Riley Cavanaugh is under a lot of pressure. Between dealing with an anxiety disorder, all of the press that comes with a congressman father up for reelection, and being a genderfluid teen in the closet, there’s a lot on Riley’s plate. So, following a therapist’s recommendation, Riley starts a blog under a pseudonym in order to vent. But when anonymous threats of exposure crop up, Riley has to decide what to hold on to.
There’s a bit of a story that comes along with why I even picked up this book in the first place. I’d seen it around before, but (as you’ve probably noticed) I tend to stick to fantasy while browsing for new books, so I never really looked at it. When I did, I read the blurb on the inside cover and put it back down. I wasn’t sure I was ready for it. Sometimes, though, books have a funny way of coming to you. My mom and I checked out a Little Free Library not too far away from the bookstore we’d been at later that day and, lo and behold, there was Symptoms of Being Human again. I took it as some kind of sign and brought the book home, where it sat on my bookshelf until last week. This was back in the fall of last year.
Having said all that, it came as no surprise that this book was like a punch in the gut. It was an extremely intense read for me. I could never have fathomed everything Riley went through. Symptoms of Being Human deals with so many heavy topics, from struggling with internet popularity to the horrors that can come from trying to be who you really are. But, more than anything, it shows that you can come out the other side alive. Maybe not perfect or unharmed, but alive.
Yours in love and literature, Page.
Content warnings: assault, violence, transphobia, f**, d***, and t***** slurs, outing, panic attacks, s*icide, attempted s*icide
Stay safe, everyone.
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