Seventeen-year-old Callie Canter knows all about screwing up—and being screwed over. After her so-called boyfriend publicly humiliated her senior year, taking a fifth year of high school at Beaufort Hills Academy is her second chance to leave behind a painful past. But her need for social acceptance follows, and going along with the in-crowd is the difference between survival and becoming a target. Staying off the radar is top priority. So, falling for an outsider is the last thing on Callie’s “to-do” list. Too bad her heart didn’t get the memo.
With his strict, religious upbringing and former identity far away in Florida, Jayden Morrissey can finally be true to himself at Beaufort Hills Academy. But life as a trans man means keeping secrets, and keeping secrets means not getting too close to anyone. If he can just get through his fifth year unnoticed, maybe a future living as the person he was born to be is possible. Yet love is love, and when you fall hard enough, intentions crumble, plans detour, and secrets are revealed.
The first thing I need to say is that All Boy was not an easy book to read. Sometimes, those are the best books though. That’s one of the reasons why my reading is so eclectic. I love learning about people from all walks of life and “seeing” and “feeling” things from a totally different perspective.
My heart broke for both of these kids, but mostly for Jayden. To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Callie for a while in All Boy. Given what she went through in her previous school I really expected her to be a little bit more sympathetic. She still made some of the same bad decisions that she made in high school, which is kind of a normal teenage thing, but again, I still felt like she should have known better. She eventually came around, but it was almost too late.
The biggest difference between Callie and Jayden was the fact that Callie had lots of support and Jayden had no one. Jayden was getting there. He knew that keeping his biggest secret was probably going to back fire and getting closer to people that he was trying to keep it from was going to end up hurting someone, he just had no idea exactly how bad it could be…
There were some great supporting characters in All Boy and there were some characters who I really didn’t like. Jayden did have a couple of family members he could rely on, but the others weren’t just unsupportive, they were borderline cruel. This is definitely a book that makes you feel to the point that I wanted to jump in and protect Jayden from the world he felt trapped in. I wasn’t as drawn into All Boy as I was with The Princess of Baker Street, but I can tell you that as far as both stories go, this author seems to be doing an amazing job of enlightening readers to at least some of the struggles kids who just want to be true to themselves have to go through.