Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 13 to 18
- Grade: 4
- Reading age: 8 to 9
Overweight and unhappy at home, Emmy gets sexually involved with a popular classmate so that people will think that she is worth liking. When she realizes that he is just using her, she decides to leave her home in Winnipeg to stay with her uncle's family in Vancouver. Emmy has always been intimidated by her perfect cousin Paige and Paige's cool friends, so she is surprised to find that the coolest of them is transgender. Emmy is instantly attracted to Jude (who used to be Judy), and starts hanging out at the coffee shop where he works. She even performs at the poetry slam Jude hosts there.
Emmy is never sure where she stands with Jude, and can't believe that such a confident, charismatic guy might actually be interested in her. Both her mother back in Winnipeg and Paige warn her away from Jude, saying that he will just use her and she will get hurt. But it's not until she almost falls again into the trap of casual sex to boost her self-esteem that Emmy realizes it's worth it to put your true self out there for real love.
About the author
Born in Denmark, Mette Bach grew up in North Delta. Her essays have appeared in Vancouver Review, First Person Queer (Arsenal Pulp Press), Second Person Queer (Arsenal Pulp Press) and Visible: A Femmethology (Homofactus Press). Her journalism has appeared in The Advocate, The Globe & Mail, and Xtra. She has an MFA in creative writing from UBC, writes a column called Not That Kind of Girl for Outlooks Magazine (Canada's LGBTQ Magazine) and Out Look Weekly (in Columbus, Ohio). She teaches four creative writing courses for the Continuing Studies Department at Langara College. Karen X. Tulchinsky directed Mette Bach's first screenplay, Ms. Thing, which played at film festivals around the world. Daniella Sorrentino directed her second screenplay, Viral, which will debut at festivals this summer. Off the Highway is her first book.
"The author brings the characters to life with great skill."
"Looking forward to seeing more titles from this author. Rated G: Good, even great at times, generally useful!"
"A very positive message of accepting others as they are."
"An earnest and ultimately sweet little novel that I'd recommend to certain readers."
"The writing was capturing, compelling, while the story was something that'll stay in my heart forever. "
"A sweetly unique and timely love story. The characters in this book are believable and worthy of the reader's care and time."
"A sweet love story. Delicately tackled some difficult issues facing teenagers."
"The book is highly effective in showing the importance of accepting difference in gender, relationships, and body types on a societal level, and the damage inflicted upon those who do not conform to expectations."
Quill & Quire
"This is a book designed for the teen but works well for all the young at heart. "