Flocks by L. Nichols is an odd little gem that proves you might not get what you expected, but you get what is needed.
I am giving it a five as it is a 4.9 due to are a few questions I still have, but over all this is a “comfortable” book, despite the tough subject matter. SPOILER: If you were like me and did a little looking around about the book, you will learn the narrator is a trans-male (before the revel in the novel) who is telling you the highlights of his story. You see him from a young child knowing they were “different” but cannot balance those feelings with the contradictions of their church. You see a middle-schooler trying to balance the contradictions of being a straight A student which is good and bad: good for parents and teachers; bad: the teasing from students of being a “nerd,” with being over-weight and the issue of the “D” word. Up to high school and college where they finally come-out to themselves and finally learn why the dress never fit.
I would give Flocks to almost any age (mostly teen to adult, but if a parent read it with their child, it would not necessarily be over the head of many pre-teens). The graphic novel format could be a turn off to some, but I think this “easier” approach is actually very good at getting you into the story without overwhelming you with a lot of “extra” that might bog a reader down.
Nicholas’ illustrations are the make-or-break part of the book. I am not a fan. However, I love how they represent the feelings around him and how he is feeling. I love the realism. I do not think I have ever enjoyed watching someone barf up a Saturday night before. Or the clever way Nichols shows “the habit” (as the character of L is a doll, their stuffing falls out, which frankly was more intense then if they showed blood). The photographs that start each chapter was also a nice touch.