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3.71  ·  Rating details ·  5,749 ratings  ·  503 reviews
"Last week I cut my hair, bought some boys' clothes and shoes, wrapped a large ACE bandage around my chest to flatten my fortunately-not-large breasts, and began looking for a new name."

Angela Katz-McNair has never felt quite right as a girl. Her whole life is leading up to the day she decides to become Grady, a guy. While coming out as transgendered feels right to Grad

Hardcover, 294 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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MaximusMidnight I agree, there are a lot of books trying to be about trans people and failing pretty badly. This is one of the worse ones I've seen, just from the des…moreI agree, there are a lot of books trying to be about trans people and failing pretty badly. This is one of the worse ones I've seen, just from the description.
I'd recommend I am J by Cris Beam. The author worked with trans teens for a long time and specifically wanted to write a book for the community, not just about us. There was really only one minor issue but it wasn't terminology / the standard stuff that cis people seem to still get wrong. It's the best book focusing on a trans character I've read so far.(less)

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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,749 ratings  ·  503 reviews

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Dec 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 25, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Feb 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbt, trans, ya
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
Oct 09, 2007 rated it it was ok
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?
Miranda Reads
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Feeling inspired - so there's a Bonus BookTube Video this week - all about the most impactful Pride books I have read.

Now that you know this one made list, check out the video to see the rest.
Full Review to Come

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Sep 27, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
PVPA Library
Nov 01, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Susannah Goldstein
I wanted to like it because this is a book that should exist, but it's a book that needs better writing. ...more
Jeydon Marshall
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer, lgbtq
This is a really nice book. It's about a high school kid who's trans and I thought it was well done. It's an upbeat, positive, accessible book with a good message that's nicely written. Yes, I thought it had some flaws--it's pretty superficial, it seems a little unrealistic, and there were a few other things that didn't sit quite right with me--but I celebrate this book's existence because it's a nice, pleasant book about a nice, likeable trans kid who has a nice, easy life and it's just nice an ...more
Lizzie Huxley-Jones
I didn’t hate it. But I really didn’t love it, either. I found Kita’s characterisation and discussions about her being mixed-race uncomfortable. I found Sebastian to quickly be the only reason I kept reading (probably because I head-canoned him as autistic & uninterested by playing by social rules). There didn’t feel to be much of a plot beyond Grady coming out and I suspect that’s a sign of not ageing as well; we now have books about trans people that reach beyond that or at least have a strong ...more
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
7/10 Stars

"Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t any especially bad about it, but—for me, there was nothing especially great either." - Matt

"While Parrotfish did make me re-live my horrible high school days to some degree, I think, in this case, that’s a good thing." - Leigh

You can find our full reviews here.
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"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
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Mississippi Library Commission
Parrotfish both destroyed our faith in humanity and slowly restored it as the story progressed. The main character Grady is brave. We were amazed by the way he didn’t hold himself back. We're not sure how realistic the story is, in regards to the difficulties of coming out as a transgendered teen, but we know that when we were in high school, few would have dared to deviate outside of the gender binary. Especially in the way Grady chose to: he straight-forwardly informed teachers and students th ...more
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah Donovan
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Sophia Jones
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, queer
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
Sarah Cavar
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm trans. I read this book a year or two ago and have virtually no memory as to what it was about. I'm sure this isn't the *worst* trans book out there (that bar is set very low/high depending on how you look at it) but it was completely unremarkable. ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm torn about this book. The characters are very flat, the plot very predictable, and the writing is generally lacking. The ending was a little too sugary sweet.

My partner, a transman, asked me to read it after he finished it. For him it touched on important moments and feelings he's had for a long time. Which leads me to believe that this is a great book for younger teens and trans YA who want to see themselves reflected on the page.

But at the end of the day, I'm still frustrated that this wa
Meg 🌞
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
this book was fine, but I had a whole bunch of issues with representation and how “convenient” all the plot points and resolutions were. if you’re looking for a read about trans youth I’d recommend This Is How It Always Is because it does something very similar to what I think this book attempted to
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very good book! It tells the story of a teenage transgender boy named Grady and his struggles and success in high school. The plot was very intriguing and kept me interested throughout the entire book. There were some slow parts in the middle but they wouldn't be very long. The tone was hopeful comical, and uplifting. It was a book where the ending would brighten you day. If you enjoy books about teen life and with happy endings I would definitely recommend this. ...more
Lucy Pettigrew
Jul 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
3.5/5 stars!!
Kimberly Peterson
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
YA about a transgender teen. There were some really lovely friendships, and some typical difficult family reactions. Overall, I enjoyed this character coming into himself.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book very much. It led me through this young teenagers life, and how he saw the world and discovered himself. There were many great friendships in the novel and a great family. It was heartwarming to read what happened in the end. The relationships with the main characters were truly beautiful. I found that I couldn't put the book down. I would recommend this book for people who enjoy reading about teen life. ...more
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tbh I'm guessing as to when I read this. It was a really good book from what I remember and it was definitely ahead of its time. There being a trans person involved in the process of this book's creation made all the difference. ...more
Feb 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer-book-club, 2014
I could tell this was a book to educate and uplift. In that, I think it did reasonably well, although at some point it felt that the goal to educate overran the attempt to tell a story.

In the end I didn't mind Grady all that much--especially when he talked about gender as something more Grey rather than black and white, which even many trans people take a long while to get to--although I wasn't so impressed by his inclusion of being a Two-Spirit despite not being Native. (Though with that I do s
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Review 1 2 Jan 16, 2018 12:36PM  
book review 1 2 Apr 17, 2017 05:39PM  
YA LGBT Books: March Book of the Month - Parrotfish *Spoilers* 15 77 Mar 24, 2012 09:57AM  

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Ellen Wittlinger is the critically acclaimed author of 15 young adult novels including Parrotfish, Heart on My Sleeve, Love & Lies: Marisol's Story, 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 ...more

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97 likes · 34 comments
“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?” 106 likes
“But you can only lie about who you are for so long without going crazy.” 57 likes
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