Lambda Literary Award Winner * Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2016 * Children's Book Council Books Best Book of 2016 * Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Coming-of-Age Novel of 2016 and Best Teen Book of 2016 with Unforgettable Protagonists * Publishers Weekly Fall 2016 Flying Starts * William C.Read more...
Lambda Literary Award Winner * Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2016 * Children's Book Council Books Best Book of 2016 * Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Coming-of-Age Novel of 2016 and Best Teen Book of 2016 with Unforgettable Protagonists * Publishers Weekly Fall 2016 Flying Starts * William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist
All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she's always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she's trying to be a boy--that she should quit trying to be something she's not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty.
But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth--that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she'll have to man up.
Perfect for fans of Meredith Russo, Becky Albertalli, Alex Sanchez, and Jaye Robin Brown
- ISBN-13: 9780062404176
- ISBN-10: 0062404172
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- Publish Date: September 2016
- Page Count: 384
- Reading Level: Ages 14-UP
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-25
- Reviewer: Staff
In this powerful debut, Girard explores questions of family, friendship, loyalty, and identity through the voice of Pen Oliveira, a 16-year old girl who’s “not into dudes,” looks and dresses like a boy, and doesn’t “get why it’s such a big deal to people, the way I am.” The second child of conservative Portuguese parents who immigrated to Ontario, Pen has long felt accepted and protected by her older brother, Johnny, and her childhood friend Colby, who treats her like one of the guys. With Colby increasingly acting like “an entitled jerk,” especially toward girls, Pen confronts difficult choices about where her loyalty lies. New friendships with Colby’s ex Olivia and a girl named Blake, who shares Pen’s love of gaming and wants to be her girlfriend, make her reconsider the meaning of respect, which her parents have always demanded. Girard forcefully conveys the fear Pen lives with, having experienced frequent mockery and bullying, and her courage in aspiring to a safe, loving community for herself and her friends. Ages 14–up. Agent: Linda Epstein, Emerald City Literary. (Sept.)
Being honest about self identity
Sixteen-year-old Penelope, known as Pen, is a Portuguese girl who wears black, talks tough and struggles with who she is. She knows she’s a girl, but even though she doesn’t want to be girly, she doesn’t want to be a boy either. Pen’s identity crisis is one of the central issues of Girl Mans Up, but debut author M-E Girard takes the tale well beyond the stereotypical comments from Pen’s peers.
Pen not only learns to survive typical teenage problems, such as volatile, fickle friendships and old-school parents who try to turn her into someone she’s not, but also navigates the questions and expectations of her own sexuality and gender fluidity.
With raw, honest dialogue and vivid characterizations, Girl Mans Up will resonate beyond its intended audience. Many readers will identify with Pen, who wants more than anything to be allowed to be herself. Fortunately, the beautiful girl of Pen’s dreams sees beyond stereotypes to forge a true romantic relationship.
The truths that teens hold in their hearts—and the ones they sometimes show to the world—can be scary. “People should just be allowed to look in the mirror and see all kinds of possibilities,” Girard writes. “They should at least be able to see themselves reflected in there, even if they look all weird.”
Thanks to Girard, hopefully more students will be able to look inward and show respect outward as they embrace all differences.