Title: Mick & Michelle
Author: Nina Rossing
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Characters: Mick, Ash, Gabriel
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Transgender
Life is good for fifteen-year-old Mick Mullins—at least on the surface. He’s the perfect son to his supportive parents and plans to follow in their footsteps and become a police officer. He has plenty of friends in the neighborhood and even gets along with his sister. But buried beneath the golden boy is a girl named Michelle, and she desperately wants to step into the light. Mick knows revealing she is really Michelle might ruin some of the most important relationships in her life, but she must take that chance, and she can’t wait much longer. Her body is developing into a man’s, and she can’t bear to let that happen—even though she worries about the repercussions of her decision.
But every choice comes with risks as well as rewards. Mick is Grandpa’s favorite—and the only male grandchild. Will her ailing Grandpa be able to handle learning about Michelle? Michelle is forced to make an impossible choice: her beloved Grandpa’s life or the one she knows she must live.
Mick has dreams of following in his parents’ footsteps and becoming a cop, but he fears that telling them who he really is might put that dream in jeopardy. Mick is a good student, a dependable child, and a loving sibling. Mick is also transgender and hiding this fact from her family. And the reader is allowed to take the journey with her as she comes out to her sister, her parents, and her friends in order to be who she really is – Michelle.
The Mullins family is a treat to get to know. Both Dad and Ma are cops, and Ash is the older sister who is about to leave for college. They each have rich personalities and complex histories, but in the end, their love for one another is what shines through most of all. Mick coming out as Michelle to Ash, how she approaches her friends, the fear she has telling her ailing Grandpa, and the elements that contributed to her parents finding out…everything was pitch perfect and engaging.
Little elements sprinkled throughout the story made it feel more real. Yes, Mick coming out as Michelle was the main thrust of the plot, but it wasn’t the only plot. There’s the separation anxiety Dad is feeling as his daughter is heading out to college. We’ve got the added element of how Ash and Mick came to be in the first place, through fertility treatment. There’s the ever-lasting love between Dad and Ma, but also the former love Tommy coming back into the picture to seek help dealing with his own son, Gabriel. And there’s the feeling of adoration Mick has for Gabriel as they work through the summer together. All of this is contributing to the way their lives unfold over the short months of summer, and before it’s over none of them will be the same.
Every single character in this, every bit of writing, is superb. I am hard to please when it comes to most books and I found that I could not put this one down even when my schedule demanded me to turn to other tasks. Rossing has crafted a story where you are rooting for a happy outcome, but aware that life doesn’t always work out exactly as you intend. People you think are your closest allies might not understand the real you, while others who you thought you weren’t close to becoming a supportive force throughout your toughest times. All those elements came together to provide an absolutely fantastic book, and I look forward to reading future works by this author.
Reviewed By: Kimberly
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