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Parrotfish

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,290 Ratings  ·  387 Reviews
Angela Katz-McNair has never felt quite right as a girl, but it's a shock to everyone when she cuts her hair short, buys some men's clothes, and announces she'd like to be called by a new name, Grady. Although Grady is happy about his decision to finally be true to himself, everybody else is having trouble processing the news. Grady's parents act hurt; his sister is mortif ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published July 10th 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kiki
Jun 07, 2012 Kiki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sharks and preteens
Recommended to Kiki by: A shark who eats preteens
So a few months ago while I was still living in my last house, which I shared with a formerly-estranged family member, I was rooting through the kitchen cupboard looking for a snack when I came across a packet of Twizzlers.

I'd never tasted Twizzlers before, because duh, I'm British and whenever I wanted candy in the UK, I'd go to the nearest Post Office and buy it in grams, over the counter, from a lady who'd been working there since she was twenty-five, and now had glasses on a chain. She'd we
...more
Colin
This book is Friendly and Educational. The author was clearly trying to write a book that encourages trans kids, and because of that it was totally unrealistic, with well-informed and sympathetic allies coming out of the woodwork, the school bullies conveniently dispatched and made to look like ignorant fools, an accepting family and even a kiss from the most popular girl in school. Because of all these happy things, it's pretty adorable, though. It's way better than its transgirl counterpart, L ...more
Ursa
Jan 13, 2014 Ursa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: who needs to feel open-minded without bothering to do their own research
GRADY: And yet, things do change, Father. You need only look at me to see the truth of that!

EVE: Yes, this year has seen your Angela become your Grady and exchange her long dresses for his sturdy trousers.

LAURA: And trade her long locks for the haircut of a boy.

According to Ms. Wittlinger, being a boy means wearing “sturdy trousers” and having “the haircut of a boy”, which she described as “shaved at the neck, floppy in the front.” Uh huh because clothes and haircut are the very things that d
...more
Jack
Oct 17, 2007 Jack rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
am i allowed to be critical of a book of such monumental importance?

if i am, i have to say that i've read about three hundred books by better writers. but i've never read one about a teenaged ftm who is transitioning with pride and courage.

so, i'm conflicted.

issue driven books. morals. badly written dialogue. woefully pedestrian metaphors about christmas, babies, and napoleon dynamite.

then, pride and courage and sadness and confusion and good friends and family coming around.

what to say?
Evan
Nov 04, 2013 Evan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is trans or knows someone or is just interested
I think this book as far as I know is the first YA book that deals with a female to male transperson as its main character. Another YA book, named Luna by Julie Ann Peters has a male to female transperson as its main character. This book takes place in about a month's time. From the weekend after Thanksgiving till Christmas time. The week before the book starts, Grady has cut his hair in the style of a boy and bought boy clothes. He tells his family and the people in his life that his new name i ...more
Florian
Dec 26, 2014 Florian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, ya, trans
Add this to the list of books with trans characters written by well meaning but clueless cis people.

Meet Grady, the recently out trans boy who is dealing with the fallout of friends, family, and strangers coming to terms with his social transition. His mom and sister are knee deep in the "why am I cursed with a trans family member this is clearly all about me" quagmire, his ex-best friend is now rubbing elbows with the neighborhood transphobe, and he's trying to get everyone to call him by his c
...more
PVPA Library
Dec 11, 2007 PVPA Library rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people wanting to know more about transgendered teens
i'm tired of coming out books. sure, it's necessary to explain to folks through fiction what the life of a tranny can be like, but i'd prefer to have tranny people living real lives with other struggles who are totally okay with being tranny. same goes for other kinds of queer. let's have some good love stories or coming of age stories or fantasy stories where the characters just happen to be queer or tranny. so, this book is a good intro for beginners or teens desperate to see themselves (f2m) ...more
Mel Jordan
Aug 11, 2015 Mel Jordan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wish people would stop recommending this book to trans kids, to be perfectly honest. The author very obviously didn't do extensive research, because her portrayal of a ftm teenager is pretty damn inaccurate. She portrays him as binding with ace bandages and no repercussions, a misconception that can actually kill people, as wrapping a "large ACE bandage" around one's chest can lead to severely damaged ribs and/or suffocation. Not as simple as Grady would have it seem. And then we have t ...more
Aubri
Jan 27, 2015 Aubri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ignoring the constant use of "transgendered," the book was still a disappointment in many ways. Sexuality was presented as binary (gay or hetero), with bisexuality being erased, and gender was binary as well (boy or girl). Gender identity and gender expression were treated as synonymous. It encouraged the harmful stereotype of masculine man and feminine woman. It indiscriminately interchanged "gender" and "sex." The story felt very trite and saccharine. Everyone was accepting by the end of the b ...more
Kyle (Slytherin-bookworm-guy)
So I'm on the fence about this book. It's great that there is actually a ftm trans book, and it shows some of the struggle people go through, I related to some of the book, which I guess I was looking for. But at the same time it was unrealistic. The family go from disliking the change to not minding so quickly, the kids at school go from taking the piss to everyone being on his side. The cool girl at the school kisses him and says how much she likes him, and then goes back to her ex boyfriend. ...more
Sarah
Aug 06, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some reviewers have written that Parrotfish is unrealistic because of the supportive friends and family in Grady's life. I can't be sure. Of course there are stories of rejection leading to suicide and homelessness that are important and need to be told, but one thing that literature does for us is to imagine, and when a novel imagines something better, ways of being with others that is better, then that feels possible.

I'll invite my middle school students to read this as a mirror for some (per
...more
April
"And why was changing gender such a big honking deal anyway? People changed lots of other personal things all the time. They dyed their hair and dieted themselves to near death. They took steroids to build muscles and got breast implants and nose jobs so they'd resemble their favorite movie stars. They changed names and majors and jobs and husbands and wives. They changed religions and political parties. They moved across the country or the world-even changed nationalities. Why was gender the on ...more
Jeydon
Aug 02, 2012 Jeydon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zak
Jul 02, 2013 Zak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I were rating this book purely on the writing, characters, plot etc. I'd be giving it 3, maybe 4 stars if it were lucky. But I feel a very strong connection to this book, and feel compelled to say a very very icky cliche thing about it, which is that it changed my life, and so the 5-star rating seems compulsory.

I grew up in small-town New Hampshire and discovered the word 'transgender' at age 14 in the 9th grade and proceeded to have a full-blown identity crisis for the next 2-3 years. I knew
...more
Jack
Oct 27, 2008 Jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All adults or teens interested in, or struggling, with queer issues
Shelves: teen
I really enjoyed this book -- a warm, good-natured, and funny book about a very complicated issue.

At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to a boy named Grady, who just a week before was a girl named Angela. As Grady struggles with finding acceptance for his change among his school and family, discovering friends and support around him and learning the joys of being oneself.

Some may argue that the book is too simple, that the process of coming out as transgender could never be as smooth
...more
Sophia Jones
Mar 08, 2016 Sophia Jones rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, lgbtq
I understand the importance of this book, since it was one of the first of its kind about trans teens, and it's unfortunate that it was so poorly executed.It would be a great read for those new to trans issues and terminology, and most of the book is spent going over these. However, most of the characters were incredibly unbelievable, especially the gym teacher, who talks back to the principal at no cost to her job. The bully was comically evil, and I get that we were supposed to hate her, sinc ...more
Kathryn
Jul 08, 2015 Kathryn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, lgbt
I had a hard time decided how to rate this book. One the one hand, I really like that Wittlinger chose to write about a FTM transgender teen who is proud of his identity and open about it. On the other hand, the writing was mediocre and some of the characters were pretty shallow. In the end I decided to settle for three stars.

Grady, formerly Angela, feels that coming out is the right decision. Overall he's glad he did, but he didn't expect how his friends and family would react. Especially his b
...more
Milo (The Emo)
I found this book truly amazing.

the way Transgenderism was described through the mind of Grady was incredible. it really says something to the people who really don't know what it's like to be transgendered. it spoke to me and opened my eyes to what they feel inside and I know now not to judge too quickly. ((not that I ever did))

the life of Grady wasn't easy and the rollocoster ride he faced was heartbreaking, dealing with bullying, narrow minded people, a first love, making new friends and adj
...more
Susannah Goldstein
I wanted to like it because this is a book that should exist, but it's a book that needs better writing.
Julianne
Sep 01, 2015 Julianne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2015, sept15
Before I get into my review I just want to make a note that other reviewers have made. If you are a trans male please dont bind with ace bandages. You can cause serious damage to your body.

I was really looking forward to reading this. You dont often find ftm trans stories. I was somewhat disappointed though. Sebastians character was probably the saving grace of the story. He has reactions that you hope everyone would have. The scene where Grady's mom calls him Grady for the first time, instead
...more
Mirrordance
Quello che di solito viene definito un romanzo di formazione, non profondo come "Il giovane Holden", ma forse appropriato per i tempi attuali. Un romanzo per young adults ma anche per preadolescenti.
Vediamo di vederne soprattutto i lati positivi nella giusta ottica, ossia che è stato scritto per un pubblico giovane, molto giovane.

E' scritto in modo semplice e diretto, forse un po' troppo semplice ma permette una buona identificazione.

Ha un lieto fine, è la versione romanzo di alcune serie tele
...more
Courtney
Aug 22, 2012 Courtney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Sometimes I wish we didn't have to be one thing or the other. You know, male or female. I wish there wasn't that big division between the two. Does that make any sense?" So asks Grady, the narrator of Parrotfish, which derives the title from a species that changes gender when they need to and become aptly, the alpha males of a brilliant green with a yellow stripe. Grady, unfortuantely, does not have such an easy transition. When he decides to come out to the world as a boy between Thanksgiving ...more
Anina
Oct 22, 2008 Anina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
This book is about a transgendered teen exploring his identity.

I really liked it because it did not skirt any aspects of his experience. This is the only YA book I know that discusses these issues that way. (If you know of any others, please recommednd them to me though).

The one critique I have is that the 14 year old protaganist was so calm and knowledgeable about his situtaion that to me it was not believable. He was able to calmly respond to every teacher, parent, and mean kid's comments with
...more
Coffeeboss
At the start of Parrotfish, teenage Angela has just announced to her family and the world that she would like to be addressed as he, and his new name is Grady. As the narrator, Grady is totally believable as a teenage boy that just happens to be stuck in the wrong body. He can't see why others have such a problem with it, while at the same time encounters acceptance in surprising places. His old best friend (a girl) has a hard time with the whole thing, but he finds a new pal in the geeky Sebast ...more
Kyle Carter
Mar 23, 2016 Kyle Carter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger is an amazing book about a girl getting through life slowly turning into a boy. This book shows so much emotion and what it feels like to be a transgender going through all the harassment and pain because of bullies and people not understanding.Angela wants to become a boy because deep inside she always felt like a guy, so she came up with a plan to slowly become who she wants to be. Angela loses friends and family over who she is because people just don’t understa ...more
Rowan
Feb 12, 2016 Rowan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trash
As a trans man, I hated this book. It was superficial and dysphoric to read to say the least. You'd think that a cisgender author who thought they could write a book about transitioning and being trans would have at least reaserched enough to know that calling us "transgendered" or "transgenders" was not even a little correct, let alone big issues such as the entire gender binary, which Wittlinger screwed up in a way it'd take an essay to explain. There are so many technical errors in this book ...more
Henry
Jan 16, 2016 Henry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, trans
There's a lot of things wrong with this book, but I read it right after I read the horrific "Luna," so it gets four stars just for virtue of not having a whiny cis girl protagonist who misgenders the trans character half the time. "Parrotfish" is definitely a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine.
Let's start with the good. Grady is referred to by his real name in the narration, rather than his dead name. When a character misgenders him, it is pointed out both in dialogue and narration that it makes h
...more
Cheyenne
This book is about Angela Katz-Mcnair who never felt quit right as a girl.Her days leads up to the day where she decides to become Grady,a guy he is not quit ready for all the reactions he gets from everyone his sister is terrified and his best friend Eve won't even take the time to notice he's still alive in public all Grady wants is to be himself why must this one simple thing be so hard?



I wish people would stop saying they would recommend this to a trans kid or someone going through a transit
...more
Reese
Sep 02, 2015 Reese rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coming from someone who is pretty much done with the questioning part of their gender identity, this book was...okay. Though it tackled an important issue aside from that there wasn't anything that wowed me. The writing was good but not great, the characters weren't super deep, and it felt pretty predictable. However, if you're still new to figuring out your gender I would recommend this book because I think that a lot of the things that Grady has to say regarding the subject of gender are very ...more
Rebecca
As a high school sophomore, Angela has finally decided to take the big step and change her name to Grady--and her gender to male. Over the course of his first month as an official boy, Grady faces somewhat expected though still difficult pushback, rejection, disgust, and cruelty from family, school administration, friends, and classmates alike. He also encounters unexpected support and kindness (and maybe even a hint of romance) from others, and comes to a greater understanding of how his change ...more
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Ellen Wittlinger is the critically acclaimed author of the teen novels Heart on My Sleeve, The Long Night of Leo and Bree, Razzle, What's in a Name, and Hard Love (an American Library Association Michael L. Printz Honor Book, a Lambda Literary Award winner, and a Booklist Editors' Choice). She has a bachelor's degree from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and an M.F.A. from the University ...more
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“People changed lots of other personal things all the time. They dyed their hair and dieted themselves to near death. They took steroids to build muscles and got breast implants and nose jobs so they'd resemble their favorite movie stars. They changed names and majors and jobs and husbands and wives. They changed religions and political parties. They moved across the country or the world — even changed nationalities. Why was gender the one sacred thing we weren’t supposed to change? Who made that rule?” 86 likes
“But you can only lie about who you are for so long without going crazy.” 45 likes
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