A review by canonicallychaotic
Between Perfect and Real, by Ray Stoeve

4.0

thank you to netgalley and abrams kids for a free e-arc of between perfect and real in exchange for an honest review.

this book is going to mean a lot to someone one day.

i feel like i could say that for many (every) lgbtq+ book i read. but it’s worth saying. this book is going to mean a lot to someone one day, and i’m so glad it exists.

between perfect and real introduces us to dean who just wants to be himself as he is: a trans guy. but he is still trying to figure out how to do that, and what it means for him. it’s a story about coming into who you are, while coming out to others. about how dean had to perform every day of his life, until he is cast as romeo in the school play and for the first time feels like he isn’t acting.

this book had me from the first page, the first lines of the first chapter. and knowing that a kid out there one day can pick this up and see their thoughts on page and know that they’re not alone? that what they’re thinking matters? that’s so important. and it’s important that cis people (such as myself) are able to read these words and empathize as well.

a quick list of other things i enjoyed about this book: a cast diverse in sexuality and race! teenage characters that feel like teenagers! senior year stresses that i don’t miss at all! high school theatre that i miss everyday! theatre kids playing zip zap zop which is so integral to every theatre class!

other notes: this is stoeve’s ya debut, and it does at times come across as a debut novel in the witting. however, i look forward to stoeve’s growth and expect great work from them in the future!