A review by alyssamayreads
Self-Made Boys by Anna-Marie McLemore

emotional lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


“Gatsby and I may have been nothing to men like Tom Buchanan, but men like that did not know that we were as divine as the heavens. We were boys who had created ourselves. We had formed our own bodies, our own lives, from the ribs of the girls we were once assumed to be.” 

Did you feel like Nick was in love with Jay when you were forced to read The Great Gatsby in high school? If so, (and even if you didn’t), Anna-Marie McLemore’s Great Gatsby retelling, Self-Made Boys, is a must read. The book follows trans boy Nicolás Caraveo as he ventures to New York City to earn money to send back to his family. Along the way he finds that his cousin Daisy has turned her back on their heritage and is now passing as white, and his charming yet mysterious neighbor Jay Gatsby is a trans boy just like him. The writing is stunning, with descriptions of the clothing and gardens as extravagant as one of Gatsby’s parties. McLemore artfully balances the reality of racism, misogyny and transphobia of the 1920’s with the magic and joy that is being trans and queer. The majority queer cast of characters opens a refreshing perspective on a classic story. I’ve read over 100 LGBTQ books this year, and this ranks in the top 10! It made my queer little heart sing. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 

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