25 November 2015

Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz

Release Date: 8 September 2015 | Publisher: Candlewick| Format: Hardcover


Set in a near-future world, Lizard Radio opens with our main character, Kivali (or Lizard), being dropped off at CropCamp by her usually non-conforming guardian, Sheila. CropCamp is where teenagers go essentially to become good little conforming citizens, learn a trade, and find a like-minded, heterosexual partner. Kivali, however, doesn't fit the norms (she's a "bender" in this world's lingo--someone who doesn't conform to a gender) and has a hard time fitting in at CropCamp (well, she's always had trouble fitting in anywhere really). It's not ALL bad for her at camp because she does love being outdoors and she makes some real friends. However, she falls in love/lust with another girl and that's really just another thing that sets her apart. Lizard Radio is the kind of book that I wanted to love. It has good writing, a unique storyline, and it truly does deftly explore gender queerness in a sensitive way. I think what brought this one down some for me was that I found myself wanting and needing more world-building along the way. I didn't get a clear picture of what was really going on in this world and why it was the way it was. So while this book has some REALLY good things going for it, I simply couldn't fall in love with it. It was a quick read and its exploration of gender and sexuality definitely secure it a place on my library shelves.


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