If I Can Give You That (Hardcover)
For fans of Kacen Callender and Mason Deaver comes a heart-tugging coming-of-age YA debut that takes a poignant look at gender identity, sexuality, friendship, and family—both the one we’re born into and the one we find for ourselves.
Seventeen-year-old Gael is used to keeping to himself. Though his best friend convinces him to attend a meeting of Plus, a support group for LGBTQIA+ teens, Gael doesn’t plan on sharing much. Where would he even start?
Between supporting his mother through her bouts of depression, dealing with his estranged father, and navigating senior year as a transgender boy at a conservative Tennessean high school, his life is a lot to unload on strangers.
But after meeting easygoing Declan, Gael is welcomed into a new circle of friends who make him want to open up. As Gael’s friendship with Declan develops into something more, he finds himself caught between his mother’s worsening mental health and his father’s attempts to reconnect.
After tragedy strikes, Gael must decide if he can risk letting the walls around his heart down and fully opening up to those who care for him.
Michael Gray Bulla is a recent graduate of Wells College. He was named the 2017 Nashville Youth Poet Laureate with Southern Word and is the author of the poetry collection Letters to the Home. He is also the cohost of the literary podcast Bookends. Originally from Nashville, Gray currently resides in Ithaca, NY. Visit him online at www.michaelgraybulla.com or on Twitter or Instagram @graybulla.
"Sweet and powerfully compassionate, If I Can Give You That explores the power of family—the ones we choose and the ones chosen for us." — Z.R. Ellor, author of May the Best Man Win
“Bulla deftly weaves joy and sorrow, sweetness and hardship in this delightful debut.” — Adi Alsaid, author of Let’s Get Lost and We Didn’t Ask for This
“A deeply realized trans coming-of-age story that’s more of a glorious coming-of-self. This book takes no easy exits and provides no simple answers in exploring family, first love, and the power of self—and it soars! Debut author Michael Gray Bulla is a voice to watch." — Adam Sass, award-winning author of Surrender Your Sons and The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers
"Michael Gray Bulla's If I Can Give You That offers an emotional and deeply honest depiction of queerness and mental health. At times heartwarming and at times heartbreaking, this remarkable debut novel will remind you that loving fearlessly and letting other people in is the best way to live—especially when times get tough." — Daniel Aleman, author of Indivisible
Bulla handles complex topics such as consent, gender and sexuality, and mental illness with nuance, and Gael’s sensitive first-person narration believably renders his internality and gradual growth in this confidently written portrait of a young queer person finding his way. — Publishers Weekly
Gael’s story feels both tender and real. It focuses on the difficulties of growing up with a parent who struggles with depression and suicidal ideation while never blaming her for the state of her mental health. It highlights the importance of community and finding the people you can rely on and also takes readers through Gael’s process of finding his voice. While there is excitement at the climax, overall, the book is quiet and thoughtful—a bit like Gael himself. A sweet and emotional story of queer adolescence. — Kirkus Reviews
Bulla has written a fine, character-driven novel with strong trans representation. — Booklist