|Both can be true
Author: Machias, Jules
Some days Ash is undoubtedly girl, but other times, 100 percent guy. Daniel lacks control too--of his emotions. He's been told he's overly sensitive more times than he can count. So when Daniel's big heart leads him to rescue a dog that's about to be euthanized, he's relieved to find Ash willing to help. The two bond over their four-legged secret. When they start catching feelings for each other, however, things go from cute to complicated.
Kirkus Reviews (01/05/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/14/2021 Gr 5–8—In this heartfelt debut, Machias deftly explores the tension of middle school. Eighth grader Daniel, who is white, feels pulled between his own authentic self—who cries readily and cares deeply for others—and a mold of tough, unfeeling manhood that society, and his family, is pressing him into. Ash, who is also white, feels this tension doubly so as they explore their gender identity. Some days they are perfectly comfortable in "girl mode," but soon "guy mode" reappears. Though Ash's mother is affirming, their father pressures them to "choose a side" and prioritize the comfort of other people over their own. When Daniel rescues a lovable, elderly Chihuahua from being euthanized and quickly finds himself in over his head, Ash steps in to help, and the two develop a close friendship with possible romantic feelings. Although Ash experiences some bullying related to their identity, this is a sweetly affirming story at its core, and readers will applaud the blossoming relationship between Daniel and Ash, as well as their growing realization that it's okay to carve an identity outside of others' expectations. VERDICT A must-buy for middle schools and high schools, this story is an inspiring celebration of living authentically.—Catherine Cote, John Champe H.S., Aldie, VA - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 06/01/2021 Ash struggles to decide which bathroom to use at their new school—not a simple decision for a gender-fluid middle-schooler, even with the Rainbow Alliance community having Ash’s back. Daniel is a big-hearted kennel volunteer who spontaneously rescues Chewbarka, an older dog about to be euthanized. Told in chapters alternating between these two seventh-graders’ perspectives, Machias’ debut follows Ash and Daniel as they share the secret of Chewbarka’s rescue, stumble through romantic feelings for one another, and figure out who they want to be. Ash and Daniel are layered characters, written with compassion and courage, and ultimately this is a story about claiming your own identity in the face of opposition and rejection. While there are a few missed moments of calling out transphobia and allowing Ash to come out on their own terms, those are balanced by the ownership both Ash and Daniel take of their own narratives. Both Can Be True begins with two near-strangers trying to save a dog and ends with them saving themselves—and each other. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.