Most of us, I suspect, have "met somebody" who would be just perfect, except...
I look back on some of my "almost perfects," and I cringe at what a douchebag I was.
Logan has just broken up with Brenda, and he's not optimistic about his prospects. He's a senior in a tiny high school (50 seniors). I went to a similar school: my class was 44, and it was hard to date girls I'd known since age nine.
One day, Sage walks into biology homeroom. Sage is tall, quirky, has a great laugh, and most of all, is from "somewhere else!" Logan and Sage become friends. Logan wants more, but Sage tells him, in essence: "NO! We will never kiss or date or be anything more than friends." This always works on teenaged boys, much the same as telling a Category 5 hurricane to stop blowing works.
Sage has a secret. She's not a secret meth-head, nor was she busted for prostitution. She doesn't have any venereal diseases. Nope. Her penis is perfectly healthy.
Yeah. That's the secret. From a very young age, Sage has gender-identified as female. She's been taking female hormones since age 14, and she has had to fight her dad every step of the way. She was home-schooled from the time she started living as a girl, and only her sister supported her.
Logan did not take it well when he found out.
The novel is told from Logan's point of view, and I admired his honesty. He's torn between loving Sage and not wanting to admit that Sage isn't all woman.
While I was reading "Almost Perfect," I was waiting, nay DREADING, to see which of the two easy melodramatic endings the author would choose: the heartbroken suicide, or the "I love you! I don't care that we both have penises!" sort of holding a jambox outside Sage's house, as "In Your Eyes" blasts Cusakishly on repeat.
Thankfully, author Brian Katcher deftly avoids using either. I found myself pulling for Logan and Sage, but I remember what a moron I was at 18.
The novel's ending wasn't satisfying, but this relationship's ending couldn't be satisfying. In that way, it was pretty much perfect.
I can't imagine being either Logan or Sage. More importantly, perhaps, I can't imagine how difficult it must have been writing a novel dealing with a "boy meets boy who's transitioning to being girl" love story, and keeping it safe for the YA market.
Beautifully written book. Recommended.