What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

What We Left Behind

Robin Talley

Toni has everything: good looks, brains, a great social life ... and Gretchen. But life at Harvard is much more complex than in high school. She finds herself questioning her own developing sexuality and even starts to wonder if Gretchen really is the girl for her. This young adult novel may seem at first glance to be a light hearted look at gender stereotyping but it asks some very important questions. I felt an immediate empathy with both Toni and Gretchen.

Extract

'Great tattoo.'
'Thanks.'
'Queer history buff?'
I blink in surprise. On my eighteenth birthday I got a blue star tattooed on my wrist. Back in the thirties and forties, blue stars were one of those secret signals closeted people used to aid their gaydar. I'd thought that was cool. I'd also wanted to piss off my mother by getting a tattoo. No one has ever known its back story until I explained it, though.
'Sort of, yeah,' I say.
Derek nods. 'Are you trans?'
I blink again. No one's ever come straight out and asked me before.
No one I've met online. No one in the LGBT youth center where I volunteered in DC. None of my high school friends.
Not even Gretchen ...
What am I supposed to say though? That I'm definitely somewhere on the transgender spectrum, and that even though I've spent hours upon hours upon hours reading websites and thinking about every possible angle of this stuff, I still haven't found a label that seems exactly right for me?

Parallels
  • Jeanette Winterson by Oranges are Not the Only Fruit
  • Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

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