Alex As Well – Alyssa Brugman

“There are moments in life where something happens and it changes everything forever. You make one decision, and after that you can’t go back. It doesn’t even have to be a big thing.

Five days ago I stopped taking my medication. I think it might have been one of those decisions. How do you know? Maybe if I just start taking them again everything will go back to the way it was? I don’t think so.”

Alex is fifteen and confused. Born intersexed and brought up as a boy, she has finally told her parents that she is a girl and has stopped taking her medication. Her mother is furious and takes it as a personal insult. Her father leaves. She starts making the life changes she has to make; changing schools, changing her look, changing her life. However can things be that simple, can you just up and leave one life one day and move onto another? And how will you explain anything to your new friends or your family?

***

Wow, for such a short book there was a lot of deep topics raised and a lot of things to tackle within Alex As Well and I have gotta say, Alyssa Brugman did well! Saying that however, I am not going to do well explaining my feelings on this book because theres a lot of them zigzagging around my head! 

The story is fantastic, even if it wound me up something rotten! I loved that Alex was strong enough to declare her true feelings but the way she does it might not be the best method, and I loved that other things were explored like mental illness and social interactions. It is not a nice story as Alex’s parents reactions cause all kinds of problems and Alex has to deal with people who might not take kindly to her past, but it was still a brilliant, touching story and it does need to be read.
I got very annoyed with the book and thats because of the way characters did things and how they went about things. It wasn’t nice but the feelings that stirred up in me were the right ones for the story, it was meant to hit the buttons it did and I think it needed to. Alex’s parents reaction to her declaration were the worst, and I hated them for it. They were so selfish and I couldn’t believe someone could react like that to their child, especially as they knew Alex was born with female and male sexual organs. I hated his mothers reaction and I understood more about it towards the end of the book but I can also understand why Alex reacted to her the way she did too. 
I think that Alex can’t go without blame when it comes to the outcome of the story and she did do things a little to rashly, she has a tendency to rush into things head on which was part of the reason why her mother’s reactions were so terrible. However I think the story indicates that the medication she was one did that to her as she seemed a lot more messed up when she was taking the pills and applying the lotion. The issues surrounding that were interesting and got me thinking too and I really hated her mother even more because of that. I also loved the way there were two Alexs and how it because obvious to me that the second one was more prominent at certain times, depending on what was going on with the main Alex, I liked that that gave the reader some kind of insight as to what it could be like for someone who was raised as the wrong sex and how much of a mess that could make your brain!
In the book there are snippets of internet forum pages from Alex’s mother asking for help to deal with Alex and I absolutely adored these bits, yet hated them at the same time. I can see why it was a great idea to put those in and it really showed how different people can have different reactions to this kind of thing. Alex’s school friends helped with that too and I really did feel for her in the fact that she will have to almost tread carefully throughout her entire life in order to judge peoples reactions and that kind of thing. It made me sad that people cant just be accepting, but happy that some people can. 
The book really was heartfelt and it raised a lot of interesting points just in my head, I would love to re-visit Alex to see how things have gone on for her in the future, but saying that the book doesn’t need a sequel. I loved it from the start and although a short, quick read Alex As Well was a fantastic one. 
Alex As Well will be published on May 8th by Curious Fox. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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