Agnes Borinsky is a writer from Baltimore, now living in Los Angeles. She mostly writes
essays and plays, and has collaborated on all sorts of projects in basements, backyards, gardens, circus tents, classrooms, bars, and theaters. Sasha Masha is her first novel.
Alex feels like he is in the wrong body. His skin feels strange against his bones. And then comes Tracy, who thinks he’s adorably awkward, who wants to kiss him, who makes him feel like a Real Boy. But it is not quite enough. Something is missing.
As Alex grapples with his identity, he finds himself trying on dresses and swiping on lipstick in the quiet of his bedroom. He meets Andre, a gay boy who is beautiful and unafraid to be who he is. Slowly, Alex begins to realize: maybe his name isn’t Alex at all. Maybe it’s Sasha Masha.
Thank you to Libro.Fm for the advanced listening copy of this book so that I could review it. It took me a while to start this one because I wanted to follow along with the ebook but that was taking too long to get to me. I found that there is no need to follow along with this one as it is an easy listen to.
Thoughts and Themes: I listened to this book on audio and thought that it was a great book to listen to. This book is a coming of age story that focuses on gender identity and sexuality.
This book has a lot packed in to such a short book and it is mostly character driven rather than plot driven. I really liked how we get to see what Sasha Masha is thinking and how much of his figuring out who he is is done through internal dialogue.
What I really liked about this story is how unclear everything is for Sasha Masha, this makes the character read as a teenager which I find important in a coming of age story. I thought it was realistic to see his struggles as he thinks about being trans and how that would affect him and his relationships with his parents and friends.
The ending of this book felt unfinished and honestly I really liked that. I felt that the story was saying Sasha Masha’s journey is unfinished so the ending is open ended. I think its important to show that this journey can be ongoing and doesn’t have to end at any point in time.
Characters: Through this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with Sasha Masha. I really liked seeing that Sasha Masha has a supportive friend group through the whole story even if a few people struggle with coming to terms with who he is.
I liked that we get to see Sasha Masha dating Tracy and how that figures into him figuring out who he is. I thought that him figuring that out along with how that played into his relationship was an interesting aspect to add to this story.
Writing Style: This story is told in first person through Sasha Masha’s point of view and often through internal dialogue. I think its important that we are mostly inside of Sasha Masha’s head because it leaves us with the same confusion that he is going through.