They say that whoever you are it’s okay, you were born that way. Those words don’t comfort Emily, because she was born Christopher and her insides know that her outsides are all wrong.
They say that it gets better, be who you are and it’ll be fine. For Emily, telling her parents who she really is means a therapist who insists Christopher is normal and Emily is sick. Telling her girlfriend means lectures about how God doesn’t make that kind of mistake.
Emily desperately wants high school in her small Minnesota town to get better. She wants to be the woman she knows is inside, but it’s not until a substitute therapist and a girl named Natalie come into her life that she believes she has a chance of actually Being Emily.
A story for anyone who has ever felt that the inside and outside don’t match and no one else will understand...
“Powerful and empowering, with an optimistic message that we all need more of in our lives. I'm thrilled to see this book is out in the world.”
—Kate Bornstein, author of Gender Outlaw and A Queer and Pleasant Danger
GCLS Goldie Awards
Being Emily —
Moonbeam Children's Awards
Being Emily —
Young Adult - Mature Issues.
Lambda Literary Awards
Being Emily — Finalist!
Young Adult Services Library Association
Being Emily 2013 Collection Recommendation
The Magpie Librarian
Speaking as a teen librarian, Miss Ingrid writes, "Gold, however, is incredibly adept at making the reader understand what life is like for Emily,who is navigating the world in a body that just doesn’t feel like it’s hers. She’s got some allies, like her girlfriend, but has so many more obstacles preventing her from being comfortable, let alone happy and fulfilled."
Lambda Literary Review
Engrossed...Enchanted... Rachel Gold has crafted an extraordinarily poignant novel in Being Emily... The unique mechanism of depicting Emily’s speech as computer code is striking, defining the character distinctively. The careful and deliberate spacing of Claire’s chapters are extraordinary; resulting is a pacing of action that is gripping. There is definitely gold to be found in this well-constructed novel.
It's rare to read a novel that's involving, tender, thought-provoking and informative... What's impressive is Gold's delicacy in handling the physicality of Emily's story. She smoothly navigates the more intimate parts of Emily's transformation. And the author can bring you to tears as you read about Emily's struggle with gender identity.
My Life in Neon
...Rather than being a rehashing of tired tropes with no resemblance to actual experience, Emily’s story is instead too familiar to the journey so many of us embark upon to make for a comfortable read... Gold’s storytelling dances deftly along my rawest nerves, which tells me she took the time to really learn more than just the superficial fluff that often characterizes stories about trans people. If it were comfortable to read a story so eerily similar to my own, then I don’t think I could have enjoyed it as much as I did.
The back of the book lists Being Emily as “Fiction: LGBT/Young Adult.” I agree that this is a fantastic YA novel – for the Emilys of the world and for the Claires of the world. But, more than that, it’s a book for parents. It’s a book for teachers. It’s a book for peers. It’s a tool for teaching or it’s a tool for self discovery.