If We Shadows by @DEAtwoodWrites #LGBT #Book #Review #Transgender

Beth reviews If We Shadows by D.E. Atwood (Published on March 5, 2014 by Harmony Ink Press, 233 pages.)

This book was provided by the publisher free of charge, in exchange for an honest review.

Why I Read It:

When I saw it won three Rainbow Awards in 2014 (Best Transgender Debut, Best Transgender Fiction, and Best Transgender Book), I knew this would be a great choice for my first read on the subject of Transgender issues.


Born female, all Jordan wants is to slip under the radar and live the last year of high school as a boy. His parents and siblings support him, but he’d rather be recognized for his acting and musical talents than his gender issues. 

When Shakespeare’s Puck gives him three magical potions—true sight, true seeming, and true love—Jordan discovers being true to himself isn’t as simple as he thought. 

Jordan must navigate the confusion of first love, a controversial role in the fall musical, and his transgender identity, while fairy magic creates a net of complications over everything he does. In order to unweave the spells laid over his friends—his supportive older brother, James, his playwright friend, Pepper, and Maria, another transgender student—Jordan needs to understand exactly how far he’ll go to reach his goals of finding true love, true sight, and true seeming.

If We Shadows

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed the book.  I didn’t know what to expect when I began reading, this being my first time reading a book focused on the subject of a transgendered youth. I am so glad I read it though. It is a Young Adult story full of love and heart and courage, as the author takes us on a slightly mystical journey through a challenging senior year of high school for Jordan, the main character.  The story is conveyed via multiple perspectives, including Jordan’s written thoughts in his journal for his doctor, as well as experiences through his eyes and through his friends, classmates and his brother, James.

I liked how the format of the story gave a well-rounded and understandable perspective on what was going on in Jordan’s life.   Having no experience with transgender issues, I cannot profess to know whether this book nails the subject correctly, but it certainly is conveyed in an empathetic, respectful and caring manner all the way.   I really felt for Jordan as well his family and friends. There were highs and lows and we got to experience them all with Jordan as he turned 17 and navigated his senior year of high school.

The introduction of Puck (from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and his three mysterious magical potions lend a slight fantasy air to the book which at first confused me. However, the author makes it work, as this concept doesn’t dominate the storyline, but rather lends food for thought about how one can seem to be someone different than they are, and whether or not you view someone through your own eyes as they really are, or as you wish them to be in your heart (true sight, true seeming or true love, per Shakespeare).  It really made me stop and think about how I view people in general, with an added twist when layering in the transgender subject.

Overall, this is a first-rate YA read and I would recommend it if you are looking for a sensitive and compassionate story featuring a transgendered youth.  This is an excellent debut novel for the author, and I look forward to reading more from DE Atwood.

Pot Of Gold 9


Buy Links:
Dreamspinner Press    Amazon



When D.E. Atwood was in second grade, she finally grew tall enough to see the shelf above the mysteries in the bookmobile. She discovered a rich landscape of alternate worlds, magic, and space and has never looked back from the genres of fantasy and science fiction.

When she was twelve, she declared that she was going to be a writer, and share the stories that she saw happening all around her. She wanted to create characters that others would care about, and that would touch their lives, like the books that she read had touched her own life.

Today she has combined her interests, creating genre stories about the people who live next door, bringing magic into the world around us. Her first novel, If We Shadows, was released by Harmony Ink Press in spring of 2014 and is a Rainbow Awards winner for Best Transgender Debut, Best Transgender Fiction, and Best Transgender Book.

When not writing, D.E. Atwood is a mother (to two children, a cat, a dog), a wife, a reader, a knitter, a systems administrator, a black belt in tae kwon do, and a music aficionado. Sleep, she claims, is optional.

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