Ms. Ila’s Middle Grade Reading Club: Rick by Alex Gino

Let's celebrate LGBTQ+ or QUILTBAGP+ month this June!  Our book club title this month is called Rick by Alex Gino.  This book fits into the genre called Transgender Fiction.

I really enjoyed Melissa (aka George) by Alex Gino.  When I saw that Gino had published other books, I was eager to read the other titles!

One of the lesser known initials of QUILTBAGP+ is the initial A. Rick, who is not attracted to anyone, is confused about his feelings.  He doesn't understand why he isn't attracted to anyone and feels that there is something wrong with him, especially after listening to his "friend" Jeff.

Of course, Rick learns that there is nothing wrong with him when he starts attending his school's Rainbow Spectrum Club.

LGBTQ+ Resources at the Library

If you are like Rick and you want to learn more about LGBTQ+ and/or its history, you can start your learning with the Library's LGBTQ+ Resources page:

  • Organizations Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community:  Rick sought help at his school's Rainbow Spectrum Club.  If your school doesn't have a resource like the Rainbow Spectrum Club, you can learn about resources online at our site.  In addition, Alex Gino has a resource page, too!
  • Booklists prepared by our staff about teen fiction and graphic novels.
  • Blogs.

If you would like more information about the history of LGBTQ+, the Library has two resources:

Not only does Rick have questions about himself, he also has questions about his friend, Jeff.

What Kind of Friend is Jeff?

Rick has been best friends with Jeff for a very long time.

But does the length of a friendship determine whether that friendship is good?

Though Rick and Jeff still enjoy the video games that define their friendship, Rick has started to observe troubling opinions and behavior in his old friend Jeff.  These opinions and behaviors become increasingly problematical as they endanger the new friendships that Rick has begun at the Rainbow Spectrum Club.

Almost every person has had a problem with a person like Jeff.  Jeff is what is known as a bully.

According to, bullying involves a lot of people.  Here are some videos to watch.

If you are being bullied by someone like Jeff, says that you can Get Help Now.

Here are some things that says that you can do:

Questions to Consider:

  • Why do you think that Rick felt the need to hide his attendance of the Rainbow Spectrum Club from Jeff?
  • Do you think that Jeff thought that Rick agreed with his vandalism and hostile opinions?
  • What do you think Jeff's Mom said to Jeff after she picked Jeff up from school?
  • Is Jeff incapable of change or do you think there is hope?
  • Do you think Kelly is being just as intolerant towards Rick as others have been towards her friend Melissa?
  • What can you do if you see bullying or if you are being bullied?

Next month, we'll read Raphael Simon's book, The Anti-book.  This adventurous book is not quite what it seems to be.  Let's find out when someone tries to suppress their anger!

If you have any questions or comments, please write them in the comments below!