Between Perfect and Real
A moving YA debut about a trans boy finding his voice—and himself
Dean Foster knows he’s a trans guy. He’s watched enough YouTube videos and done enough questioning to be sure. But everyone at his high school thinks he’s a lesbian—including his girlfriend Zoe, and his theater director, who just cast him as a “nontraditional” Romeo. He wonders if maybe it would be easier to wait until college to come out. But as he plays Romeo every day in rehearsals, Dean realizes he wants everyone to see him as he really is now––not just on the stage, but everywhere in his life. Dean knows what he needs to do. Can playing a role help Dean be his true self?
Ray Stoeve is the author of the young adult novel Between Perfect and Real, which was a 2021 Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. They also contributed to the young adult anthology Take The Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance. They received a 2016-2017 Made at Hugo House Fellowship and created the YA/MG Trans and Nonbinary Voices Masterlist, a database that tracks all books in those age categories written by trans authors about trans characters. When they’re not writing, they can be found gardening, making art in other mediums, or hiking their beloved Pacific Northwest.
“Between Perfect and Real manages to be both powerful and feel like a warm hug, written with love for every trans and nonbinary young reader, offering guidance on their paths. Informative and hopeful, I know that this book will change and save lives. A beautiful debut!”
Kacen Callender, National Book Award winner
“Thoughtful, honest, and full of hope. Ray Stoeve’s Between Perfect and Real is bursting at the seams with so many of my favorite things: friendship, community, and theatre.”
Amy Spalding, author of We Used to Be Friends
"Dramatic, hilarious, and heartbreaking. I fell for these characters so hard."
Mason Deaver, bestselling author of I Wish You All the Best
“An astounding debut overflowing with heart. Stoeve beautifully captures the world of high school theater as much as they also give teens a story about the pitfalls of holding others to impossible, unfair standards. I spent the whole book rooting for Dean and his incredible group of friends. This is exactly the kind of book I needed long, long ago.”
Mark Oshiro, author of Anger is a Gift and Each of Us a Desert
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