Symptoms of Being Human, written by Jeff Garvin, is a fantastic novel that deserves to be recognized. The novel follows the life of Riley Cavanaugh, who is gender-fluid and the child of a politician in a conservative town, which creates dissenion in public issues. In addition, Riley is attending a new school where not everyone is accepting of her gender identity. Riley continually faces controversy with being gender-fluid and a therapist recommends that it would be beneficial to start an anonymous blog. Through the blog, Riley gains the capability to express emotions and explain to readers not only what it means to be gender-fluid, but what it means to Riley. Almost instantaneously, Riley’s blog goes viral with thousands of readers who all depend on the advice and stories that she writes. Riley continues to publish different anecdotes, but one night, there is a mysterious comment indicating that someone has figured out Riley’s identity. Riley must decide whether she should continue the blog and help save the lives of many other teens who are in similar situations and risk being revealed, or walk away from the blog and its loyal readers. Throughout the novel, the development of Riley’s is character riveting. It is easy to become attached to Riley and her blog. While it is a relatively quick and easy read, Symptoms of Being Humans is worthwhile as it opens the door to new ideas on gender and strategies to help teenagers manage their problems regarding gender and all other aspects of life.
by Lena Glickman