Finding Nevo (Nevo Zisin, Black Dog Books)
As a young child, Nevo Zisin knew they were a boy—the only problem was they were born a girl. They were bullied for being a tomboy at their Jewish primary school, and grappled with what it meant to look and act in a feminine way; in high school they identified as a lesbian. But when Nevo started Year 12, they began to wonder if they were transgender. After months of soul-searching, research and specialist appointments, Nevo was ready to begin taking testosterone and fully become the person they’d always known themselves to be. Memoir for a YA readership is becoming increasingly popular, and Finding Nevo is a thought-provoking addition to the subgenre (it’s also featured in one of the Safe Schools booklets). Nevo, now 20, came out as trans in 2013, and even then—fewer than five years ago—the information available to them as they struggled for answers was surprisingly scarce. With its strong themes of self-acceptance and tolerance, this is not just a memoir for gender-questioning teens seeking advice and support. Nevo writes with a clear sense of how their experience relates to broader social norms and perceptions, and although the book’s (important) message feels heavy-handed at times, Finding Nevo is sure to resonate with a broad readership.
Carody Culver is a freelance writer and editor and a bookseller at Avid Reader