Fall 2021

Just Ash

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

Ashley “Ash” Bishop has always known who he is: a guy who loves soccer, has a crush on his friend Michelle, and is fascinated by the gruesome history of his hometown—Salem, Massachusetts. He’s also always known that he’s intersex, born with both male and female genitalia. But it’s never felt like a big deal until his junior year of high school, when Ash gets his first period in front of the entire boys’ soccer team. Now his friends and teachers see him differently, and his own mother thinks he should “try being a girl.”

As tensions mount with his parents and Ash feels more and more like an outcast, he can’t help feeling a deeper kinship with his ancestor Bridget Bishop, who was executed for witchcraft. She didn’t conform to her community’s expectations either; she was different, and her neighbors felt threatened by her. And she paid the ultimate price. Ash is haunted by her last recorded words: You will keep silent.

Ash realizes that he needs to find a way to stand up for who he really is, or the cost of his silence might destroy his life, too.

Praise for Just Ash:

“There are few books and even fewer authors who have endeavored to give readers a real glimpse into the life of an intersex teen, which is just one reason Santana’s debut is so unique. . . . Santana—who is intersex herself—has written a smart and deeply introspective main character with whom readers will easily sympathize.”—starred, Booklist

“A page-turning, harrowing, but ultimately empowering tour-de-force…a must read for all humans.”—I. W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above and This is My Brain in Love

“A tough, powerful, necessary read, especially as Intersex Awareness Day approaches.”—BuzzFeed

Format Your Price Add
978-1-5415-9924-6
$14.24
978-1-7284-1735-6
$23.99
Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Fiction, Young Adult
Category Diverse Books: LGBTQIA+, Diverse Books: Physical Disability & Illness, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: D Relationship Skills, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2021
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Lab ®
Language English
Number of Pages 224
Publication Date 2021-10-05
Text Type Fiction
BISACS YAF018060, YAF007000, YAF031000
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.5 x 8.25
Lexile 730
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Reviewed, Starred Reviews, and eSource

Reviews

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

“Ash Bishop is a guy, and he’s always been a guy. He was also born intersex. This hasn’t been a problem for Ash, until he starts his period on the soccer field and EVERYONE finds out. He’s mortified and doesn’t know what to do. His volatile and completely unappealing father can’t stand to even look at him. His mother thinks he should just “try being a girl.” This leads Ash down a lonely and isolating path. He’s kicked off the soccer team. He can’t use a bathroom without a problem, and then he’s beat up so badly that his mom decides to send him to private school-as a girl. Through it all, his best friend Michelle supports and loves him. In addition to this, Ash is fascinated with the Salem Witch Trials, especially his ancestor Bridget Bishop. When things become so bad that Ash can’t be at home anymore, he runs away. He finds a safe-haven with his sister and her girlfriend, but can it last? Told by Ash in a distinct voice, and with engaging craft, readers won’t be able to put down this book. The plot is well-crafted, and moves at an excellent pace. Interspersed throughout the book are a variety of characters who persecute Ash, but also, different advocates. This gives layers to the story, both in Ash’s character development, but also in understanding his experience for the reader. The author does an excellent job of explaining the medical sides to being intersex, as well as the social and personal ones. This book is an excellent read for high school students who may be intersex themselves, or for those who want to learn more about intersex people.Reviewer Rating: 5" —Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

Booklist

“There are few books and even fewer authors who have endeavored to give readers a real glimpse into the life of an intersex teen, which is just one reason Santana’s debut is so unique. . . . Santana—who is intersex herself—has written a smart and deeply introspective main character with whom readers will easily sympathize.”—starred, Booklist

School Library Journal

“An empowering, recommended story about Ash’s fight to define himself on his own terms.”—School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

“[T]his title offers frank education about intersex people and representation for an underrepresented group. Harrowing but hopeful.”—Kirkus Reviews

I.W. Gregorio

“A page-turning, harrowing, but ultimately empowering tour-de-force…a must read for all humans.”—I. W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above and This is My Brain in Love

Author: Sol Santana

Intersex author Sol Santana became one of only a handful of women to make the rank of Eagle Scout before being shunned by President Trump in 2017. She later turned in her badge. Her writing has received commendations from President Obama and NYS Assemblyman William Colton. She is studying to be a preschool teacher.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Just Ash

Ashley “Ash” Bishop has always known who he is: a guy who loves soccer, has a crush on his friend Michelle, and is fascinated by the gruesome history of his hometown—Salem, Massachusetts. He’s also always known that he’s intersex, born with both male and female… View available downloads →

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