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The Passing Playbook

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,954 ratings  ·  543 reviews
Love, Simon meets Friday Night Lights in this feelgood LGBTQ+ romance about a trans teen torn between standing up for his rights and staying stealth.

'A sharply observant and vividly drawn debut. I loved every minute I spent in this story' - Becky Albertalli

Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother and a Messi-in-training. He's also transgender
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2021 by Dial
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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,954 ratings  ·  543 reviews

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May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, owned
a trans boy falling in love with his super Christian team mate sounds exactly like the kind of gay disaster I need in my life right now
Aiden Thomas
Jun 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
With a sweet romance on the backdrop of high school, soccer and first loves, THE PASSING PLAYBOOK is a big heart of a book about how acts of courage — both small and large — can be so empowering. Fitzsimons explores complicated relationships and family dynamics that many trans and queer kids experience with care. While this book doesn’t shy away from heavy topics and hard conversations, it’ll leave readers feeling both loved and hopeful.
Reading_ Tamishly
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much 😭😭😭😭😭😭

"Being an introverted child of two extroverts was exhausting."

Did you just quote my life?!

"It was an interesting assignment, listening to music, examining the lyrics, and working out hidden meanings." I need this assignment. Seriously.

I really like how the adult characters are playing their roles in this book!

That's all I'm asking for in a good young adult read (except in some rare cases).

I love how fun are the parents, the teachers and even the teen characters are
☆Pelumi☆ (On major hiatus)

Content warnings: transphobia, homophobia, misgendering, religious bigotry, ableism, medical content, references to school shootings

This hit way too close to home and yet it felt like comfort to my soul
I'm so happy I got to read this because it's so relatable and well, quite emotional to get through and that's just what I needed.

I think that the more people who are out and visible, the safer it is for everyone. BUT, and this i
I’ve been putting off writing this review because I don’t know how to put into words how much I loved this book. The Passing Playbook is a new favourite but, unfortunately for this review, has fallen into the ‘I love this too much to talk about it coherently’ category. However, I’ll do my best to do this stunning book justice.

The Passing Playbook is joyful and comforting and absolutely brimming with love. From Spencer’s relationship to his parents, his friends, Justice and himself, there is neve
C.G. Drews
Oh I loved this!! This is the perfect mix of hard-hitting moments, warmth, unconditional love, and queer joy. Life wasn't easy for Spencer, but the book was empowering and lovely. It's all the queer acceptance and sports team love we deserve. Also it features SOCCER for once and look, soccer is just such a smarter sport compared to football. I said it, I won't take it back.

After switching to a new school Spencer has decided not to tell people he's trans. I thought the book had such good discussi
I think that the more people who are out and visible, the safer it is for everyone. BUT, and this is a big but, you need to make sure that you're safe first. Physically safe, yes but also emotionally and psychologically.

basically. i cried.

read my review on reads rainbow

(view spoiler)

Rep: biracial Black mlm trans mc, gay li, bi side character, autistic side character, Black side characters, no
Mar 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
CWs: Allusions to past bullying, death threats, and school lockdown; religious fanatacism and homophobia in the guise of religious rhetoric; misgendering; transphobia and outdated transphobic terminology (from side characters); and some brief (non-graphic) references to overdose and child death

I love trans lit so much, and this book serves as perfect reminder as to why that it is.

The Passing Playbook is a much needed story, not simply because of the time we find ourselves in with anti-trans
Larry H
Jun 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pride-reads
4.5 stars

Isaac Fitzsimons' debut YA novel, The Passing Playbook , is an emotional, hopeful story about finding your voice and being true to yourself.

Spencer is starting over. After a threat of violence against him put his old high school in lockdown, he’s about to start at a progressive private school, and a liberal one—the most liberal one in Ohio, in fact. But while he’s ready to tell his fellow students he is queer, he’s not ready to share the truth: that he’s transgender, because that's w
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3 ½ stars (rounded up because this is a debut)

“He wasn't sure if parents had limits to their love, but he was worried that one day something would push them too far and he'd find out.”

After a horrible experience at his old high school Spencer Harris is ready to turn a new leaf. He's Black, fifteen, a bit of a nerd, and good at soccer. His new private school offers him the chance to start over, and, despite his initial desire to 'lay low', he finds himself joying
Jun 11, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, arcs, contemporary
I didn’t care a lot about this book and I’m v sad about it. I am always on the lookout for a lgbtq+ book that can give me the same feels Simon vs did, but I end up disappointed every time.

I really liked following Spencer around. Reading from his perspective gave me a lot to think about. The trans rep was my favorite thing about this book, I can see it comes from a personal place. I can’t find anywhere if this is an ownvoices book, but nevertheless, I feel like Spencer was a very realistic charac
Jun 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
✨ wholesome ✨
Marieke du Pré
Jun 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, lgbtq
Aw, loved the writing, the diversity, Spencer and Justice, just everything! Although this story deals with some hard hitting topics, I read it with a constant smile on my face.

Reading this story during the European Championship soccer (hey USA: it’s actually called football here!!) made it even more special! Hoping my own country would win the match and hoping Spencer would get through the tryouts. Cheering when my country scored a goal and cheering when Spencer was selected. The disappointment
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: biracial Black mlm trans mc, gay li, bi side character, autistic side character, Black side characters, nonbinary side character, mlm side character
tw: mentions of past transphobic violence, religious homophobia, mentions of past overdose

The Passing Playbook is a lot of love & care packed into one little book.It’s very clearly a book for LGBT youth, and especially for trans kids. A book showing them with every page that they are loved and deserve every ounce of that love.

Plot-wise it’s not
 ⛅ Saniya (sunnysidereviews) ⛅
Reading this during the Euro Cup was one of the best decisions I ever made.
3.5 stars

What I Liked
-The representation
-The talk on soccer
-The fight for transgender equality
-The supportive family
-The MC's best friend

What I Disliked
-The writing felt juvenile (I'm not a writer, so this is purely just my opinion.)
-The ending was rushed
-The pacing was off at times
-The main character -- the mc was rude at times, and for no reason too.
More of this, please!! Queer sports books are my kryptonite, and this was a particularly good one. It reminded me of Julian Winters' books with how soft it was, and I so loved reading a YA contemporary with a trans MC that wasn't centered around transphobia, or at least not mainly. I think this is one of those books I'll enjoy even more on a reread, but this was already really great! Special shoutout to the way the autistic brother was written, because authors tend to rely heavily on stereotypes ...more
Apr 13, 2021 rated it liked it
I received this book as a physical ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange of a honest review.

Overall, this book was good. I felt like the mature storyline didn’t match up with the juvenile writing. The author’s inexperience was apparent when it came to a lack of continuity. It also seemed like the author was in a rush to wrap everything up in the end. Additionally, the summary felt inaccurate to the actual book when it came to the conflict.

I gave this book a 3 star rating out of generosity. I loved
4.5/5 stars!
written with so much care and love for trans kids, especially trans kids of color. so grateful i got to read it, full review to come
may ✨
You know when you share some parts of your identity with a character and said character is written with so much care and love that it feels like someone is putting the softest and warmest blanket over your shoulders? Yeah, that’s kind of how I felt reading this. There aren’t any incredible plot line or super complex characters in this, but there’s so much love.

There were many things to enjoy in The Passing Playbook, from the characters to the empowering plot. This will definitely appeal to reade
Warmhearted, sweet, and funny. I was really highly anticipating this one and it was exactly what I wanted it to be.
Jesse bowtiesandbooks
Jun 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book was a pleasant surprise - not because I didn't trust the author to write a great debut (and it WAS a GREAT debut), but because I would rather staple my eyelids together than read about sports. Thankfully, I gave my dramatics a rest and decided to read out of my comfort zone (courtesy of Penguin Teen).

In this book we get to follow a Black trans boy with a heart that belongs entirely to sports. He has a stable, loving family, that is not without internal conflict as they are all adjustin
The American cover of The Passing Playbook sports a blurb from Kacen Callender that calls it “A simultaneous warm hug and a lightning strike of courage”, and I couldn’t agree more with that statement. While this book deals with transphobia in high school sports and religiously motivated homophobia, it also features a young biracial trans protagonist who finds support, falls in love, and empowers himself and others. The Passing Playbook felt both heart-warming and empowering to me, and I complete ...more
Madison Mary
May 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Recent events have shown me that being passive is going against progress."

A book that should be in all middle-school and high-school libraries because I believe it is a trans coming-of-age story that every young teen needs to read.

Let me start off by saying that I was having a really stressful day when I picked up this book. I even thought I might be in a reading slump. And then, suddenly, I was 35 percent through this book and my mind was completely immersed in the story. Just for
Natasha Niezgoda
Jun 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
I cried happy tearssssss!
2nd read (june 2021)
rereading this was very very nice and therapeutic and i’ve upped my rating to 5 stars because!! this is far far better than most of the ya books i’ve read recently and also one of the most comforting ya contemporary books i’ve read at ALL

this book is so full of love, that love being towards trans teenagers reading it!! and i love that!! i love that we get to have books like this!! there’s definitely transphobia, i mean that’s a pretty large part of what the book is about, bu
Jun 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’m in a little bit of awe that this is a debut novel. The emotion was woven into the words so seamlessly that I know Isaac Fitzsimons will go on to write more books (books I will be reading). This book is about a lot of things layered together to tell a story. This book is about soccer and with that how to be a team and support each other through winning and losing. This book is about being transgender and with that how brave you must be. This book is about how to be an ally and with that how s ...more
Jun 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-s-books
i see myself in the main character in many moments, it's also a very cute book, well written and mind it's a debut book! although in the end things feels too rushed, i really enjoyed this book. ...more
Jun 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are so many little things in this book that I absolutely love. Our main character, Spencer, is a trans guy. After being bullied for being trans at his old school, he moves to a new school where he goes stealth (doesn't disclose his trans identity). 

Spencer is such a great character, and on his first day at the QSA (Queer Straight Alliance) he uses his passing privilege to stand guard outside the men's bathroom so that another trans student, Riley, can use the bathroom without having to wor
Toya (the reading chemist)
Jun 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Trigger Warnings: transphobia, bullying, outsing, religious propaganda, homophobia, misgendering,

Gah! Where do I even start with this review that isn't just incoherent screams. This is one of those books that I think should be required reading for all young people (adults too!) especially with the sweeping anti-trans legislation that has come to light.

The Passing Playbook follows 15 year old Spencer Harris (Black; biracial) who recently transferred schools in hopes of starting over following a
Jun 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqiap, 2021
This is a very sweet YA story about a trans boy moving to a new school, falling for a guy, and joining the boys’ soccer team. Spencer is stealth at his new school and has to decide if and when he’ll come out to his new friends and teammates.

While Spencer does have to switch schools in the beginning because of transphobic bullying he faced in the past and there is a discriminatory rule that keeps him from being on the soccer team, the majority of the book is very hopeful. It’s about Spencer exce
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“As if Spencer's thoughts were sending out a homing beacon, Justice looked over in his direction, making eye contact, and Spencer understood what Gimli saw when he gazed upon Galadriel. But, no. Just no. He hadn't even known this kid existed five hours ago. It was scientifically impossible to develop a crush in that amount of time, right?” 1 likes
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