A Season for April (Part 1: Summer Storms) is a realistic and deeply spiritual novel, this is the story of a young person, born in the body of a boy, but with the mind of a girl. This child spends the first decade of her life presenting as the boy she phenotypically is, desperately trying to fit in as a male. However, unlike most transgender individuals, although not too dissimilar from those on the intersex spectrum, this child suffers from a rare genetic condition that remains unidentified until her early teen years.
As puberty begins, emerging female characteristics have the parents concerned. A medical specialist discovers that the young Antonio is out of kilter genetically. This revelation confirms Antonio's thinking that even as a young child, this charming little person had a sense that something was wrong and that he should have been a girl. The novel is in part the story of Antonio's transition to April. But it is also a story about true love and support, prejudice, hatred and violence, set on a foundation contextualized by the always interesting and sometimes inspiring Church of Latter Day Saints. This is a group which the author often depicts with love, but realistically having some members who are as flawed in their thinking as those in any other organization having guidelines that "know and judge" what is right and what is wrong for others.
Much deeper than it appears at first glance, JP Alden's book speaks to us about genuine forgiveness. It tells us that if we learn to forgive, accept and embrace that which we truly are, even our imperfect side, only then can one really live and learn to accept others. Regretting not having had that perfect childhood or even a half-way decent one not only serves no purpose, if we actually lived and grew up in that fantasy world of our dreams, we probably would have no real depth of character. The author describes this attribute as a virtue honed only through the pain and disappointment of living life's experiences to the hilt.
This is also a book about the love of parents, siblings and the bond of real friendship; about the inequities of society, our flawed legal system and the way nasty people sometimes react and treat others who are dissimilar to them. It is a novel that gives one pause. If our heroine April had a "bona fide" reason to transition to a female gender role to rectify her clearly identifiable genetic variance, a gender transition which in itself was only marginally accepted by a judgmental society, imagine what people having only the "excuse" that they know in their heart of hearts they were born in the wrong body, but not the genetic incongruence must endure to transition?