When they were younger, Joey was the Princess of Baker Street and Eric was the knight, and it was perfectly normal. But as they got older, the kids of Baker Street started to realize there was something different about Joey, something strange about a boy pretending to be a princess, and not all of them liked it.
Middle school is a battlefield, and Eric is doing his best to avoid calling attention to himself and his shaky living situation. Unfortunately, Joey doesn’t get the memo and repeatedly shows up to school with painted nails or wearing leggings and a girly scarf. In order to fit in, Eric has no choice but to cut Joey out of his life, but whenever he sees his friends bullying Joey, Eric is wracked with so much guilt that his stomach hurts. As Eric’s home life and Joey’s school life deteriorate, they both are faced with big decisions with life-changing consequences. But will their choices tear them apart or bring them together again?
I couldn’t put this book down. The narrative was fast-paced and intriguing but still managed to hit on several major issues in both Eric and Joey’s lives. I also liked that the reader was able to see into the home lives of several main characters, including the main bully, showing that everyone is struggling with something.
I loved the tie-ins to the past and being able to see how the characters changed from young, care-free children to middle school students scared of not fitting in. I feel like the realization that popularity isn’t as big of a deal as people make it out to be is one lesson every middle and high school student must face as some point, so I could really relate to Eric’s internal struggle between fitting in and standing up for his friend. I also enjoyed that the book depicted a wide variety of reactions to a transgender person and showed that the people who truly love you will accept you no matter what.
Overall, this was a fantastic read that I’d recommend to anyone looking for a good coming-of-age story, especially anyone curious about the LGBTQ+ community.