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Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  10,949 ratings  ·  1,435 reviews
Growing up, Liz Prince wasn't a girly girl, dressing in pink tutus or playing pretty princess like the other girls in her neighborhood. But she wasn't exactly one of the guys, either. She was somewhere in between. But with the forces of middle school, high school, parents, friendship, and romance pulling her this way and that, "the middle" wasn't exactly an easy place to b ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Zest Books (first published August 26th 2014)
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Rachel I teach middle school and I chose not to recommend it. I wanted to share this book with a number of students . . . but decided not to. Unapologetic ci…moreI teach middle school and I chose not to recommend it. I wanted to share this book with a number of students . . . but decided not to. Unapologetic cigarette smoking is pervasive. I don't expect the author to lie or sugarcoat her youth, but I wish she had toned it down, or expressed some remorse. There are many things about this book to love. Many middle school students could relate to her exploration of gender roles, and her willingness to be true to self. It could also be a good book for building awareness and empathy in students who do fall into traditional identities of male and female. I was really disappointed by the generic product placement of cigarettes. (less)

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Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hello! I'm an fairly biased reviewer, because I wrote this book, but I figured I'd throw my 2 cents in anyhow.

I learned a lot from writing this memoir, which is my first full-length narrative graphic novel. It was a challenge to write a book that spans the first 18 years of my life in a way that is succinct, engaging, and entertaining, without being overly redundant or narcissistic (I reserved my narcissism for the glowing review I'm giving myself here). Most importantly though, it was challengi
Emily May

This may be a graphic novel, but it is also one of the most honest, refreshing, detailed and touching memoirs I have ever read. I have one slight complaint and it isn't really a complaint, more of a little suggestion as to how this could have been better - if a couple of the f-bombs had been removed and this became a book we could give to younger kids. Because, damn, in a world of pink glitter for girls and blue guns for boys, younger kids really do need a book like this.

Tomboy is the tale of Li
Raeleen Lemay
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
GOOD STUFF. I'm glad I finally picked this up, nearly a year after I purchased it 🙄
Whitney Atkinson
I feel like this book waited a little too long to introduce the point/moral, because for the entire book Liz has really unhealthy thoughts and she discusses her hatred of women quite often, but never actually addresses that those thoughts were unhealthy until the last pages of the book. But overall I really really enjoyed this. I thought the narrative was funny and Liz's story is really worth getting to know, and the overall theme of accepting yourself & your gender is really great. ...more
David Schaafsma
7/21/17 Reread for my summer YA Graphic Novels class with a focus on girls and women, a memoir for tomboys of all ages (and those that make fun of them, too, I guess). I liked it even more this time around.

10/17/14 Liz Prince writes this memoir from her younger self's point of view, with her Jeffery Brownish artwork to match, which I like so much. I'm here to tell ya that this book is really good, and useful in the world to all those who have issues with their bodies, their gender identities, w
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

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I was going to say “my apologies for this being long and rambly,” but I’m fairly certain 99.9999% of my reviews have become long and rambly so I’m no longer apologizing ; )

Commercial Photography

Strange little story . . . Tomboy popped up on my library recommendations as an option when I had to go on the waiting list for Gracefully Grayson. Why the library would recommend a book to me that had an even longer waiting list than the one I originally int
Debbie "DJ"
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, graphic-novel
My first graphic novel. While I can't say this is the form I like to read in, it was a compelling look at gender. It has to take a lot of talent to write a memoir in such a way. In fact, this could have been my memoir, as I related to it so much. Liz Prince, while born a girl, does not fit into the typical "girl" stereotypes. Liz is a tomboy, who's first memory is that of hating dresses. She wants to wield a sword, not wear a Tierra. Yet, every Disney movie she sees, shows girls being rescued by ...more
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was at a party this weekend where one of the attendees was talking about this book. He said his 10-year-old daughter had just read it twice in 24 hours. She told him "This book is about me, dad!"
I can't wait to read it.


Read it, loved it.
Give it to kids who are into Raina Telgemeier, Roller Girl, Jimmy Gownley and El Deafo*, and are ready for more mature themes and content. You know how Victoria Jamieson shows her character working through identity and relationship issues? Here, Prince
Deborah Markus
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The short review:


Slightly more detail:

How do I love thee, Liz Prince? Let me count the ways:

Your drawing is deeply appealing – the kind of deceptively casual-looking art that clearly takes a lot of thought.

Your writing flows with seemingly effortless ease.

Your dialogue is utterly authentic.

Your story includes all kinds of wonderful detail, but never meanders.

You let me know that I wasn't the only one who grew up with that creepy "Bloody Mary in the
First Second Books
I read TOMBOY and adored it. It's a very smart and immediate portrait of adolescence - a book I wish I had had when I was 14.
Amy Rae

Look, I feel for Liz Prince. Nobody should be bullied, and they especially shouldn't be bullied for the fact that they don't conform to society's expectations of what a man or woman should be. But the message in this book feels shallow to me: there's 237 pages about how being traditionally feminine sucks, and then about three pages where she realizes "wait, maybe there are lots of ways to be a girl, and my way is completely valid," and then it winds down into a happily-ever-after.

There's nev
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, comics
What does it mean to be a girl, or a young woman? What's feminine? And what value does that ideal of femininity have?

That's really what Tomboy is about. Society tells girls that there's only one way to be a girl- and that girlishness is inherently worth less than boyishness. Liz Prince internalized those messages and took them very seriously. And since she didn't fit the images of "girl" that she saw around her, and since she bought that being a boy was better than being a girl... Well, you can
Jan Philipzig
I have to admit that I was not all that keen on reading this graphic novel, and I probably would not have bothered if it wasn't for all the praise it has received here at GR. While I am all for tearing down gender norms, I was worried that a story devoted specifically to this topic and targeted primarily at younger readers would necessarily be a little simplistic and predictable, possibly preachy. And in part, that is indeed the case, as the story - from an adult perspective, at least - occasion ...more
Sue Moro
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Tomboy is a graphic memoir written by Liz Prince, an autobiographical cartoonist, about her life growing up as a tomboy. She describes her total hatred of wearing girl's clothes, particularly dresses, and then goes on to defining what a tomboy is and what her life has been like being one.

Through her wonderful cartoons she shows how she struggled to find her place in a society that expected people to follow specific "rules of gender". She resented the fact that boys were allowed more options tha
Because I recently read An Age of License: A Travelogue and In Real Life, Goodreads has been hinting that I would probably like Tomboy.
Fate conspired to test that theory when this book came across my desk today.
Because Goodreads doesn't quite understand the content in reviews, it didn't understand that maybe I wouldn't like Tomboy based upon what I said about those other two books.
In this case, I am happy that GR doesn't have artificial intelligence yet because it was right - I enjoyed this boo
Well, this was underwhelming and surprisingly unnuanced. I think readers who are being introduced to the concept of oppressive gender norms (ie, lots of straight cis dudes and some striaght cis women, some young people) could get a lot out of this, but for me it just couldn't hold my attention. It is written for a YA audience, after all, so this kind of makes sense, although that doesn't really give teens enough credit, I think. The denouement, where she realizes that conflating girls with weakn ...more
There are so many great graphic memoirs lately. This one is not my absolute favorite in terms of illustration style (it is more like a zine than an art book - though I think this heightens its accessibility and broadens its audience). But, it is a favorite in terms of mission and message. It provides young readers (or readers of any age) a great introduction to thinking critically about gender roles and expectations. It delivers an empowering message about being true to oneself and changing cult ...more
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zinester-books
I really enjoyed and related to this book. A couple quick thoughts/comments:

-There is one really brutal/scary potentially triggering scene that seems like it might result in a sexual assault (it doesn't, but keep this in mind when you recommend it to folks).
-The moral of the story is great: girls can be however they want to be. Being boyish doesn't make you not a girl.
-That said, I kind of wish Liz had addressed that for some of us who feel like boys, learning that we're boyish girls isn't enoug
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
Tomboy has been a recurring word throughout my childhood at school and occasionally, I hear it these days in connection with myself for reasons I cannot discern.

I think it's a stupid term. I think it's a stupid classification and quantification and label but the world doesn't seem to agree. I think it forces down restrictions even/especially upon wayward souls who don't conform to traditional roles. I think a lot and my history teacher says I shouldn't. Course, he also says that that's what my
Kaethe Douglas
There has been rather a lot of attention to the particular problems of transgender children lately: news accounts of parents being supportive and being so violently opposed to their child's identity that suicide becomes the only option.

Prince's story is set at the edge of those: as a girl she hated wearing skirts or dresses with the fiery passion of a billion suns going supernova. Although she didn't want to dress like a girl, or adopt obvious clues to femininity like long hair, she wasn't a boy
I wish this existed when I was a kid. It's not preachy or anything, it's just the story of Luz Prince's childhood as a tomboy. Kids made fun of her but it isn't about bullying. Important people in her life accepted her as is but it's not about that either. It's about getting to play Ghostbusters with the next door neighbor and baseball with her brother and carry around a Popple AND a leather briefcase because it's fun and it's who she is and that's that.
Anne Jordan-Baker
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I would give this ten stars if I could, five from me and five from my 12-year-old daughter, who said after reading almost all of it on one sitting, "that's my life." Life changing for her to read about someone so like herself and in a book so artfully written and drawn.
Iris P
Tomboy A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince
Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir

Tomboy is a witty, funny and thought-provoking graphic memoir written and illustrated by Liz Prince.

From the time she was a toddler, Liz knew she wasn't a "girly-girl" and as soon as she was able to, she let her parents know that dresses and other conventional forms of girl's apparel were not acceptable to her. Liz was not interested in dolls, tiaras or anything else little girls were supposed to be into. She's definitely more comfortable in "boys clothes", loved comi
Elizabeth A
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
As a girl who disliked dresses and often had shorts on underneath (who wants everyone to see your underwear when you do a cartwheel or hang upside down, am I right?), actively disliked anything pink, was not into dolls, and was your classic tomboy (oh how I hate that word), I would have loved this book as a kid. I so wanted to be a boy, and it took me many years to realize that what I really wanted was not to change genders, but to change gender roles and expectations. Yes, we've come a long way ...more
while i liked the art and the storytelling was good, i didn't really connect to the characters enough to actually feel anything.
Hannah Garden
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Do you love Liz Prince? No? Aw I am sorry your brains don't work that is a bummer.
Melanie Page
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sjcpl
You can now read my interview with author Liz Prince! She was gracious enough to take the time to answer my questions about being a comic artist and about Tomboy.

Review originally published at Grab the Lapels. Please click the link to see the review with all the images.

Thirty-one-year-old comic artist Liz Prince shares her history as a tomboy. She begins with her tantrum at age three when she didn’t want to wear a dress. All through elementary and middle school, Prince is tormented. No one wants
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really wish I'd had this book when I was younger and for that reason I cannot recommend it highly enough for girls or boys who don't feel like they fit in. Even at 27 I still feel a weird disconnect from expectations for my gender. I love sports and videogames and have never had much interest in traditionally "female" areas like fashion or make-up. That's not to say that I now judge girls who do like them, just that that was never me. In the past, the expectations of others made me have a viol ...more
Zest Books
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
[STARRED REVIEW] Kirkus Reviews
"Prince explores what it means to be a tomboy in a magnificently evocative graphic memoir. From the age of 2, Liz knows she hates dresses. As a child, she wears boys clothes and plays with boys. However, as she enters her teen years, things change. Still wishing to dress like a boy and disdainful of all things girly—including the inevitable biology of puberty—she stays true to herself and her identity, but not without struggling to fit into a teenage society that n
What a great memoir about gender expression and gender identity. Liz's voice is amazing, and I think a lot of her experiences about not fitting in -- never being "girl" enough and never being "boy" enough -- will speak to so many teens who find themselves struggling with this same challenge in a world that so eagerly wants to put people in one box or another. More, this is a book about bullying, period, and about those tumultuous middle grade years when all you want to do is fit in and how that ...more
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I have been a comic artist and a self-publisher since I was in high school in the mid-90's. In 2005 my book Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed? was published by Top Shelf Productions; it won an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Debut. Top Shelf has since published two more of my autobio comic collections, Delayed Replays in 2008, and Alone Forever earlier this year. In September my first full leng ...more

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