Book Review: A Million Quiet Revolutions by Robin Gow

Title: A Million Quiet Revolutions

Author: Robin Gow

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction/Books in Verse

Number of Pages: 336

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes

Aaron and Oliver are transgender boys who have been in love with each other since before they transitioned. They’ve renamed themselves after two Revolutionary War soldiers who were thought to be trans men, and Oliver is a history buff fascinated by finding out more about queer people in different time periods who’ve been forgotten in favor of figures who were white, straight, cis, etc.

When Aaron’s brother gets involved in a scandal involving sexual abuse in his family’s church and they have to move away, Aaron and Oliver try to keep in touch with each other by writing letters. With so much changing for both of them though, it becomes increasingly uncertain whether their relationship will survive.

Aaron’s trying to get into art school while getting involved with his new school’s LGBTQIA+ group, and his life in particular is expanding. As he and Oliver become more distant, they decide to meet at a historical reenactment and try to rekindle things. Although this book can be preachy at times (a problem I have with a lot of recent YA,) I liked how it wasn’t your typical transgender-themed story.

For one thing it was about two trans boys who are in love with each other, which I’ve never seen before. Their relationship was sweet and very positive, even though it definitely had it’s ups and downs (just like any relationship.) You got a strong sense of the love they had for each other and their desire to stay close even though things were changing.

They also aren’t sure if they want gender reassignment surgery, which is pretty unusual for trans characters in young adult literature. They were doing things slowly and exploring the ins and outs of their gender identities. This more nuanced presentation made me think about my own gender identity and how confusing feelings of gender dysphoria can be when people tell you how you should be experiencing them.

I thought the plotline with the abuse by the clergy in Aaron’s church was pretty underdeveloped and some elements were a little cringe (sex in a graveyard?) but A Million Quiet Revolutions was still a better-than-average YA book-in-verse that accurately captures the intensity and transient nature of growing up.

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