I fell in love with this book (and this family) from page one. I heard about This is How it Always Is on a podcast and was intrigued when the host advised everyone “not to read the back cover copy,” but instead to just to pick up the book and dive in. After reading the book (and subsequently the book description)– I agree with that advice.

To say this book is about a family with a transgender child (while technically true) would be to oversimplify and perhaps even misconstrue its message. Really, this is a book about family, secrets and the terrifying struggle all parents face to make huge decisions on behalf of their children without any idea whether they’re doing it right. This is How it Always Is centers around a sensitive subject matter– so skip it if it’s not for you– but I truly enjoyed this one. Without a doubt, this book made me more compassionate, made me feel more connected to the world around me and challenged my own perceptions of what it means to be a parent. In other words, it showed me where to look, but didn’t tell me what to see.

From Goodreads: This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.

This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated.

This is how children change…and then change the world.

This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.

When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.

This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever. Check it out on Goodreads!

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