Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Ray Stoeve, Author of Between Perfect and Real – On Centering Trans Narratives, Theatre as Discovery, and Finding Your Authentic Self

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.

One of the overarching themes that emerge from our Pride Month at the Pond features is that being queer and queer experience is not a singular and uniform thing. To me, Pride Month not only represents being proud of being queer and queer identity, but it also means taking pride in who you are, in all of its uniqueness and wonder. If I had to think of a book that encapsulates this theme of Pride Month, then the first book that jumps to mind is Between Perfect and Real, a stunning portrait of a teen who comes out as trans and discovers who he is and the person he can be.

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Book Review: Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve – An Affirming and Personal Debut about Coming Out and Coming into the Person You Were Meant to Be

Between Perf

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? 

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When I finished Between Perfect and Real in one sitting, I think I just held this book to my chest and whispered to myself: this book is going to save lives. What a stunning, earnest, and affirming book Between Perfect and Real is. I loved this book whole-heartedly, and it is a fantastic addition to young adult trans literature that speaks to its vulnerable yet powerful personal truth.

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