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Children's Fiction General

Made That Way

by (author) Susan Ketchen

Oolichan Books
Initial publish date
Oct 2010
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2010
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Grade: 6


In this sequel to Born That Way, Sylvia, fourteen, is now taking medication for Turner's Syndrome, the genetic disorder with the missing X chromosome. Without treatment, Sylvia will remain short, undeveloped and infertile, and the object of ongoing teasing at school. Unfortunately Sylvia experiences serious side-effects to her medication and grapples with what it means to become 'normal'. If the hornless unicorn she dreams about is still very much a unicorn, then is Sylvia still a young woman when she has no ovaries? Against her wishes, Grandpa has shipped Sylvia her first pony, who also turns out to not be normal, or at least not normal for a horse. He bugles instead of whinnying, and there's something odd about his ears. Brooklyn is a hinny, a hybrid offspring of a male horse and a female donkey. Hinnies are also missing a chromosome, unusually short and sterile. But no one talks about a 'hinny disorder'. Sylvia wonders if it is possible that she isn't 'disordered' either. Could she be a hybrid? And how bad would that be, given what they said at the car dealership about hybrids being the way of the future? Determined to take charge of her life, Sylvia first gains mastery over her lucid dreams. She challenges her unicorn spirit guide, she directs him, and eventually no longer needs him. Strength flows into her 'real life' where, without being reckless or a bully, she stands up to her parents, she stands up to her tormentors at school, she even stands up to her hero Kansas.

About the author

Susan Ketchen was born in Nanaimo, B.C. She holds an M.Sc. degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has successfully pursued an alarming number of not overly-long careers and now resides on a small Vancouver Island hobby farm with her husband, two horses, two cats and a flock of chickens.

Susan is a member of the B.C. Horse Council, the Comox Valley Dressage Club, and the Comox Valley Writer’s Society. She is a monitor with the Wildlife Tree Stewardship Program, giving her an official excuse to spend many hours staring out the window... at the eagles perching and nesting at the edge of the property. She is interested in animal training and teaches her horses to recognize a remarkable number of words, play the piano with their noses, and identify flash cards. Her favourite places to come up with new ideas are the barn, the pasture, and the shower. She has never received creative inspiration while vacuuming.

Susan Ketchen's profile page

Librarian Reviews

Made That Way

Sylvia gets her horse, but things do not turn out as expected. In the sequel to Born That Way, Sylvia starts taking growth hormones but the side effects make continued use impossible. Dizziness while doubling her cousin Taylor results in a bike accident with Taylor losing her big toe. Despite this ending Taylor’s dancing career, the girls become closer. Sylvia accepts that she will never develop into a physically normal adult. She is developing emotionally, though, as she focuses on what she can do, which includes working through problems with family and friends.

Ketchen is a marriage and family therapist who lives on a small hobby farm on Vancouver Island.

Caution: Sexual terms are mentioned, though not always defined, as Sylvia navigates the transition to the adult world. As her body will always remain that of a child, she struggles to understand all the fuss about sex.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2011-2012.

Other titles by Susan Ketchen