Helen

Ana on the Edge by A. J. Sass

LGBTQ books often have courageous, assured protagonists. To use the wonderful metaphor I first read at diversebooks.org, these protagonists’ stories open a window – or reflect a mirror - into what living their lives is like. They have had an awareness of their selfhood from an early age and the narrative shares a slice of time from their perspective.

Ana On the Edge is the first book I’ve read where the protagonist is unsure of their perspective. The narrative shares a slice of time in Ana-Marie’s life when “she” is becoming uncomfortable with fundamental parts of who she is – like the pronoun “she”. Ana-Marie has been a talented figure skater for many years and a champion for a few. At a time when her skating career should be taking off, certain details are causing her anxiety, distraction and failure. Her new coach wants her to wear a skirt (something she hasn’t done in years), her name feels foreign, and when a new friend – a boy – mistakes Ana-Marie for boy, it feels freeing. Trying on the pronoun “he” feels nice.

Ana-Marie’s story doesn’t wrap up all lose ends, her new selfhood set. Instead, the story is left open ended. Ana-Marie wants to be called Ana, and her courage comes in the form of sharing her anxiety and uncertainty with the people who love her. This is a fantastic book both for those of us who experience it as a window, and for those who will see a mirror.

Middle Grade Fiction pr5716994

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