And it set the tone for the next decade of Riley's life: a series of carefully calculated decisions that landed a vibe that read as neither masculine/male nor feminine/female dominated a life lived in shades of grey until those shades of grey threatened to drown out everything else. Just before school starts - the third year of high school - Riley hits a wall and feels like the only way to cope is to chase a bottle of Xanax with a glass of bourbon. It's the beginning of a working relationship with Dr. Ann, who will coach Riley through the process of self-acceptance. Her first bit of advice? Start an anonymous blog.

The combination of blog and a new school set the tone for Riley's first month out of rehab, and that's what we get to follow.

In Symptoms of Being Human, Garvin reminds us all that we're more than the pronouns assigned to us. We're whole people who cannot be slotted into convenient boxes and expected to conform without question. Riley is written entirely without pronouns. Riley's parents, even before they learn about the identity their child struggles with, refer to Riley by name, and through looks. Even among new friends, pronouns are avoided. And along the way, Riley begins to understand how pervasive binary expectations are, even for those who occupy the spaces between, and how very much love the people who really know a person can hold, even while making mistakes.

I don't often do this, but I'm recommending this one. Read it to understand. Read it to be uncomfortable. Read it to observe how you react when faced with someone you can't put into one of the socially acceptable boxes. Or read it to realize you're not alone. The why doesn't matter. Just read it.