Breaking Free by Winter Page
A surprisingly sophisticated novel by a 15 year old author, dealing with a range of issues facing LGBTIQ teens today.
Breaking Free is the debut novel by fifteen-year-old high school student, Winter Page. Given the tender age of the writer, it is easy to forgive some of the more awkward literary moments – such as the point of view shifting somewhat confusingly between first and third person – as Page explores issues surrounding transphobia, homophobia, depression, sexism, bullying, date rape, substance abuse and alcoholism.
Page herself is straight, but her intention in writing this book was to extend the hand of friendship and support to LGBTIQ teens, letting them know they are not alone and that they have friends and allies in the straight community. Her book is inclusive and empathetic as the young author embraces the LGBTIQ community telling them that she, at least, does not judge them for whom they love, something that is not always the case in her home of Texas.
Raimi is a sixteen-year-old trans* girl who identifies as a lesbian, and who has moved with her supportive family to Connecticut from Texas to start a new life post gender reassignment surgery. Raimi meets Clare, the gorgeous head cheerleader who is going out with the abusive school bully, Brad. Clare stays with Brad because he is blackmailing her with her deep dark secret – Clare is a lesbian. When Clare finally leaves Brad, and is thus ostracized by the school community, she teams up with Raimi and soon the pair fall in love and begin a relationship. Brad sets about making life difficult for Clare and Raimi as he publicly outs them at school.
For Raimi there is also the added complication of whether or not she should she tell Clare that she is trans*; she’s not sure Clare will appreciate her girlfriend having once been a boy. Getting straight to the heart of Page’s intentions are these few sentences…
There are, perhaps, too many issues that Page tries to address in her debut novel and she spreads herself a little thin in places. She is, however, an undoubted talent and as she matures, there is sure to be maturation in her writing also.