Review: Adam by Ariel Schrag

AdamTitle: Adam

Author: Ariel Schrag

Pages: 316 Pages

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Blurb

When Adam Freedman—a skinny, immature, and lackluster high school student from Piedmont, California—is sent by his parents to join his older sister Casey in New York City, he is hopeful that his life is about to change. And it sure does.

It is the Summer of 2006—the year of gay marriage demonstrations and the rise of transgender rights—and Casey has thrust herself into New York’s fringe lesbian, sexual, and political scene. Accustomed to being a social misfit, Adam now finds himself part of a wild subculture complete with underground clubs, drinking, and friendly women who take a surprisingly intense interest in him. It takes some time for him to realize many in this new crowd assume he is transgendered—a boy who was born a girl—or else why would he always be around? But then he meets Gillian, the girl of his dreams. If only she weren’t a lesbian! And if only she didn’t believe he was really (sort of) a girl.

Ariel Schrag’s scathingly funny and poignant debut novel puts a fresh spin on questions of love, attraction, self-definition, and what it takes to be at home in your own skin.

The Review

There are certain check lists that I have that let me know whether the book I am reading is enjoyable – sure there are the obvious ones such as great storyline, likeable characters, exciting setting but there is one thing that is bound to make me really enjoy a book. I can’t help it; I am a sucker for a coming of age story.

Adam is a coming of age story.

Adam is a 17 year old boy who has travelled to New York to spend the summer with his sister Casey. His life at home is going nowhere, his “friends” are tools, his mum’s overprotective nature is stifling and he just wants to be – for want of a better word – “normal”.

When Adam gets to Casey’s New York apartment he gets thrust into New Yorks LGBT scene with some interesting results. He meets new people, learns about a society that he hadn’t really understood before, becomes closer to his sister and he falls in love. I mean, Adam falls hard!

Unfortunately, Adam is mistaken for someone else. Adam’s moral dilemma is should he come clean about his deceit or should he keep enjoying the benefits…he’s only in New York for the summer, what harm can it do?

Adam is a brilliant story which highlights so many issues: growing up, the cruelness of teenagers, transgender society. It really is a melting pot of subplots and was bloody compelling. Not only that but I personally felt that I learned so much from this book about the LGBT community that I didn’t know. It really was a great read.

Adam by Areil Schrag is available now.

For more information regarding Areil Schrag (@arielschrag) please visit

For more information regarding Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (@HMHCo) please visit

35 Stars

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