Audio Book Review | Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audio Book Review | Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff GarvinSymptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
Published by HarperAudio on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQIA, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: The Publisher
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A sharply honest and moving debut perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ask the Passengers.

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn't exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure media and otherwise is building up in Riley's life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it's really like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley's starting to settle in at school even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley's real identity, threatening exposure. And Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

From debut author Jeff Garvin comes a powerful and uplifting portrait of a modern teen struggling with high school, relationships, and what it means to be a person.

My thoughts:

The Symptoms of Being Human is quite the story, one that I feel is important and a must read.  It’s informative, eye-opening, funny and heartfelt all in one swoop.

Some issues not withstanding, the execution of this novel was nothing short of brilliant. The lack of pronouns would at times, frustrate me, but it’s necessary to really understand the story and GET IT. As a reader, we never find out what sex Riley is, and I am perfectly okay with that. It’s not important; and I hope other readers are able to see past biological parts and see Riley as well, HUMAN. I also loved the blogging aspect; using it as a journal and touching so many with words. It really brings to light just how powerful the internet can be, both good and bad.

Riley was an easy character to like —  with quick wit and charm. But yet, lonely. The bullying, the stares and the questions in others’ eyes once seeing Riley put ME on edge, and it wasn’t even happening to me. Riley is easy to sympathize with and understand, especially with the mistakes made and constant guard up. Which is why the friends that Riley makes were fantastic.

There are a few things within the story that I thought were extreme. Yet, it’s hard to discuss because I while I can’t SEE so many things going wrong/horrible for one person within such a short amount of time, I don’t really know. I’ve never had to witness, or experience, these things so I can’t honestly say if it was written as shock value for the book, or real.

I just don’t know.

The Narrator

I loved the narration! Tom Phelan did an amazing job executing all of Riley’s emotions. There couldn’t have been another selected to narrate Riley. I am so glad I got to experience this story on audio.

Overall – I really liked The Symptoms of Being Human. I’m glad I got my hands on it and was able to experience and read Riley’s story.




Tell me your thoughts

  • Have you read The Symptoms of Being Human? If so, what did you think?
  • What are some other books that are powerful and emotional to read?

4 thoughts on “Audio Book Review | Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

  1. Braine

    I think this book is cool being genderlessz makes Riley’s journey more universal in the sense that readers won’t credit her behavior to being so girly or boyish. Bullying for example is horrible regardless of your gender and being male or female is inconsequential to how you react to it

    1. tonyalee

      Yes it is horrible. And I felt that since we don’t know Riley’s sex, it makes for a more powerful message for sure.

    1. tonyalee

      Yeah, I don’t want to say it’s NOT LIKELY but from my experience it’s not that rough, ya know? But who am I to judge? It’s not the best feeling in the world to teeter on lol

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