The V Girl by Mya Robarts is a coming-of-age memoir that tells the story of Lily, who was assigned male at birth and identifies as agender/nonbinary. The book follows their journey from high school to college life. This narrative is important because it sheds light on gender identity and sexual orientation through the eyes of someone who doesn’t identify with either binary option (male or female) but rather somewhere in between them.
In the world of young adult literature, the V Girl is a refreshing departure from traditional coming-of-age stories. The novel tells the story of an awkward girl named Lily who has just arrived at college and falls in love with her eccentric roommate’s lifestyle and personality.
Lily’s story is told in the first person, and she remains an honest narrator, even when describing her own personal faults. She questions social norms by engaging with different types of people who are considered outcasts or weirdos in society: a transgender guy named Charlie (his preferred pronoun), the resident “v girl” Gemma Reed, and a nerdy theater major from Chicago. Equipped to better understand these characters through her college coursework on queer studies, Lily becomes friends with them while also navigating normal life as any other freshman would- finding roommates for next year based on personality rather than looks; worrying about landing the perfect sorority spot; struggling to find time for homework amid all the fun that comes along with being a freshman.
The V Girl by Mya Robarts is the first book I have read that dealt with gender identity and sexual orientation, but it was so easy to relate to Lily- even when describing her own personal faults- in this way because of the protagonist’s relatability and toughness as she navigates college life. This story feels like your best friend telling you about their experience at school (which, for me, made it extra special). The author creates such an authentic narrative while also weaving together humor throughout the memoir; there are many laugh out loud moments which make you feel included in the characters’ journey. There were also difficult scenes involving self harm or suicidal thoughts from Gemma Reed that could be triggering for someone who has experienced this in the past.
The author creates an authentic narrative while weaving humor throughout adds; there are many laugh out loud moments which make you feel included in the characters’ journey.
The book also has a unique perspective when the main character, Gemma, who is so used to journaling her thoughts and feelings decides to start blogging them instead. She keeps this blog of hers anonymous but she’s still quite open about some things like what music she likes or how much homework she has while other topics are more personal such as her reasons for self-harm. I loved that the author addressed it head on because many people feel ashamed about admitting they have mental health problems and talking openly can help people not be afraid anymore.
I recommend The V Girl by Mya Robarts if you’re looking for an honest story with great characters, worthy discussions around important social issues and clever use of technology in storytelling.”