Into the Real fits the They/She/He category on at least two levels. First, Z Brewer goes by they/them. They have had a journey of self-discovery since their Vladimir Todd series days to this most recent novel. (I am currently reading another book by them that came before this with another name). And due to the main character, Quinn, taking a journeying to find their own gender identity, eventually learning the word genderqueer, also allows it to fit this category.
When Quinn finds themselves bouncing between three realities, where their gender identity plays a different and important role in finding their place and who they truly are, Quinn learns a lesson about how reality is what we make it, but that also means that all three of these worlds can be true. Quinn could find themselves living any of these lives if they make that choice. Quinn goes by she in one world, they in another, and him in the third. Each identity has its own privileges and disadvantages. The characters are relatable and interesting. A fun character plot point is that most of the people we meet in each world will play a part in all the worlds. Their portrayals might just give you a clue to which world might be a bit more “real” than the others.
The mix of supernatural and realism gives it a unique style, but Quinn’s story is the story of all of us. We are trying to find who we are and what our place in the world is. We are looking for a family/friends to support us. And we are all fighting monsters (real, imaginary and inside us). Into the Real is a bit dark in places. Physically (one world is covered in fog, and in another they are fighting a war) and emotionally (one world Quinn is sent to a Conversion camp, and in at least one world their parents and brother have been killed).
Also, sometimes this book was a bit slow in the writing style allowing places to drag out. The violence is not sugar coated, but nothing most (at least aged 12, but more likely 13, and up) couldn’t handle. I think Brewer put a bit of their own journey into Quinn’s. Thus, making them a character that is realistic, and both likeable and an unlikable character. Quinn is human with all the good and flaws that implies. Brewer has written a story about being human, about being monster and about becoming yourself.