Creative Writing

The One Who Loves You The Most

by medina

WFCYA/Nonfiction, 2021 - Creative Writing at The New School

Levine Querido, May 2022

I have never felt like I belonged to my body. Never in the way rhythm belongs to a song or waves belong to an ocean.
It seems like most people figure out where they belong by knowing where they came from. When they look in the mirror, they see their family in their eyes, in their sharp jawlines, in the texture of their hair. When they look at family photos, they see faces of people who look like them. They see faces of people who they’ll look like in the future.
For me, I only have my imagination.
But I’m always trying.

Twelve-year-old Gabriela is trying to find their place in the world. In their body, which feels less and less right with each passing day. As an adoptee, in their all-white family. With their mom, whom they love fiercely and do anything they can to help with her depression. And at school, where they search for friends.A new year will bring a school project, trans and queer friends, and a YouTube channel that help Gabriela find purpose in their journey. From debut author medina comes a beautifully told story of finding oneself and one’s community, at last.

An uplifting narrative about the freedom and clarity labels can offer.

Gabriela is a middle schooler on a journey of self-discovery. As a Honduran child adopted by a White mom, they have never felt completely comfortable with their body or their community. But things start to change when Abbie and Héctor enter their school. Abbie is an Indian and Peruvian American trans intersex girl, and Héctor is a Guatemalan American bisexual genderfluid person. Together, with understanding, patience, and lessons in Queer 101, they invite Gabriela to start exploring words that could fit them. Though Gabriela’s crush on Maya is a sweet addition to the story, it’s the friendship between Gabriela and their two new friends that makes the book shine. With their acceptance and love, Gabriela navigates middle school classes and turmoil, their mother’s depression, and a world that isn’t always welcoming to queer folks. With stellar adult characters, accessible prose, a diverse cast, and an uplifting narrative, the book tells a quick-moving story that can serve as a guide for adults to explore the LGBTQ+ lexicon with young people and help middle-grade readers discover, like Gabriela does, the power of understanding and identifying themselves. Gabriela and their friends offer queer kids a story with a happy ending.A sweet book that’s sure to spread love and hopefulness. (resources) (Fiction. 9-14)

Kirkus Reviews

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