I Am J by Cris Beam

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J had always felt different. He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was: a boy mistakenly born as a girl. Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him; eventually J stopped praying to wake up a "real boy" and started covering up his body, keeping himself invisible -- from his parents, from his friends, from the world. But after being deserted by the best friend he thought would always be by his side, J decides that he's done hiding -- it's time to be who he really is. And this time he is determined not to give up, no matter the cost.

Cris Beam delivers a powerful and inspiring story of self-discovery as readers share in J's struggle to find his own path and to love his true self.

About Cris Beam

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Cris Beam is the author of Transparent, a Stonewall Honor Book and Lambda Literary Award winner. She has an MFA in writing from Columbia University and teaches creative writing at Columbia, New York University, and The New School. I Am J is her debut novel. While living in LA, Cris volunteered at Eagles, a high school for gay and transgender kids. During the 2.5 years Cris taught there, she became deeply involved with a complex but marginalized tribe of transgender teens who had nowhere to go but the streets, one of whom became her foster daughter.
Published March 1, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 344 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Gay & Lesbian. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Responses to J's transition vary from affirming (his trans poet classmate Chanelle's support) to heartbreaking (his parents' resistance) to maddening (Melissa's attempt to make art with J as her “muse”).

Feb 01 2011 | Read Full Review of I Am J


There are two or three good novels about transgender teens, and one of them is I Am J.

Aug 03 2011 | Read Full Review of I Am J

Lambda Literary

That vision eventually became the character of J in Beam’s newest novel, published by Little, Brown in May. In J’s earliest memory, he is two years old, running through a sprinkler with no shirt on.

May 09 2011 | Read Full Review of I Am J

The Yalsa Hub

Oh yeah, on top of all this, J was born Jeni, and while most people assume he is a lesbian, J knows he is man.

May 28 2011 | Read Full Review of I Am J

Teen Voices

In Cris Beam's I Am J, we meet Jennifer Silver, aka J.

Jun 18 2012 | Read Full Review of I Am J

Pretty Queer

Last week, I reviewed a totally rad non-fiction book geared towards trans teens, but both trans teen novels I’ve reviewed so far were pretty disappointing.

Oct 30 2011 | Read Full Review of I Am J

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