Into the Real (Hardcover)
The experience of a trans person is unique and it is hard to capture in words. Z Brewer’s
Into the Real has accomplished what many struggle to do by portraying the experience of a
genderqueer person and what it means to accept yourself, faults and all. Through the lens of the
multiverse theory, Brewer intertwines three separate stories into one, expertly threading them
together without losing the attention of the reader. Quinn, the main character in all three worlds,
is hardened and weary from their battle against oppression, bigotry and their own family. Though
they are theoretically the same person in each storyline, Quinn represents not just one facet of the
genderqueer experience, but three. It is difficult to accurately praise the genius of Z Brewer’s
work without spoiling the ending; in short, Quinn is a lovable character and an educator in a
world where adults and young people alike fall short of fully understanding the plight of many
LGBTQ+ people in the current social and political climate.
The male presenting Quinn is a soldier in a civil war that is reminiscent of today’s
politics and perhaps foretells a future where the worst-case scenario comes to fruition.
Meanwhile, the female presenting Quinn is a victim of a conversion camp, illuminating the
reader of the very real horrors that some LGBTQ+ people face. Finally, the genderqueer
presenting Quinn is closed in on all side by fictional horrors that represent the horrors of the
mind and the battles that queer folkx face from society and their own families.
Brewer’s storytelling is complex and beautiful from beginning to end. There are not
enough words to describe how brilliant this novel is within a short review; though it is a YA
novel, it can easily be enjoyed by adult readers as well. This novel can and will change lives with
it’s powerful message.
In this gripping, genre-defying YA novel from New York Times bestselling author Z Brewer, three teens—one who presents as genderqueer, one who presents as female, and one who presents as male—are caught up in three very different stories of survival. But those stories intersect as the teens start to realize that they might in fact be a single, singular “they,” alternating among worlds—and that accepting themself might be the key to defeating the monsters that plague them in all three.
Three Quinns. Three Brumes. Three realities.
The first Brume is a waking nightmare, overrun by literal monsters and cutthroat survivors. For Quinn, who is openly genderqueer, the silver lining is their friendship with Lia—and that there might still be hope for salvation.
The second Brume is a prison with no bars. Forced to “sort out” their sexuality with other teens at Camp Redemption, Quinn must also figure out why presenting as female has never felt quite right.
The third Brume is a war zone. For Quinn, who presents as male, leading the Resistance against an authoritarian government is difficult, since even the Resistance might not accept them if they knew Quinn’s truth.
As Quinn starts to realize that they might be one person alternating among these three worlds and identities, they wonder: Which world is the real one? Or do they all contain some deeper truth?
About the Author
Z Brewer is the New York Times bestselling author of several books, including the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, and more short stories than they can recall. Their preferred pronouns are they/them. When not drying readers’ tears because they killed off a beloved character, they write books. Z is also an outspoken mental health and anti-bullying advocate. Plus, they have awesome hair. Z lives in Missouri with a husband person, one children person, and four furry overlords that some people refer to as “cats.” Visit Z online at www.zbrewerbooks.com.
"Teens who are contemplating the constructs of their identity will appreciate Quinn's company."
— School Library Journal