Anyone who has ever felt as if they didn't fit in or couldn't be themselves will empathize with Liv right away. Liv's parents are very concerned with education and want Liv to attend the best middle school in town. That's understandable, but the dress code that means Liv will have to wear a skirt for the next three years is not. Why is Bankbridge Middle the only school in town that requires girls to wear a skirt to school? It's bad enough for girls who prefer pants, or would like a choice, but are stuck in them five days a week (we won't even go into the awful itchy tights). But what about kids like Liv who may have a female body, but know that on the inside they are really a boy? The dress code doesn't take transgender students into account at all.
Liv has slowly come to the realization that he is trans, and has been feeling more and more stressed about hiding this knowledge from everyone. It isn't that his moms wouldn't understand. Mom and Mamma know all about being outside what others call "normal." Mamma's entire family in Italy disowned her for marrying Mom, and they both would support Liv. But as anyone who has survived middle school knows, it is a gauntlet of bullies, spoiled kids, ridiculous social expectations, and other forms of adolescent torture. Liv is already teased for having a different hairstyle and for having two mothers. What would they do if they knew the whole truth?
The good news is that there are also nice kids, the kind that become friends and make life a little more bearable. And Liv's family is awesome - Mom, Mamma, little brother Enzo, Gram, and their dog Garibaldi. Readers will see Liv come to appreciate those positive relationships, and find ways to fight against the system that garner support and admiration. As Liv says to his friend Jacob, "You were right last night. When you said there's nothing to be ashamed of. No one should ever be ashamed of who they are."