Depeches-toi, Depeches-toi et Attends

When we first meet Johnny, he's 12, a budding Goth with a cool spider-girl babysitter. Then his dad dies, and his mom, crippled with grief, can't afford to pay Tessa to come over after school anymore. Johnny has to be the one to make sure the bills get paid and the fridge stays stocked. Drinking helps him deal.

Fast-forward four years, and someone slips him E at a club. That's how Johnny finally ends up in rehab, and that's where he first hears Debbie Harry, singing "Sunday Girl" in French.

Now Blondie is his drug of choice, and he can't get enough of Debbie. She's cool, tough, and beautiful—and more than he wants her, Johnny kinda sorta wants to be her.

In her debut novel, Meagan Brothers tenderly explores what all this means for Johnny. He doesn't want to be a girl, but he wants to be like a certain girl. Is he gay? Well, he has a new girlfriend who he's pretty crazy about. But when that girlfriend buys him a Debbie Harry dress at the thrift store, he's not completely opposed to trying it on.

Teen transvestite lit is definitely a new one for me. But the question of how we relate to our rock stars based on gender has long held a certain fascination. I've always been more drawn to female singers because of the idea that I could be them instead of just being the one that they're singing to.

In some ways Johnny's character reads like a girl, and I don't know if that's because the book was written by a woman or because he's such a sensitive, "artistic" guy. Either way, he's a sweetheart. I'd be his girlfriend.