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Gracefully Grayson

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  6,006 ratings  ·  1,118 reviews
Alone at home, twelve-year-old Grayson Sender glows, immersed in beautiful thoughts and dreams. But at school, Grayson grasps at shadows, determined to fly under the radar. Because Grayson has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body.

The weight of this secret is crushing, but leaving it behind wo
Hardcover, 243 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion
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Popular Answered Questions
Sara Petizzi No, because being gay is a sexual orientation, not a gender identity, which are two different things.
When a person transitions ( whether surgically or…more
No, because being gay is a sexual orientation, not a gender identity, which are two different things.
When a person transitions ( whether surgically or not), they are men or women ( or nonbinary or on the spectrum, but here gets more complicated). To make it easier: gay/straight/bi/ace/aro is what you like, being trans is who you are. (less)
Lily As a seventh grader, I (along with the other seventh graders in my book club group) found the vocabulary to be too simple but could be good for others…moreAs a seventh grader, I (along with the other seventh graders in my book club group) found the vocabulary to be too simple but could be good for others our age. I would recommend this book to anyone from the ages 9 to 13 even with the subject of transgender being "inappropriate". (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,006 ratings  ·  1,118 reviews

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Rick Riordan
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time since a book has made me teary-eyed, but Gracefully Grayson had me sniffling at the end. The story is beautiful and authentic. Grayson is a sixth grader who has always felt different and alone. His parents died when he was young. He hasn't eaten in the lunchroom with his peers since second grade. When he looks in the mirror, his reflection does not match what he feels inside. Secretly, he imagines his over-sized shirts are dresses and his workout pants are long skirts. He w ...more
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

"White and black. Light and dark. And me, in the middle of it all. Gray."

This book caught my eye, but I was going to give it a pass, thinking it was more suitable for much younger readers. Then I came across a friend's review and grabbed it from the library. Surprisingly, the book was difficult to put down and I got through it in no time at all.

I am not going to summarize the plot here, since there is really none to speak of. This is a sensitive and delicately writt
C.G. Drews
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is entirely PRECIOUS. It is so very sweet and there was one chapter where I could feel my soul tearing up because ahhhh!!! Books about bravery, being who you truly are, and finding your people -- they always make me feel aaall the things. Bless this little book!

I do, however, wonder about its similarities to George. It's kind of seriously eerie?? Both are about MG books about trans girls who get involved in school plays to come out to themselves, and to the universe. Not even kidding:
Tanu Gill
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What did I think of this book? I didn't think anything. I just felt , God, what I felt!!!

I have had this book in my collection for quite a while now, and I am quite busy hitting myself on the head for picking it up NOW, so late! Yeah, I know. Pathetic of me. I'm well aware of the fact.

Well, getting back to my review. While I was reading the book (the later parts, when all the trouble for Grayson started), I was so choked up, so emotional from then onwards, that I thought I would just give the
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Gracefully Grayson approaches the transgender issue with sheer grace. A middle-grade story that is truly middle-grade. There is no foul language, no sex, no romance, just the story of Grayson Sender – a 12-year old boy who looks in the mirror until he can see the reflection of the girl he really knows is inside of him.

What an important little book this was. In a day and age where young people are stepping into oncoming traffic because
Linna H
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt, eread, ya
Quick review as I head out of Sydney:


Even though this novel is definitely not aimed at my demographic as a cis adult, I still wanted to read this book as it sounded like a unique coming of age story about a transgender girl. What bothered me about this novel was that I felt it oversimplified the needs and struggles of transgender children. Grayson's desire to "be a girl" was very much restricted to the way she dressed and put her hair. I can understand that the author probably didn't wa
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
I majorly question a non-trans author's intents when the word "transgender" or any variation of it is absent from a book about a trans person. At no point in the story is it ever said that there are other people like the narrator (other trans girls). I also find it extremely disheartening that more than half of the reviews on Goodreads for this book refer to the narrator as "he" and as a boy and they think that it's fine to do that to a trans girl.

If this book were meant to help trans kids, it w
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have a rule that I don’t start books late in the evening so I don’t lose out on sleep. I finished reading Gracefully Grayson a few minutes before midnight with tears running down my face. Good books will do that to you. :)

Ami Polonsky has created an absolutely mesmerising voice with Grayson. I sometimes think I use the word ‘love’ to lightly but with Grayson I can truly say I loved her – still love her.

Grayson has successfully isolated herself from those around her. A new student ends up being
I kind of hate giving one of the very few middle grade readers about trans kids 2 stars, but I was pretty disappointed with this one. For one, it was slow and understated, and, well, sad. It just wasn't very fun to read. I can't imagine a lot of kids being into this book for those reasons. It felt like a bit of a slog to me, and I'm an adult. It is definitely on the high end of middle readers though; I would consider it an older middle reader / young teen read even thought the main character is ...more
“I have a theory that sometimes, everything needs to fall apart before it can come back together the way it’s supposed to.” This is a sweet little YA novel about a boy named Grayson Sender who, as far back as anyone can remember, believed he was meant to be a girl. Before his parents died in a car accident, they took photos of three-year-old Grayson dressing in a pink tutu.

Now in high school outside Chicago and living with his aunt and uncle’s family, Grayson still dresses in the most feminine c
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Note: I am using male pronouns throughout this review. The book is unambiguous that Grayson is a girl, but she is identified as male throughout the story.

First of all, GRACEFULLY GRAYSON is notable from being a middle grade (or tween) novel that deals with trans* issues. There aren't stories that deal with this issue for that age group filling the shelves, so this fills a very important gap.

I was a bit disappointed at first. There seemed to be nothing happening in the novel except for Grayson's
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
This book was so delicately and sweetly done. It's written from the viewpoint of a sixth grader, but not in the fairly typical way many writers do--slightly wry, with too much knowledge and self possession to really have been written by a child of 11 or 12. This really feels like the mind of a child who is struggling with his image of who he is. He's largely inarticulate about it, because that's how many children are. He comes to realizations through a combination of cues of self-awareness, flas ...more
Grace Galinski
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
This book was...emotional. This is going to be a short review, but only because I don't know how to say exactly what I want to say about it. I though it was amazing. It's such a powerful book, and I was surprised that it wasn't longer. There were so many plot twists, and so much courage packed into a 243-page book, and it was truly amazing.

Amelia was one of my favorite characters, but only in the beginning. Once she saw Grayson in the skirt, and how she acted when she did, made her one of my le
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
To read a full review check it out here.

As a trans person, I beg of cis authors please stop telling our stories. Trans people can have happy stories and their stories ARE NOT ALL ABOUT BEING TRANS.
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
Note: Grayson referred to herself as "Grayson" for the majority of this book, so that is the name I will be using in this review.

This book made me cry rainbow tears. It’s a fantastic book about the issues LGBTQ+ people face, and it’s truthful and raw.

Grayson is just twelve years old, but she’s already starting to feel the oppression from her family, friends, and classmates. She’s already a loner, and has been ever since her best friend, Emma, moved to Florida years ago. What I like about this bo
Ms. Yingling
May 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Grayson has lived with his aunt and uncle in Chicago ever since the death of his parents in a car accident when he was four. He fights a bit with his older cousin, and has trouble fitting in at school, so he's glad when he meets Amelia and they seem to get along. The two start spending time together, frequenting thrift stores where Grayson looks for shirts that are shiny and long and seem like dresses, because he is not comfortable in traditional boys' clothing. When his dynamic language arts te ...more
Maria Elmvang
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
PS: I am using male pronouns to describe Grayson in my review, as this is what was used in the book - even in Grayson's own thoughts. I do NOT mean any disrespect by doing so, but am simply following the lead of the author.


Grayson's parents died in a car accident when he was very young, and since then he has been living with his aunt, uncle and two cousins. He is very much a loner though - both at home and at school - because he is scared that somebody will get too close and discover the sec
Hélène Louise
I wasn't impressed by this book. Transgender is a strong and important subject, the author worked seriously on it, and the book is conscientiously written.
That's for the good points.

Alas the story wasn't sustained by the narration. The characters are functional but cruelly lack personality, the dialogues are extremely basics, repetitive and dull, there are so much things left unsaid that in the end very little is ever told. I'm all for show don't tell but the show here was sadly tepid and unimag
Hannah M.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, words cannot describe all the emotions I felt while reading this book.

It was such a beautiful and moving story about Grayson Sender, a "boy" trapped into the wrong gender's body. There were so many twists and turns, so many emotions, and so much courage shoved into one 243-page book.

While I was reading, there was a character who I expected to be the one who helped Grayson become who they really were. But I was wrong. In fact, she became one of my least favorite characters. It really shows
Jen • Just One More Page

This review is also posted on my blog.

(view spoiler)
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: readin2014
The full review will be on my blog once this book is published (thanks, NetGalley, for letting me read it this summer!), but the most relevant part of that review for readers, I think:

"Grayson's world is populated by complicated and sympathetic characters who display a vast, believable range of reactions to Grayson as she reveals more and more of who she really is. There are the confused, the uncomfortable, the fully-supportive, the ignorant, the tentatively-supportive, and a lot of other more m
Jun 18, 2014 added it
Shelves: 2014
(I received this book for free)

I immediately liked Grayson. While I can't relate to his exact reasons for being bullied, I can relate to the bullying.

The fact that a book like this was written for a younger generation makes me happy that people are bringing up the fact that there are major issues out there.

While I really enjoyed the book, I felt like the ending feel a bit flat, but I would still give it 4.5 stars! Great book!
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was a very cute read. I enjoyed reading it, but I didn't like it very much. It's not because it's a bad book - the topic and Grayson's struggle is executed very well. But this book just doesn't offer anything new for me. I also think this book could've been longer because the ending was really unsatisfying and we don't get to know the characters very well, so I didn't like them very much. ...more
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read books for their characters, and this one has them fully painted. I love Grayson.
Just let me give Grayson a hug
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The short fiction novel "Gracefully Grayson" by Amy Polonsky is an emotion packed story that melted my heart. I would like to start off this book review with a quote that I believe connects to the moral and point of this novel “When you feel as if your whole world is falling apart, this is actually the beginning of it being put back together, the way it was supposed to be in the first place.” ― Christine E. Szymanski. I feel this quote gives insight to Grayson’s journey with gender identity thro ...more
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eng-748-ya-lit
Anticipating a snow day, I stopped in at the Briscoe Library for a book. I'm trying to get ahead on the reading for my Young Adult Literature class at Salem State this semester, and lucky me! Gracefully Grayson was on the shelf.

This book is about middle schoolers, and sixth graders in particular (my favorite kiddos!). Grayson is a smart sixth grader who has been isolating himself, feeling out-of-place among his classmates, but unsure why. Once he begins to befriend a new girl, Amelia, his circ
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve given this book 4 stars based on how I would rate it if I was in middle school. I think the author did a good job with the feelings of anyone who is an outsider of any kind, whether you’re the new kid in school, shy, have negative body image or, as in Grayson’s case, are in the wrong body. The response of the kids in the play was interesting but isn’t 100% believable to me. Although there are many accepting kids out there I don’t think it would be many. I also think the negative comments wo ...more
Alex  Baugh
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
Sixth grader Grayson Sender has always known he wasn't who he appeared to be, that he was really a girl in a boy's body. After her parents were killed in a car accident when she was very young, Grayson went to live with her Aunt Sally and Uncle Evan and their two children, Jack and Brett. When she was younger, she and Jack hung out and goofed around together, but that changed as they grew older. Now, Grayson has no friends, prefers to eat alone in the library than to eat alone in the cafeteria w ...more
May 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, ra-ya, lgbtq
* I am using they/their pronouns in this review. Even though the book generally uses he/his, it does in one section use she/her and never does Grayson bring up what pronouns they might prefer.

Pro: A book about a transgirl! I can count those on one hand. The more the merrier!

Possible Con: As far as I know, Polonsky is cisgendered. I am also cisgendered, so I really can't say whether Polonsky gets things right here. I would be very interested to see what a reader who is trans has to say about how
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