transition. Gabe has also come out to his mentor John, a career DJ who introduced Gabe to a wide range of music and who has helped Gabe's get his first gig as a DJ. Gabe's show on community radio, Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, has also helped Gabe get his first job and perform in a contest to land a guest DJ spot and further his career. The show has also brought Gabe fans, including dateable girls, as well as violence and harassment. Gabe is determined to make his transition, to come out not only to family and friends, but also to enter the adult world as a male and to leave behind a gender that never fit, and his struggle with consequences of his choice is believable and moving. This is a great book that deals with complex, and sometimes confusing, gender issues with a light touch and it will also entertain readers who love music in their books.
The lives and loves of a teenage transboy music geek
Gabe has always identified as a boy, but he was born with a girl's body. With his new public access radio show gaining in popularity, Gabe struggles with romance, friendships, and parents-all while trying to come out as transgendered. An audition for a station in Minneapolis looks like his ticket to a better life in the big city. But his entire future is threatened when several violent guys find out Gabe the popular DJ is also Elizabeth from school.