A Million Quiet Revolutions
Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux
Published March 22, 2022
About A Million Quiet Revolutions
For as long as they can remember, Aaron and Oliver have only ever had each other. In a small town with few queer teenagers, let alone young trans men, they’ve shared milestones like coming out as trans, buying the right binders–and falling for each other.
But just as their relationship has started to blossom, Aaron moves away. Feeling adrift, separated from the one person who understands them, they seek solace in digging deep into the annals of America’s past. When they discover the story of two Revolutionary War soldiers who they believe to have been trans man in love, they’re inspired to pay tribute to these soldiers by adopting their names–Aaron and Oliver. As they learn, they delve further into unwritten queer stories, and they discover the transformative power of reclaiming one’s place in history.
I was delighted to discover that A MILLION QUIET REVOLUTIONS is a novel in verse! Somehow I missed that when I agreed to review it, and as soon as I started reading the lines of poetry, I was immediately carried away by the story of these two boys.
I loved the connection between their present day lives and the things they read about Revolutionary War soldiers who may have been transgender. The story mentions reports of some women who dressed as men to fight and then continued to live as men after the war. There wasn’t language for those soldiers to describe themselves as transgender, and the author is clear to point out that we don’t know for sure what their intentions or reasons were. It made an interesting thing to think about and kind of pointed up the fact that being transgender, while the term may be relatively new, the identity isn’t.
The story flips back and forth between Aaron and Oliver’s points of view, relating things they experience and think about in sparse, emotive verse. Oliver’s parents are supportive of his identity, but Aaron’s parents are not. The journey through the experiences of both definitely communicated moments of pain and validation for each of them. I thought the relationships between characters, especially the boys and their families, felt real and layered.
On the whole, I very much enjoyed reading this book. I read the whole thing in one sitting because I really wanted to keep going all the way until the end of the story. I think readers who enjoyed JESS, CHUNK AND THE ROAD TRIP TO INFINITY or MUSIC FROM ANOTHER WORLD should check this one out, too.
Content Notes for A Million Quiet Revolutions
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Oliver is Jewish and Aaron is Puerto Rican. Both are transgender boys.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat infrequently.
Romance/Sexual Content – Trigger Warning for mentions of sexual assault.
Kissing between boys. One scene references sexual touching and another shows some graphic sex.
Oliver and Aaron learn about another character who has been sexually assaulted and reports it to the police.
References to Jewish celebrations and attending services. References to Catholic services and ceremonies.
Some transphobic and homophobic comments.
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