Review: Mick & Michelle by Nina Rossing

Fifteen-year-old Mick Mullins has a great life: his parents are sweet, his sister is tolerable, and his friendships are solid. But as summer descends on Queens, he prepares to turn his carefree existence upside down by disclosing a secret he has kept long enough. It’s time to work up the courage to reveal that he is not a boy, but a girl—and that her name is Michelle. Having always been the perfect, good boy, Michelle is terrified that the complicated truth will disappoint, hurt, or push away the people closest to her. She can’t continue hiding for much longer, though, because her body is turning into that of a man’s, and she is desperate to stop the development—desperate enough to consider self-medicating with hormones.

Most of all, Michelle fears that Grandpa, who is in a nursing home after a near fatal stroke, won’t survive the shock if he finds out that his favorite grandchild, and the only boy, is a girl. If she kills her beloved Grandpa by leaving Mick behind, she isn’t sure embracing her real identity will be worth the loss.

This story started off laying some good groundwork for the main character. Mick is a pretty good teen. Goals of being a police officer and following in parental footsteps lead Mick to hide the most important part of herself. The self named Michelle, who is desperate to get out and be seen.

This was very low angst for a teenage contemporary and I'm pretty impressed by that. My own 15 year old is high strung and full of monster-angst and mischief, so this was a fun break from that.

While most of the story was told using Mick, I'll be using Michelle from here.

Michelle is in a race against time to halt the puberty process before her voice breaks and her genitals grow. She has nightmares about monster balls and a deep gravely voice like her dad.

Being the good kid she is, she doesn't want to cause trouble, nor does she want her parents to kick her out in disgust, so she tests the waters with her older sister who is on her way to college, and makes some decisions that are less than smart, although probably typical of most teenagers who hide things from their parents.

There is a lot of introspection in this story. Sometimes it dragged a bit, but teenagers tend to do this, right? Musing internally about random things without clear focus is something I remember doing often. Unfortunately in some areas, as a story, I felt it was too much.

Overall I found Mick/Michelle loveable. I enjoyed the plot, and how I got there. The rest of the family was fun and loving but pretty normal in terms of interactions.

There were some emotional times, but mostly this was light. A little too wordy in some of the showing of feelings, but nothing eyeroll worthy.

This YA was enjoyable and kept me engaged throughout. No mean feat in my current unorganised and flighty mood.

I would recommend this to people who enjoy YA contemporary literature about a teen pedaling those first steps of showing everyone who she is inside.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion.

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