Mick & Michelle
by Nina Rossing
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Genres: Young Adult- LGBTQIA - Contemporary
Find it On: GoodReads - Amazon - B&N
My Rating: ★★★★☆
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.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
There's always a hard balance between making a book about a trans teenager "happy" while also making it "real," and I think Nina Rossing hit this balance perfectly!
Mick & Michelle is about a teenager, Mick, who is a girl with a boy's body. She has an older sister whom she envies and two loving parents that are tough-as-nails NYPD cops. She has friends, but none that she's told, and she's on the cusp of sixteen when irreversible changes are about to happen to her boy-body.
With something of a ticking clock in her head, the book follows the time where she starts coming out to those around her. Michelle is an interesting character in that she experiences the physical and emotional dysphoria of being in the wrong body, but she's a very practical thinker, and she considers things like her grandfather's health and her family's money situation before even thinking about how or what she wants to move forward with in her transition. Now when I say "practical," I don't necessarily mean "correct" thinking. Though her narration is very level-headed, I think it's absolutely heartbreaking how much she puts others' comfort above her own. Without the author ever saying it outright, I think that's the real tragedy of this book.
But Rossing did promise happy, didn't she? This book felt very real to me because Michelle got such a broad range of reactions from people when she comes out. Some give unconditional support, some don't understand but are willing to try, and some bursts of support from corners she had never expected. On the flip side, some people entirely make it about them, which, to Michelle, is almost worse than total rejection.
Michelle was a great voice in this scene of literature. Her family and friends were dynamic characters and I loved the story that Rossing created. Well done!