Rick
From the award-winning author of George, the story of a boy named Rick who needs to explore his own identity apart from his jerk of a best friend. Rick's never questioned much. He's gone along with his best friend Jeff even when Jeff's acted like a bully and a jerk. He's let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn't given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out. But now Rick's gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school's Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that ... understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones. As they did in their groundbreaking novel George, in Rick, award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world ... and all the steps you and the people around you need to take in order to get where you need to be.

Rick Details

TitleRick
Author
ReleaseApr 21st, 2020
PublisherScholastic Press
ISBN-139781338048100
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, LGBT, Contemporary, GLBT, Queer, Realistic Fiction

Rick Review

  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very sweet book! I’m a huge fan of Gino’s book GEORGE and have been highly anticipating this companion novel. I love that this is a book for middle grade kids that calmly and compassionately teaches them about the LGBTQIAP+ community. As an educational tool, this will be so useful to middle schoolers and hopefully to educators as well when it comes to asexuality, as well as nonbinary folks and pronouns. At the same time, I felt like this book was too short. There are a few plot threads This is a very sweet book! I’m a huge fan of Gino’s book GEORGE and have been highly anticipating this companion novel. I love that this is a book for middle grade kids that calmly and compassionately teaches them about the LGBTQIAP+ community. As an educational tool, this will be so useful to middle schoolers and hopefully to educators as well when it comes to asexuality, as well as nonbinary folks and pronouns. At the same time, I felt like this book was too short. There are a few plot threads that don’t have a conclusion in any way, and a lot of things fall into place very quickly in order to reach the conclusion I think the author had in mind. I wish more time could have been dedicated to Jeff as a character and how to navigate a friendship that is toxic. It felt very cut and dry and I think there could have been more complexity with that storyline.I LOVED Rick’s grandpa and how that relationship was developed - but I think that came at the expense of Rick’s parents and siblings. I felt like I knew very little about them and how they fit into Rick’s life. It was wonderful to see parents in middle grade who were doing their best to normalize queerness at a young age (Rick’s mother always insists on saying it would be normal and ok for him to have attraction to girls or boys) even if they weren’t as a aware of how to accept and nurture a child who identified outside the first couple letters of the LGBTQIAP+ acronym.However, beyond that there is very little to say about them as parents. Having a loving force in Rick’s life, his grandpa, was lovely I just wanted more. I think this could have been helped by extending the book slightly.All of this ultimately comes down to the fact that I did enjoy this book! It’s simple and educational and sweet, it just lacked the complexity and charm of GEORGE. I would still highly recommend it as a resource to add to middle school shelves and I really do love how it normalized knowing about sexuality at a young age, and how harmful it can be to dismiss children when they try to tell you who they are. I hope this can be a resource that helps more ace kids recognize see themselves in fiction!
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  • Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestRICK by Alex Gino is a young middle grade novel about a boy named Rick who is just entering middle school and is questioning his sexual identity. His best friend Jeff, who is also a sexist jerk in the process of objectifying young women, is already talking about hot girls, and his parents-- his father especially-- has begun to tease him about paying attention to his peers. But Rick feels uncomfortable when people talk about attraction an Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestRICK by Alex Gino is a young middle grade novel about a boy named Rick who is just entering middle school and is questioning his sexual identity. His best friend Jeff, who is also a sexist jerk in the process of objectifying young women, is already talking about hot girls, and his parents-- his father especially-- has begun to tease him about paying attention to his peers. But Rick feels uncomfortable when people talk about attraction and doesn't feel that way about anyone, boy or girl. He can't help but feel like maybe something might be wrong with him, until he starts talking with a girl in his class named Melissa, and ends up finding about an LGBT+ alliance group called Spectrum.There's a lot to unpack in RICK, and for the most part, I think it's a really great book. I haven't read a lot of YA that really tries to speak so frankly about sexuality and orientation, defining terms in a way that a young child can understand, and attempting to be really inclusive and encouraging about that desire to explore your identity, even if said identity might not be cisgendered or romantic. It's got a great message and is accessible.A big part of this book is Rick struggling to communicate his identity to the people he cares about, while also struggling to hide it because of people like Jeff. There's a major element of cognitive dissonance here; can we really call ourselves good, accepting people if we surround ourselves with bigots and willingly hang out with them despite knowing what they're capable of doing? I say no, and I have gotten into arguments with people about this online who think I'm being cruel for unfriending people who think differently from me-- but I know who I am and what I stand for, and I'm not willing to be friends with or even associate with people who actively discriminate and spread hate, because doing so is kind of a tacit acceptance in and of itself that such behavior is normal. And it shouldn't be.I liked most of the kids in Spectrum, especially Melissa, and I thought the relationship between Rick and his grandfather, and their conversations about defying gender norms (even if not described as such) were really beautiful. I had a lot of really open and loving conversations with my parents about the importance of acceptance as a kid, so it always makes me really happy to see strong and loving bonds between kids and their guardians in books because it reminds me of my own childhood. I was also happy to see a book discuss what it means to be asexual, and encourage kids to stand up for themselves and who they are, and that you're never too young to know your own mind.The part where this book fails, in my personal opinion, is that it was written with an agenda clearly in mind. And even though it is a really noble agenda, and an important one, there is a "preachiness" to this book that comes across as almost sanctimonious and really makes you, the reader, feel like you're being sat down and taught a lesson. I realize that this is a delicate area and I might be misunderstood, so I do want to be clear that my problem with this book is not about the content or the author's intent, but that the intent could have been less heavy-handed and more focus could have been on the characters themselves so the reader could reach the same conclusions that the author wanted them to through the narrative and subtext instead of having my hand held and being forcibly led to the point. Given the age of the characters and the intended audience, I understand why the author might have taken on the chiding tone and felt the need to be so pointed-- it is important that kids know about these things-- but as an adult reader, it felt condescending.Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 3 to 3.5 stars
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  • Tucker (TuckerTheReader)
    January 1, 1970
    me: *sees the rainbow*me: | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram me: *sees the rainbow*me: | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    I found myself smiling from time to time while reading this one because I'm so happy a book like this was not only written but published as well. 20+ years ago when I was in middle school this wouldn't have been the case. Some progress is being made and in a world where we aren't getting much good news lately, let's be thankful for something positive.Rick is in middle school and Jeff has been his best friend for years. But even Rick can admit Jeff is a bully and can act like a jerk and that's th I found myself smiling from time to time while reading this one because I'm so happy a book like this was not only written but published as well. 20+ years ago when I was in middle school this wouldn't have been the case. Some progress is being made and in a world where we aren't getting much good news lately, let's be thankful for something positive.Rick is in middle school and Jeff has been his best friend for years. But even Rick can admit Jeff is a bully and can act like a jerk and that's the reason why Rick doesn't tell his friend he is interested in attending meetings of the school's Rainbow Spectrum club. The club provides an opportunity for kids of different genders and identities to get together and have discussions in a safe environment. Rick has never experienced romantic feelings towards a male or female and that is one reason he is open to seeing what the club has to offer.This is a middle grade book but I do encourage readers of all ages to check this one out. I think the author did a good job explaining what each letter or symbol stands for in LGBTQIAP+ within the story as well as the use of pronouns. The book is informative but in my opinion it doesn't get too bogged down and fits well within the context of the story. And what's great about this book is I walked away actually feeling like I learned a thing or two. Rick's relationship with his grandfather really enhanced the story and I'm not only talking about the grandfather's backstory although I liked that part as well. I loved how Rick was eventually able to see his grandfather as a person and not just in the role of a grandparent. When you have that light bulb type moment when you realize you truly enjoy spending time with an older relative that's pretty special.There are so many wonderful things to take away from this book. Anytime an author can drive home the message to kids that it is okay to be who you are, that's a good thing.I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway by Goodreads and the publisher but was not obligated to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
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  • rachel ☾
    January 1, 1970
    a George companion that has an ace spec mc?? i didn't know i needed this in my life but i do, i do a George companion that has an ace spec mc?? i didn't know i needed this in my life but i do, i do
  • Anniek
    January 1, 1970
    Finished the audiobook with tears in my eyes. This book is so beautiful and so so necessary. The book follows 11-year-old Rick who starts middle school, and suddenly everyone seems to be getting crushes. Except for him. There's also the issue of his best friend, who's actually really mean. And when he starts spending more time with his grandad, he finds out that they have more in common than he thought, and he gains a lot of support.I love love LOVE what this book did in telling us (pre)teens ca Finished the audiobook with tears in my eyes. This book is so beautiful and so so necessary. The book follows 11-year-old Rick who starts middle school, and suddenly everyone seems to be getting crushes. Except for him. There's also the issue of his best friend, who's actually really mean. And when he starts spending more time with his grandad, he finds out that they have more in common than he thought, and he gains a lot of support.I love love LOVE what this book did in telling us (pre)teens can and do know if they're asexual. Because no, not every kid is automatically asexual until they hit puberty. Kids do have crushes. In fact, even though I hadn't realized I was asexual back then, because I didn't have the language to describe how I felt, the years between ages 10 and 15 were some of the most difficult ones in my life because all my peers were getting crushes and talking about kissing and sex, and I felt so different. I couldn't be happier that kids today get to see themselves in books like this.And this book didn't just tackle asexuality (and aromanticism, because at the end of the book Rick's not yet sure if he's ace, aro or aroace). It was super educational in discussing the entire LGBTQ+ community and explaining terminology and pronoun use.By the way, the audiobook is narrated by Alex Gino themself, and I would highly recommend it. It's short but sweet and they did a great job.
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. After reading Alex Gino's previous novel, George, I couldn't wait for another book in this universe. Rick is starting middle school and is posed with the nagging questions from his parents about crushes on girls and boys - but he just wants to spin coins. Romantically, Rick has never had a crush on anyone and this is very confusing for him. Rick is a powerful coming of age story about a boy questionin I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. After reading Alex Gino's previous novel, George, I couldn't wait for another book in this universe. Rick is starting middle school and is posed with the nagging questions from his parents about crushes on girls and boys - but he just wants to spin coins. Romantically, Rick has never had a crush on anyone and this is very confusing for him. Rick is a powerful coming of age story about a boy questioning his sexuality, conquering middle school, outgrowing an old friend and gaining new friends. The way Alex Gino wrote and organized Rick's character development was marvelous and I just loved reading about Rick! As I stated, I was so excited to read another book set in the George universe. It was a delightful read and I didn't want to leave Melissa just yet. Luckily, Melissa is all over this book! (plus some other characters from George). I loved seeing her middle school self, she's fierce and so confident! Rick deals with the exploration of asexuality but it also shows the usage of pronouns when Rick meets other kids at his school who are also on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum. He feels less alone and this helps his questioning process. This book is very informative about asexuality and its spectrum. It also has an important conversation about pronouns specifically the usage of "they/them" which I really appreciated! Next, Rick faces a hard decision in his life - having a jerk best friend. Jeff felt very much like Sid from Toy Story for some imagery. He's rude and Rick just follows his lead without sticking up for himself. Rick has a lot of development as he has to figure out if he wants to stay friends with Jeff with some consoling from his Grandpa Ray. I loved his relationship with his grandpa, I was very close with my grandmother when I was a kid, so I always admire a grandkid/grandparent relationship! This book made me want to time travel back to middle school and attend Jung Middle School - mainly for the Rainbow Spectrum Club - I know that Rick is going to touch so many children whether they know someone who is QUILTBAG+ or are questioning themselves or just trying to conquer middle school like Rick. I really wish I had this book when I was just a confused twelve year old! Alex Gino always writes a fantastic middle grade and Rick didn't disappoint! My only complaint is that this book is OVER? Please, I'M BEGGING YOU. Pick this up ASAP.
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  • CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
    January 1, 1970
    Aw, this was really sweet! A good choice for younger readers to read during Pride Month! - Follows Rick, a young White boy who is just starting middle school this year! Rick has always felt uncomfortable with the idea of liking boys and girls, and when he learns about the Rainbow Spectrum club, he begins to question his identity. - I thought this was actually a really sweet book! I didn't really jell with the writing style at first, but I had to remind myself: this is a story for younger readers Aw, this was really sweet! A good choice for younger readers to read during Pride Month! - Follows Rick, a young White boy who is just starting middle school this year! Rick has always felt uncomfortable with the idea of liking boys and girls, and when he learns about the Rainbow Spectrum club, he begins to question his identity. - I thought this was actually a really sweet book! I didn't really jell with the writing style at first, but I had to remind myself: this is a story for younger readers! and when I adjusted that perspective, I liked it a little more. - I think this book is a pretty solid choice to introduce younger readers to queer identities and issues. There are some safe discussions about pronouns, identifying, and what identities mean. It's important to note that this book is intended to younger readers, so for what may seem heavy-handed for adults who are familiar with queer issues may be clear and easy-to-understand messages for younger readers. - This book has questioning and asexual representation! I really appreciated this because both representation is less represented in the rainbow spectrum and I think the exploration of these identities were really good.- I liked that this book explores toxic friendships. The book does portray how Rick decides to end the toxic friendship and it was done in a way that provides younger readers with a 'framework'(?) of how to set boundaries, stand up for yourself, and do the right thing (reporting the bullying to teachers). - And the grandson-grandfather relationship in this was so soft and wholesome. My favourite part of the book!Trigger/content warning: (view spoiler)[bullying, anti-gay (challenged) (hide spoiler)]
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  • Masha (onceandfuturebooknerd)
    January 1, 1970
    Such an important book. Please read it. 🖤
  • Ann Elise Monte
    January 1, 1970
    Ace rep! In a middle grade!! Source: https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2... Ace rep! In a middle grade!! Source: https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2...
  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    This is a sweet book, but it's not as good as its companion novel, the award-winning George. George does what all great books do, and transcends its genre. It was written for young middle grade readers, but because it was so well-written and so personal, and developed the character of Melissa so beautifully, it just felt like a good story, all the while it was also teaching kids about what it means to be trans, and emphasizing themes like empathy, friendship, and kindness. Rick has similar goals This is a sweet book, but it's not as good as its companion novel, the award-winning George. George does what all great books do, and transcends its genre. It was written for young middle grade readers, but because it was so well-written and so personal, and developed the character of Melissa so beautifully, it just felt like a good story, all the while it was also teaching kids about what it means to be trans, and emphasizing themes like empathy, friendship, and kindness. Rick has similar goals, this time with a protagonist who is unsure of his sexual identity, but is leaning towards asexual/aromantic. Rick is the best friend of Jeff, the boy who bullied Melissa in George. Rick is Jeff's best friend mostly out of habit, but is slowly coming to realize that he doesn't have to be Jeff's friend and do the things Jeff wants (and ignore the bad things Jeff does) if he doesn't want to. He is in a constant state of anxiety, pulled between wanting to understand his own identity and disapproving of Jeff's actions, and feeling pressured and upset about the prospect of Jeff making fun of him or his new friends, of Jeff rejecting him. I thought this part of the book was pretty good. Rick's struggle to figure out who he was and not just go along felt very middle school to me (a time of life that I hated), although it still didn't feel as personal to me as Melissa's inner journey in George.This book also felt very obviously didactic in a way that George didn't. The message was great, and younger kids would probably love it, but to me as an adult, it felt constructed. The best part of this book was Rick's relationship with his grandpa, who he hasn't really gotten to know before. He's now discovered that out of all his family members, his grandpa and he have the most in common, and it's just so heartwarming to see them interact with each other. They both love the same old sci-fi TV show, and it opens up a space for Rick to be seen by someone who understands him, and the same for his grandfather. They both love Rick's dad, but agree he's not the easiest person to talk to, and finding kindred spirits in each other fills spaces in both their hearts. In terms of the ace rep, I think this book did a pretty good job, although there seems to be almost as much focus on other sexual and gender identities, because of the LGBTQIAP+ support group Rick starts going to at his new school. Maybe it's because Rick's issue has less inherent conflict than Melissa's, a lack of sexual or romantic feelings, rather than Melissa's constant inner struggle to not be pushed into a box other people want her to be in. It was nice that the book dealt so frankly with how older people often dismiss and invalidate sexual and gender identity questioning in younger people because "they're too young" to have those feelings, which is bullshit.Worth reading, though! Definitely worth it for younger readers, but it's just not up to the gold standard set by George. [3.5 stars, rounded up]
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  • Solly
    January 1, 1970
    Read George yesterday and Rick today and loved both of these books so much!! As an aroace person (though I had no idea at Rick's age haha) who had toxic friendships in middle school this little book was everything to me tbh
  • Nev
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 - Asexual representation in Middle Grade? Hell yeah! Rick is just starting middle school, dealing with a best friend who he’s realizing is a bully, and figuring out that he doesn’t have the same feelings about girls or boys that most of his classmates seem to have. When Rick attends a Rainbow Spectrum meeting, his school’s LGBTQIAP+ group, he learns some new language to describe how he’s feeling. I think this book will give young kids a great way to see themselves represented and to learn ab 3.5 - Asexual representation in Middle Grade? Hell yeah! Rick is just starting middle school, dealing with a best friend who he’s realizing is a bully, and figuring out that he doesn’t have the same feelings about girls or boys that most of his classmates seem to have. When Rick attends a Rainbow Spectrum meeting, his school’s LGBTQIAP+ group, he learns some new language to describe how he’s feeling. I think this book will give young kids a great way to see themselves represented and to learn about other identities. The kids in the Rainbow Spectrum group talk about pronouns, gender identity, and different sexualities. However, sometimes this does come across as a bit like an informational brochure. I wish it could’ve been integrated a little bit more naturally. But even if parts of it are a bit clunky, it’s great that a book like this exists and shows middle schoolers having these discussions. This is a companion novel to Alex Gino’s book George. It was great to see Melissa years after the events of that book. But it also made it apparent in my mind that George was a much stronger book overall. Rick lacked the overall charm that George had, and it felt less developed when it came to Rick’s immediate family and friendships. I’d still recommend checking this out if you’re interested in LGBTQIAP+ Middle Grade books. It’s a sweet story and has a lot of great things to say even if it wasn’t my absolute favorite.
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  • Eva B.
    January 1, 1970
    *Dies of desire to get this book*Ace rep?? In a middle grade book?? Hell yeah!I realized I was ace when I was in my last year of middle school and I hope that this book helps kids like me figure out who they are *Dies of desire to get this book*Ace rep?? In a middle grade book?? Hell yeah!I realized I was ace when I was in my last year of middle school and I hope that this book helps kids like me figure out who they are <3
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  • Johanna Saarni
    January 1, 1970
    How can 10-11-year old identify as asexual? Its the default for many at that age still! Does the author even understand puberty and biology? Would have made more sense if he was 16 or something.
  • Completely Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    For me personally, I would give this a 3.5, however, I feel that it deserves a 4 star for it's intended audience. I do enjoy middle grade, however this felt aimed at kids a little younger. It is a great story for someone to read if they are feeling different from their peers and they haven't figured out quite why. It is very educational about all kinds of identities, and I think this book will be very helpful to some kids out there. It cover just about anything you can think of from gay, straigh For me personally, I would give this a 3.5, however, I feel that it deserves a 4 star for it's intended audience. I do enjoy middle grade, however this felt aimed at kids a little younger. It is a great story for someone to read if they are feeling different from their peers and they haven't figured out quite why. It is very educational about all kinds of identities, and I think this book will be very helpful to some kids out there. It cover just about anything you can think of from gay, straight, trans, asexual, aromantic, pan, demi, and more.
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  • Mimi
    January 1, 1970
    Fun Facts:x RICK is a companion novel to Alex Gino’s first middle-grade story GEORGE (which features a transgender protagonist trying out for the school play!) but you don’t have to read it (though you should because it’s outstanding) before diving into RICK.x GEORGE was the #1 most challenged and banned book in 2018 for its subject matter – Gino’s badass response? “If you’re gonna be banned, at least be number 1.“Why you should get excited for RICK:x There are cameos from beloved characters fro Fun Facts:x RICK is a companion novel to Alex Gino’s first middle-grade story GEORGE (which features a transgender protagonist trying out for the school play!) but you don’t have to read it (though you should because it’s outstanding) before diving into RICK.x GEORGE was the #1 most challenged and banned book in 2018 for its subject matter – Gino’s badass response? “If you’re gonna be banned, at least be number 1.“Why you should get excited for RICK:x There are cameos from beloved characters from GEORGE such as Melissa!x There is an LGBTQIAP+ alliance that discusses and explores the spectrum of queer identity in a supportive and safe environmentx A cosplaying grandfather who’s as much of a nerd as we all are when it comes to his favourite TV series? Check!“Sometimes Rick wondered if he was gay because he had never had a crush on a girl. But he had never had a crush on a boy either, so how could he be gay?Perfectly paced and splendidly diverse, RICK should be mandatory for all readers, no matter their age. Rick’s story of exploring his sexuality while faced with the bullying of someone he considers a friend transcends its intended audience and shows readers of all ages that they are worthy of unconditional support.Rick is such a sweet and enthusiastic kid. He just hasn’t found his place in the world yet – and as he struggles to find it, he understands more and more that there will always be people who will support you no matter what but there are also those that, no matter how hard you try, you will outgrow eventually. Watching Rick come to terms with the fact that his friend Jeff, the one he loves to play video games with and looks to for approval, is actually really disrespectful towards girls and openly harasses anyone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, is heart-wrenching. Though it is tough to realise that some people will baulk at what they don’t know and don’t want to understand, it was also beautiful to see Rick find a group of friends who support him and understand what he is going through. With the help of his grandfather, who has a secret of his own that translates beautifully in his and Rick’s time together, Rick eventually realises that being friends with Jeff means hiding who Rick really is, and that’s not okay. Friends should support you no matter what.Within the safe space of the Rainbow Spectrum club, Gino introduces the necessary language to voice your identity (something that is still missing from school curricula, might I add). Alongside Rick, the reader learns about genderqueer identities, the importance of using preferred pronouns and seamlessly highlights that mixing them up and making mistakes is natural without ever discouraging anyone from trying to do better. Instead, even the teacher offers helpful advice and learns a thing or two about what it means to be non-binary. The A in LGBTQIAP+ that is often confused to be standing for Ally instead of Asexual takes on a role in the spotlight as Rick hears it and feels seen for the first time. The revelation that he is not alone, that this is not just him feeling this way is a truly magical thing to read about.What RICK also excels at is exposing the heteronormative standards that are placed on children at a very early age. Rick’s father constantly asks Rick who he’s got a crush on, reminding him that it’s okay if it’s a boy. But when Rick broaches the subject of perhaps not ever feeling the way other kids his age do, that he maybe does not want to be in a romantic relationship with anyone ever, his father tells him he’s too young to understand what he’s feeling, that he’ll just have to wait to be older. Frustrating and confusing, the scene shows perfectly how we as a society lead children to falsely believe that their worth lies in finding a partner and building a family above all else; anything that threatens this expected outcome is rejected immediately. Gino aptly shows the extra layer of stigma anyone on the asexuality spectrum has been facing and still faces today.Then again, this wouldn’t be the masterpiece it is if it didn’t end on a hopeful, high note. As Rick begins to feel more comfortable in his skin and articulates his feelings to his grandfather and peers, the reader, too, learns that the most important part of any type of relationship is support. He also learns that though people may be set in their ways, they can learn something new.Educational without being preachy, enlightening and carefully crafted, RICK is a hopeful and life-affirming read perfect for anyone who needs a reminder that they are worthy – of love, of friendship, of support – unconditionally. As Rick learns about asexuality and takes control of his support system, his story encourages readers to explore their own identity on their own terms, emphasising that their feelings and journeys of self-discovery are vital and valid.This might just be my new favorite middle grade book of all times.Review also published here:https://www.thenerddaily.com/tag/read...
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  • Izzie
    January 1, 1970
    Very sweet middle grade book exploring the varying queer experiences. RTC
  • Katrina
    January 1, 1970
    I was pleased as punch to learn there was a new sequel to “George.” While I enjoyed Rick’s story and character development, there was something... informational... about this book, that didn’t feel entirely natural. Alex Gino worked it into the narrative, and for many young readers it could be the first time they are encountering the language of the queer community, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Rick” is about more than personal identity. It’s also about friendships and the company you c I was pleased as punch to learn there was a new sequel to “George.” While I enjoyed Rick’s story and character development, there was something... informational... about this book, that didn’t feel entirely natural. Alex Gino worked it into the narrative, and for many young readers it could be the first time they are encountering the language of the queer community, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Rick” is about more than personal identity. It’s also about friendships and the company you choose to keep.
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  • Leah (Jane Speare)
    January 1, 1970
    OMG just as good as George!!EXCELLENT. This will be the perfect book to introduce young kids to the spectrum of LGBTQ . Rick struggles with a toxic friendship, as well as figuring out who he is, and where he fits into this new world he's discovered. As with George, it's full of love and support from family, and you get to see Melissa again too!
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  • maya
    January 1, 1970
    it’s ace. do i need to say anymore?
  • Sylwia (Wish Fulfillment)
    January 1, 1970
    ❖ [booktube wish fulfillment] ❖ [twitter exsixtwosix] ❖More of a 3.5 but I'm rounding up.REP- protag is ace/aro; validation is provided; the "but you're so young" conflict is mildly explored- grandfather cosplay "crossdresses"- minor characters along the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum, "unsure" and nonbinary included- Melissa from "George" is in the protag's classroom and scenes from that book are mentioned- grief is handled realisticallyREADER HEALTH(view spoiler)[- The author is teaching kids to think abo ❖ [booktube wish fulfillment] ❖ [twitter exsixtwosix] ❖More of a 3.5 but I'm rounding up.REP- protag is ace/aro; validation is provided; the "but you're so young" conflict is mildly explored- grandfather cosplay "crossdresses"- minor characters along the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum, "unsure" and nonbinary included- Melissa from "George" is in the protag's classroom and scenes from that book are mentioned- grief is handled realisticallyREADER HEALTH(view spoiler)[- The author is teaching kids to think about their friendships and whether it's worth it to remain friends with people who are mean or whose ideals don't align with social justice. I think this is an important topic, but the fact that Jeff doesn't get rehabilitation for his behavior is (in my opinion as a mental health professional) just another way of leaving people causing harm so they can go harm someone else. Personally, I would have wanted to see Jeff get sat down by an adult and taught about homophobia and heteronormativity and guided along the way. If the author ever writes THAT book, I would request an ARC. (hide spoiler)]- I'm also back and forth about the use of the word "jerk" and whether it was handled in a way that made the characters feel organic, or if it is perpetuating the use of labels against people causing harm rather than (adults) rehabilitating them.EDUCATION- The protagonist learns some basics about LGBTQIAP+ terminology.- This is a must read for middle graders and folks new to learning about asexuality, imo.- The second scene about the teacher exploring singular "they" is A+.WRITING STYLE- It has simple writing and is concise, while still being engaging. Once Rick attended a Rainbow Spectrum meeting, I was in; though, it took those first 5-6 chapters to help me feel connected to the protagonist and his story.PLOT- While simple, there is technically a plot that revolves around Rick's self-exploration regarding sexual orientation, romantic orientation, getting to know his grandfather, and deciding what he wants to do about his friendship with a "jerk".CHARACTERS- Rick is delightful, his grandfather is the best, Melissa is a gem, and all of the minor characters are charming. Again, probably because the redemption arc (rehabilitation or treatment) is my favorite trope in fiction and real life, I wanted more about Jeff.ENTERTAINMENT- It took me a few chapters but I basically read the book from start to finish and really enjoyed it after around chapters 5-6.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    4,5 stars!This was WAY too cute and wholesome and queer and just everything I needed right now
  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    *This review contains spoilers.To me, Alex Gino’s books contain strong writing and storytelling—but they’re mostly about characters. After all, how many authors can get their MCs names into the titles of their first three novels? Two of those novels, GEORGE (2015) and now RICK (April 2020), are obviously identified by a single name. Although the former is more complex—as its subtitle ought to read “Melissa’s Story.” Anyway, this book starts with the immediacy and focus on the inner workings of a *This review contains spoilers.To me, Alex Gino’s books contain strong writing and storytelling—but they’re mostly about characters. After all, how many authors can get their MCs names into the titles of their first three novels? Two of those novels, GEORGE (2015) and now RICK (April 2020), are obviously identified by a single name. Although the former is more complex—as its subtitle ought to read “Melissa’s Story.” Anyway, this book starts with the immediacy and focus on the inner workings of a young person; we begin in his world.Rick Ramsey likes spinning quarters and he’s good at it. Sitting on his bedroom floor, he can get seven spinning at the same time. He’s not good at baseball, the décor of his bedroom leftover from an earlier age and typical expectations for a son. Seemingly, the Ramsey family are the all-American family. Rick’s brother is away at college and now his sister is leaving too. Rick’s starting middle school and as his father remarks, “Whole new worlds are opening for him. Girls…” “Or boys,” adds Mom. Rick’s best friend and video game buddy is Jeff. Gino writes, “Rick hadn’t had a whole lot of friends, and Jeff was new and soon they were a molecule, Jeff-n-Rick. Rock liked being part of a molecule.” Rick even compares Jeff and him to Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. Thing is, Jeff’s grown into a horny bully. “Look at that hottie,” Jeff says on the first day of school. He elaborates, wanting to pull Rick into gross adolescent boy talk about girls. Rick is offended and left cold. But he’s a silent bystander to Jeff’s bullying; he’s scared to disconnect from him and be alone, until he sees a flyer for the Rainbow Spectrum Club. He feels drawn to it, and scared what others will think. It’s to Gino’s credit that while Rick is filled with self-doubt, he’s not consumed by self-loathing. This book is a map to well-being for queer kids Rick’s age.One person that Rick admires is the confident transgender girl who sits in front of him in homeroom. He’d like to be more like her, and more like himself (whoever that is). Gino has said they won’t write a sequel to GEORGE, but Melissa plays an award-winning supporting role in Rick’s story. We’re glad to see her again—to know she’s doing well and reaching out to queer kids who are questioning and those who are out and proud. Rick is direct in his own questioning, which is absolutely necessary for readers this age. "Sometimes Rick wondered if he was gay because he had never had a crush on a girl. But he had never had a crush on a boy either, so how could he be gay?” There is a slight irony that Rick types 'how do you know you’re gay' into an Internet search. Gino’s GEORGE has been the most banned book in the US for several years. One of the objections I’ve seen is that it sends kids to Google 'transgender.' RICK may prompt kids to search 'asexual' or 'ace.' It takes an author with steely nerve and brilliant glitter to walk through the fires and keep “going there” for the sake of kids who need to read this representation.Gino addresses kids’ concerns about attending QUILTBAG+ school groups: “Did you have to know whether you were gay or bisexual or whatever to go?” The meeting is splendidly diverse, and not only in gender and orientation. I’ve visited numerous local GSAs. They are (unlike the general student body) overwhelmingly White, abled, non-trans afab and amab. I have spoken with BIPOC teens who feel excluded and discriminated against in these self-described safe spaces. I’m guessing Gino knows this—and, like so many things in their books, it’s a hope for what could be. The group dynamic lifted me off my feet.The other unexpected support in Rick’s life is his Grandpa Ray. Rick is obliged to spend Saturdays with him since his sister went to college. But it quickly turns to something vitally important to him, and not just because they share a love for (Star Trek-alike?) Rogue Space. (Gino is good at coming up with fun names for video games, chat boards, etc.) Grandpa Ray doesn’t only love Rick for who he is, but he has a splendid reveal of his own.Another (YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING, JILLY P!) striking cover by Maeve Norton, where the images and the blank space have meaning. I’m still connecting the buttons on Rick’s backpack to his story. Pardon the baseball analogy, Rick, but Gino's hit a third straight homerun!Note: The back matter is an excellent resource on QUILTBAG+. However, it does not include Two-Spirit or Indigiqueer people. I defer to Charlie of Indigo’s Bookshelf's critical review for clarity on the subject: https://indigosbookshelf.blogspot.com...
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  • Kirstysbookishworld
    January 1, 1970
    This book is one of those books that I would have appreciated so much more as a kid, namely the same age that Rick is while trying to figuring himself out. It’s also a book I believe every kid should read. I like the simple and clear way the author discussed sexuality and gender. Although I don’t believe that these things are simple, kids need a place to start and this a fantastic story of finding true friends that teaches kids what the different types of sexuality are and what they mean but als This book is one of those books that I would have appreciated so much more as a kid, namely the same age that Rick is while trying to figuring himself out. It’s also a book I believe every kid should read. I like the simple and clear way the author discussed sexuality and gender. Although I don’t believe that these things are simple, kids need a place to start and this a fantastic story of finding true friends that teaches kids what the different types of sexuality are and what they mean but also that not identifying is just as valid. That being yourself is what people should expect of you. I hope one day this type of story will become so common that kids won’t even blink when they head that someone is on the Rainbow spectrum. We all deserve to be called beautiful right?
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  • Sacha
    January 1, 1970
    *Note: the spoilers here are so minor that I'm not even sure they are officially spoilers. But, as a hater of spoilers, I figure it's better to be safe than sorry! Five starsI pre-ordered this book *so* long ago because _George_ has a very special place in my heart (and ALWAYS in my college-level Children's Literature courses), and I needed to know what this related installment looked like at the nearest available opportunity. Frankly, I was also relatively scared. It's hard when a book you love *Note: the spoilers here are so minor that I'm not even sure they are officially spoilers. But, as a hater of spoilers, I figure it's better to be safe than sorry! Five starsI pre-ordered this book *so* long ago because _George_ has a very special place in my heart (and ALWAYS in my college-level Children's Literature courses), and I needed to know what this related installment looked like at the nearest available opportunity. Frankly, I was also relatively scared. It's hard when a book you love gets a sequel (this isn't that) or another work in its universe (this!) because you worry so much about how the new one might cloud your relationship with the original. _Rick_ is a solid middle grade novel in its own right AND via its connection to _George_. Insert so many sighs of relief here! I really appreciate the way that the characters authentically seem a little older here. Their choices, preoccupations, and moral quandaries reflect their slightly advanced age, and I loved how they develop as individuals and in relation to each other. Along with these great characters and scenarios, I really enjoy how language is managed throughout the novel (and later in the author's note). I got so uncomfortable with the initial "preferred pronouns" conversation until the conversation turned on "preferred," and I cracked up at Mr. Sydney's drama over "they" and use of the ol' 'but I'm an ENGLISH TEACHER!' excuse. As a professor of English and someone who works administratively in equity and inclusion, these moments resonate on another level for me. :) It's easy to imagine how these conversations could turn didactic quickly; they don't. They feel organic, authentic, age appropriate, and effective. Also, the managing of discussions around identity, changes in friendship (and relationships in general), and self awareness really work here. I do want to know more about what's up with Rick's sister and that sibling dis/connection, but this is one minor question for the next novel, I guess (which I hope will be called _Kelly_. Please add me to the long list of people who need to read that). It's brave to take on a project like this: one that follows and connects to a book that is so loved and so important to so many people. But for me, _Rick_ really works and absolutely belongs in the same orbit as its predecessor.
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  • Kales
    January 1, 1970
    Admittedly, I had high expectations for this book. GEORGE was incredible and a force to be reckoned with in the literary world. Unfortunately, this book definitely didn't live up to that level. RICK was a cute book and I think it did a good job with language and the value to allying. It also gives great voice to asexuals and aromantics. However the whole thing was rather staccato and boring.I was happy that Rick found his voice but his voice was so boring. The whole school part was slow and anno Admittedly, I had high expectations for this book. GEORGE was incredible and a force to be reckoned with in the literary world. Unfortunately, this book definitely didn't live up to that level. RICK was a cute book and I think it did a good job with language and the value to allying. It also gives great voice to asexuals and aromantics. However the whole thing was rather staccato and boring.I was happy that Rick found his voice but his voice was so boring. The whole school part was slow and annoying. The best part of the story was the sections with Grandpa Ray. I loved learning about him and his history with scifi shows and crossdressing. It was endearing to see how that friendship formed and grew. I think it was mainly the storyline and the language that really bothered me. It felt more like a lesson in proper LGBTQIA+ terminology and language. I would still happily recommend it to middle graders and think it's a great resource, I just wish it had more substance to the story and wasn't so staccato. "This happens. And then that happens. And then Rick felt this way. And he was confused." That's how the book was written. It was too much and could have used more flow.Conclusion: Don't need to keep it
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  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    It’s cute, but story-wise it’s just ok. It’s hard to get excited about Rick when he feels barely excited about himself.
  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusRick is starting a new year in middle school as his sister goes off to college. He has a best friend, Jeff, but Rick is starting to get ever more annoyed at Jeff's behavior. When Jeff makes rude comment about how "hot" Melissa is, Rick starts to realize that he doesn't really think of anybody as "hot". Intrigued by the Rainbow Spectrum group at school, he goes to see what it is all about, not letting Jeff know he is attending. Melissa, who was the subject of the b E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusRick is starting a new year in middle school as his sister goes off to college. He has a best friend, Jeff, but Rick is starting to get ever more annoyed at Jeff's behavior. When Jeff makes rude comment about how "hot" Melissa is, Rick starts to realize that he doesn't really think of anybody as "hot". Intrigued by the Rainbow Spectrum group at school, he goes to see what it is all about, not letting Jeff know he is attending. Melissa, who was the subject of the book George, and the rest of the students are very welcoming and supportive, and Rick likes the group. When they decide to put on a talent show to help raise money to buy LGBTQIAP+ books for the school library, Rick wants to help, but he doesn't want others to know that he's involved with the group. Rick is also spending Sundays with his Grandpa Ray, and the two watch a science fiction show and bond. They also decide to attend a con, and Grandpa Ray shares with Rick that he liked to attend cons with Rick's grandmother... and he often dressed up as a woman. Jeff's toxicity because unbearable, and Rick drops him as a friend. Luckily, he has made new friends in the Rainbow Spectrum group.Strengths: This was a short, simple book that outlines Rick's growing uncertainty while addressing the classic middle school issue of losing friendships. The inclusion of a LGBTQIAP+ school group, as well as a talent show, moves the plot along. The relationship with the grandfather is a nice touch; I wish there were more middle grade books about children interacting with grandparents who are still fairly healthy. The best thing about Gino's books is that they make gender and sexuality topics understandable on an age appropriate level. Too many Young Adult books include instructional sex and a lot of underage drinking, which is just a bit too much for my students. When I have 6th graders bring back books because the word "hell" or "damn" is in them, I'm more circumspect in my purchases than I would be in a high school or public library.Weaknesses: It seemed very odd that the Rainbow Spectrum advisor, Mr. Sydney, didn't know about they use of singular they for people who prefer to use that as their pronouns. It was good to point out this use, but it would have made more sense for a student to claim ignorance. Some reviews called this book didactic and agenda driven, and while I can see that, it's really about perfect for the level of understanding most of my students have about LGBTQIAP+ topics.What I really think: As the book itself points out, Rick is on the young side to identify with being asexual. I think many middle school students are not interested in anything romantic at all. It's good that people who support Rick tell him that it's okay if he does identify as Ace, but also okay if his feelings change at some point. I will definitely purchase this, as there is a growing interest in LGBTQI+ (or QUILTBAG+) titles in my library. (Although I have to tag each LGBTQIAP+ title in Destiny, which seems an odd thing to have to still do in 2020.)
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  • Tory
    January 1, 1970
    Oof owie ouch. Stilted, heavy-handed, preachy writing. Important topics, yes, but "Rick" treats its readers like dummies and beats them over the head with hyper-specific textbook terminology. Nothing about this book feels organic and everyone is so on the defensive, with every sentence or interaction being another hot-button topic. And how is it that the queer teacher and sponsor of the LGBTQ+ is the person who doesn't know about they/them pronouns?? Only plus: this is the first MG book I've rea Oof owie ouch. Stilted, heavy-handed, preachy writing. Important topics, yes, but "Rick" treats its readers like dummies and beats them over the head with hyper-specific textbook terminology. Nothing about this book feels organic and everyone is so on the defensive, with every sentence or interaction being another hot-button topic. And how is it that the queer teacher and sponsor of the LGBTQ+ is the person who doesn't know about they/them pronouns?? Only plus: this is the first MG book I've read that I can remember having ace representation...but the overall quality of the writing makes it impossible for me to recommend this book 😭
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