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The Pants Project

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,534 ratings  ·  356 reviews
Whoever wrote the uniform policy decided (whyyy?) that girls had to wear skirts, while boys were allowed to wear pants.

Sexist. Dumb. Unfair.

“Girls must wear a black, pleated, knee-length skirt.”

I bet I read those words a hundred times during summer vacation. The problem wasn’t the last word in that sentence. Skirt wasn’t really the issue, not for me.
The issue was the firs
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Sourcebooks Young Readers (first published March 1st 2017)
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James Mitchell Yes, there are plenty of girls who didn't want to wear skirts, but put up with it, likely believing that they were the only one who was uncomfortable …moreYes, there are plenty of girls who didn't want to wear skirts, but put up with it, likely believing that they were the only one who was uncomfortable (a very common experience for girls - especially young girls - is believing that YOU are the source of your problems, that it's your fault for not liking skirts, it's your fault for not being girly enough, etc...) Liv took action because his discomfort in skirts (in his case, due to him being trans) led to him realizing that the rule was unfair to everyone, and fighting not for his right to wear pants, but for EVERYONE.(less)
Lisa I would put it in the children's section. The protagonist is in 6th grade and it definitely skews young--grades 4 and 5 would be ideal readers.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,534 ratings  ·  356 reviews

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Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, diverse-recs
The Pants Project a transgender student fighting their schools dress code, stating that girls must wear skirts and boys pants.

When I saw that this was a Middle Grade book about a transgender kid I was beyond excited. LGBTQ+ topics are not explored enough in the middle grade age range. This book was such a delight. The actual plot of the story is something I am very passionate about, having fought my own school dress code. I truly loved seeing Liv explore his identity and come to terms with being
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

Note: I am cis so I cannot comment on how authentic the representation was.

While initially I had issues with the voice of this novel - the writing wasn't my favorite, sometimes sounding a bit too young or a bit disjointed - I think by the end it really came into its own. Liv as a character grew and grew on me, and his personality shone through in a lot of really fabulous ways. I appreciated his anger but also his way of processing things the way that kids do. There are these little jumps i
OK, you might say, really? A middle school about someone who is transgender?

And I would say, yes, really.

And you might say. But why? Middle school? Isn't that too young for anyone to know that their gender assigned at birth is wrong? And really, do kids that age need to read those sorts of book?

And I would say HELL YES. Gender orientation is not sexual orientation. Gender orientation, when it is first realized is scary because you think you are broken, or that you can fix it, or it is too scary
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
*Another book in my personal Kindle experiment*

Writing: 3 stars
Characters : 3.5 stars
Plot 3.5 to 4 stars

Did it live up to my expectations?: Yes

The writing was so-so and a bit rushed for me at times (our MC is 11, I wasn't expecting a master storyteller or anything) but the voice felt authentic to me and drew me into the story.

Jade reminded me of some of the mean kids at my school, and more than once I wanted someone to drop her in a lake.

Liv and Jacob's friendship : loved it! Their banter ba
This was a cute book about a student in a uniformed middle school that has begun to identify as a boy. The uniform code forces Liv to wear a skirt. It is geared for a younger audience.

The voice of Liv is well constructed, and they are brought to life. Liv brings their fight from the hairdresser to the principal in their quest to wear pants instead of a skirt. There is a lot of facing down issues and injustice, and it's great to see the way that the kids come together and stand up for the freedo
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
Trigger Warning: bullying

Four stars for this inclusive story about a closeted transgender boy starting middle school—and being forced to wear a skirt because of a super strict dress code. Bonus: he has two moms :) AND there's disability rep too!

Although I'm tired of the "best friends break apart with the non-MC friend wants to join with the popular group" trope, I was delighted that Liv and Jacob became so close, and that it was non-romantic.

Anywho, this is such a good book and I'm so happy to s
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Liv starts middle school with a big secret. She’s actually a boy on the inside. The dress code says girls must wear skirts, bad enough, but since Liv’s outsides are girl, she must comply. She sets out to change the code, alienating her ex best friend, but making some new friends along the way. Also, a popular mean girl bullies Liv because she has two moms.

THE PANTS PROJECT hits all the right note for a middle grade story, compelling characters, diversity, interesting plot and even a strong messa
Jenni Frencham
Clarke, Cat. The Pants Project. Sourcebooks Jaberwocky, 2016.

A delightful middle grade novel in the vein of Gracefully Grayson with the upbeat hopefulness of Better Nate Than Ever.

Liv is not excited about starting middle school. He hasn't told his moms yet, but Liv has figured out that he's transgender, and his school has a strict dress code which will require him to wear a skirt since everyone thinks he's a girl. Not only that, but he loses his best friend to the popular crowd within the first
Why hadn't I heard of this book before? Why isn't anybody reading it?? Just why the heck doesn't such books get the attention they deserve???

Lmao. People, we're doing literature all wrong.
Ms. Yingling
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Public library E Book

Note: I use the pronoun "she" for Liv because for most of the book she is living as a girl and has not expressed a desire to use a different pronoun. If there were a sequel, Liv would probably be referred to as "he".

Liv lives with her Mom and Mamma, and goes to a very good private school. As she starts middle school, she's excited but also not happy-- all the girls in her school have to wear skirts, and Liv does not feel like she is a girl. The shoes for the uniform are okay
rachel ☾
Trigger warnings for (view spoiler).

Representation: Liv (mc) is a trans boy; Jacob (sc) has Joint Hypermobility Syndrome; Liv has two mums, one is Italian.

Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I have a more detailed spoiler-free review of this book, but overall, some of the chapters are clunky, but I loved the story. ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Cute read

I liked how the story played out. Liv is transgender and figuring out how to live her life now that she's entered middle school. There was no romance, they're in 6th grade so I'm glad for that. It was about being yourself, whatever that means. It addressed LGBTQ topics very well and Liv was a cute character. I loved Jacob and how accepting he was. This was definitely enjoyable.
(Although Liv is transgender, she still uses she/her pronouns so that's what I've done in my review)
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
***I received a free e-ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review***

THE PANTS PROJECT follows Liv, a transgender boy, as he navigates his first year of middle school and tackles his school's outdated gendered dress code.

I was initially hesitant about reading requesting this book because I couldn't find any information about the author and whether or not THE PANTS PROJECT was an #ownvoice book. Generally, I do not read books with trans characters that are not writ
Nicole Field
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
NetGalley Review

Easily as good as George, I'm doubly glad for Netgalley introducing me to this author in her debut into middle grade fiction.

Liv is just entering middle school and so around 10 years old when this book starts and is actually a boy. This has never been more apparent than when he enters into a school where the uniform policy dictates that people who were assigned female at birth need to wear skirts.

Although Liv never actually comes out to the teachers at school about why its so important that h
Ami Polonsky
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Review from E.C.P (age 9)

Everyone thinks Liv is a girl but Liv doesn't feel like a girl. Liv's problem is the dress code at school. He wants to wear pants but he's not allowed to because of the dress code. Liv meets a boy named Jacob who he feels can help. Then Liv and Jacob come up with "The Pants Project." Kids need to sign papers to show the principal that there should be no dress code. Then one day, Liv and Jacob do something different--Liv wears pants and Jacob wears a skirt. This seems to
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really great read! My son picked this up at the library because the title contains the word "pants," and he had recently caught part of a "Parks & Rec" episode I was watching. Ben said they were going to a gala, and Andy asked if it was a shorts or pants gala. Ben took a beat and stressed it was a pants gala, and my kid still thinks that hilarious.

So we didn't know what this book was about, but we both ended up loving it. It gives a glimpse into the life of a kid my son's age who is deciding whe
Jun 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I had some minor issues with this book, the primary one being parents who know their child is supremely uncomfortable wearing skirts sending her to a school that only allows girls to wear skirts and not doing their own work to talk to the principal and school board/PTA before she even went to the school. Also when has the PTA ever been in charge of dress codes at a public school? There were a few other things, but it was okay and good enough to include on rainbow read lists for middle schoolers.
Medeia Sharif
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a middle grade with a transgender character fighting his school on something he believes in, something that needs to be changed. We need more stories like this! Liv and the other characters were absolutely engaging. My only issue is that the voice sounded older than the age group intended. I read this via NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher.
Quick read and smooth writing style. A bit straightforward in terms of plot and no real surprises, but I definitely think this could go over well for the middle school book club.

I unfortunately kept reading Liv’s friend’s name as John Arbuckle, due to years of Garfield....
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Liv (Olivia) was born a girl, but knows in his heart that he's a boy. But this realization isn't easy for a kid entering middle school, which can be a heartless place for anyone. What complicates things for Liv is a move to a new school, which brings a stringent dress code: girls must wear skirts. No exceptions. Whatsoever. Liv knows in his heart that he's a boy, but the school system (and kids at school) don't see it that way. Liv is already dealing with enough, but now he feels uncomfortable e ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, netgalley
4.5 stars. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I think this story of a transgender middle school child was really well done. I think books like this are really important, so that kids who may be going through what Liv was, as well as kids who are NOT transgender, can see it as normal, and book-worthy. It's important that kids be able to relate to characters, and I think it's also important for kids to be able t
Sara (Freadom Library)
This review was originally posted at

I received an e-ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I am a cisgender, straight woman and I know very little about transgender issues. If I say anything in this review that can be seen as offensive to the transgender community, please let me know!

Also here’s a review by a multigender writer: which I found on this lis
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, arc
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Pants Project: a trans boy's fight against his school's uniform policy. According to it, all girls must wear skirts, and since no one knows he's actually a boy, he must wear them too. This is extremely unconfortable for him and, on top of it, he's also being bullied.
Liv, a name he's not totally happy with but which is still better than Olivia, is different from the rest of his classmates. Everyone thinks he's a girl but, having short
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Torn between 3 and 3.5 stars.

Adorable is the term that perfectly describes this book.
It's fluffy, funny, adorable, and important.

It's so rare to find a main character who is a trangender young boy, and it was so interesting and i loved Liv so much.

I also loved Liv's family and specially mom's (they are so sweet and lovable) and i absolutely loved Liv and Jacob's friendship. Oh god these two. A powerful duo.

Jacob is so supportive about Liv's transidentity, he always stands for and with him.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
As I build up my middle grades library for my classroom, I try to make sure the books reflect my students and the world around them. Finding books with LGBTQ characters is really challenging, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this title pop up on Netgalley. Thanks for the chance to read and review!

This is the story of Liv, a transgender student who works to change the school's outdated dress code. Liv has to deal with bullying and middle school friendships, and grapples with how to share
Karen Barber
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Liv has always felt like he's in the wrong body. This is something he's coming to terms with, but his hand is forced when he makes the move to middle school and realises his new school enforces a strict uniform policy and he will have to wear a skirt.
Perhaps inevitable given the target audience, but this is rather obvious in terms of plot and resolution. But that doesn't mean it's not successful.
Clarke introduces us to a great character in Liv. He's not saccharine sweet-he gets mad, sometimes ma
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kids standing up for themselves, being proud, making true friends and making sure they get the respect they deserve. Hell yeah!

If I had one small critique, it would be that I rolled my eyes at how stereotypical the mean girls were.
But other than that it was great.

I loved Liv's family (the moms are great, the dog is a dog, the brother is adorable and they all love each other so much it makes me want to cry), I ADORED his new friendships (JACOB JACOB JACOB <3), and of course his fight for bein
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A book with positive LGBT characters and relationships?

A book aimed at middle grade about such topics?

A book that has a solid story along with the great representation?

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Cat was born in Zambia and brought up in Edinburgh and Yorkshire, which has given her an accent that tends to confuse people.

Cat has written non-fiction books about exciting things like cowboys, sharks and pirates, and now writes YA novels. She lives in Edinburgh with a couple of cats, Jem and Scout, who spend their days plotting to spit up furballs at the most inconvenient times. She likes chees

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“I couldn't blame him for not believing me because it wasn't exactly true. The truth is that you /do/ care. Of course you do. And it hurts to hear people say those things about you. But the hurt changes, over time. At first, it's sharp and hot, like a fiery dagger stabbing you in the heart, but when you've heard the same insults over and over and over, the pain changes. It becomes a dull, throbbing ache -- like a toothache. A sort of background pain that you can ignore for a few minutes at a time, except when you're lying in bed at night, trying to sleep. That's when it really gets to you.” 5 likes
“I didn't just wake up one morning and think, "I'm a boy!" It sort of crept up on me and tapped me on the shoulder a few times before I started to pay attention I began to think that the word "girl" didn't quite fit me. It was like a shoe that was too small -- it pinched me.” 5 likes
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