Review of "Double Exposure" by Bridget Birdsall
I’ve been hard to impress lately. Maybe that’s because I’ve been reading books that have been a little too formulaic—albeit from best-selling authors with great skill at weaving a tale. The standout exception this past month has been Bridget Birdsall’s YA novel, Double Exposure.
I really, really loved this book. At the heart of the story is something that is not talked about much (if at all). The main character Alyx was born intersexed, which means that she does not have the sexual anatomy/reproductive organs that fit the typical definition of male or female. In fact, Alyx was raised as a male until she makes it clear to her family that she is truly a girl on the inside.
We are rooting for Alyx from the beginning as she begins her new life with a new identity in a new city (Milwaukee) and joins the girls’ basketball team. All the typical teen troubles are heightened by Alyx’s struggle to be herself. When her secret is exposed, Alyx’s plan to fit into her new life without being labeled a freak is jeopardized right along with her team’s chances at the state tournament.
Bridget Birdsall does an excellent job presenting the issue of gender identity through a wonderfully told story. And for basketball fans—the game play-by-play is darn awesome! Love seeing a story that includes girls’ sports. The characters in this novel are very real: the bitchy teammate, the nice teammates, the frazzled and somewhat hovering mom, the crazy uncle, and the cute guy next door. Great read!
I should note that I know the author as our paths have crossed when she was faculty at UW-Madison Continuing Studies and at Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators events where we are both members. You can learn more about Bridget and opportunities to hear her speak on her website at www.BridgetBirdsall.com. She speaks in the Madison area frequently, and I can tell you that it is worth your time to go to one of her events!