Some books just shock you senseless, you know? This is one of them. It’s very rare that I pick up a book and read it without knowing anything about it, but that’s exactly what I did with This Is How It Always Is. It was not anything like what I expected, and I before I read the dust jacket, I read the author’s note in the back. I was shocked by something that I thought was a plot spoiler, but then I took a moment to read the jacket and I realized that this book was going to be something that ruffled feathers and made people think long and hard.
To oversimplify, this is a book about a little boy who becomes a little girl. But that is just one tiny part of what this book is about. It’s a book about what we expect of people, of what secrets do to us, what normal is, how family functions together in times of struggle… It’s a multi-layered novel and I am so glad I read it. The author’s real life plays into it, but I won’t reveal how (unless you read a part of the author’s note like I did, but it just made the book all the more compelling).
I didn’t relate to any of the characters, which I think was a good thing as a reader in the sense that I was open to everything that was happening as I read. I honestly don’t want to write much more, because I don’t want to spoil anything. That feels like a cheap way to write a book review, but going in blind was awesome and I want you to have that same experience. I just want you to going into it with your mind open, too. It will be so good for you to think and wrestle through.