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GIRL MANS UP av M-E Girard

GIRL MANS UP (utgåvan 2016)

av M-E Girard (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner
2771074,575 (3.92)Ingen/inga
"In Ontario, Pen is a sixteen-year-old girl who looks like a boy. She's fine with it, but everyone else is uncomfortable--especially her Portuguese immigrant parents and her manipulative neighbor who doesn't want her to find a group of real friends"--
Författare:M-E Girard (Författare)
Info:HarperCollins (2016), 384 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Taggar:black, fiction, lgbt, two, young adult


Girl Mans Up av M-E Girard


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Full disclosure: I've known [a:M-E Girard|7847846|M-E Girard|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/authors/1448722327p2/7847846.jpg] for a few years now, and consider her a friend. Having said that, I would have honoured her wishes (which she indicated at a recent book launch for this novel) which were, "If you like the book, let me know. If you hate it, don't tell me." She said it jokingly, of course, but I would have followed that advice.

The good news is, I truly enjoyed this, which may surprise even the author. When I originally expressed my interest to read it, she looked at me surprised. Me, a straight, white guy, married with two kids, and...old? What interest would I have in a novel about a queer 16-year-old?

Turns out, a lot.

I will be honest, I do tend to avoid fiction with gay protagonists, not because of anything other than it's simply not my normal area of interest for reading. But lately, I've also become aware that my own fiction never tends to go there, so I came at this almost from an aspect of research. How is a queer protagonist handled?

And the answer to that question leads directly into why I enjoyed this novel. One more side-trip, then I promise I'll get around to the review. Knowing quite a few friends that fall into the LGBTQ categories, one of the things I find--at times--is that they can sometimes allow themselves to be defined by the fact that they are L, G, B, T, or Q. Please forgive me if I'm offending anyone, that's not my intent. I'll try and explain this as best I can, because it does go directly to what I consider a strength of this novel.

When I think of myself, I don't fall into a single category. I don't label myself as straight, or white, or male, just as I don't singularly define myself as a writer, or a father, or a husband, or a son, or a brother. I'm not just an athiest, or a teacher, or a smartass. I'm all of those things. They are all part of what makes me me. So I find myself frustrated when I hear someone tend to define themselves as gay, for example, because, again, I know they're so much more than just their sexual preference. I hope that makes sense, and again, I apologize if I've offended anyone by not explaining myself well enough.

Anyway, back to GMU. For me, the single biggest strength of this story was the characters. You can help but hurt for Olivia, you can't help falling in love with Blake, and most importantly, you can't help rooting for Pen. Because these characters--all of the major characters--are more than just a single defining characteristic. This was my great surprise with Pen, and my great delight. She wasn't necessarily just a queer character, she was a real character, struggling with real issues, real insecurities, real life choices. And, though I've never been attracted to someone of the same sex, I saw what this looked like through a multidimensional character, and I believed.

At the same time, Girard's brilliant use of Portugese parents with a slight language barrier, really brought home the idea how hard it is to express a truth to someone who may not be able to understand it, rather than not wanting to. That really added a richness to the plot.

I truly enjoyed this novel, right from the first page to the last. Well done, M-E. I'm proud of you. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
fiction (LGTBQ; teen/school drama, girl gamers, and some fist-fighting; incidentally, Pen's parents are Old World Portuguese immigrants). I love the cover and how Pen grows as a character (learning about true friendship and how to make smarter choices in her actions) in this story. More, please!

Parental note: Pen is an 11th grader and she and her friends deal with some adult situations (teen pregnancy and the sort of actions that result in teen pregnancy (though nothing explicit), weed and alcohol consumption, fist-fighting (in which the inherent dangers are handily pointed out by a cop--namely, accidental death and going to jail for manslaughter). ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
this book has a lot of good stuff on gender presentation & the alienation of nonconformity but also kind of fails on the insidious (queer) misogyny front & w/ that is a really irresponsible thing to present to teens :( death to any media w/ "she's not like other girls--she's COOL" sentiments & whats up w/ how the characters who start off being supportive all end up so deeply flawed you cant remember what support looks like & also why is every YA novel tempted to address sixteen social issues in 350 pages & also why did i read this book when i know that YA novels make me wanna walk in2 the sun SOS anyway maybe im just a gay grinch but if your coming out coming of age novel doesnt have a few more freaks & queers to pad things out it paints a really unfortunate & unrealistic portrait of the world 4 young queers & also one last gripe--these parents are the least strict "mean parents" i've ever encountered in a novel like they talk mad shit but don't do anything 2 enforce. my ass wld have been at conversion camp if i pulled any of this funny business.
  freakorlando | May 14, 2020 |
TBA. ( )
  autisticluke | Nov 14, 2019 |
This book gets points for portraying teens behaving like real teens. Whether they are making tough choices, dealing with conflict, interacting with friends/frenemies, or simply doing stupid things and grappling with uncertainty -- it all felt authentically done (as opposed to a lot of what teens do and say in books, despite authors' best efforts). In addition, not everything is neatly tied up in a bow at the end. Pen's parents are kind of awful but I think not atypical of first-generation parents wanting to give the American dream to their children, so though I wanted to sympathize they made it challenging. ( )
  ryner | Sep 23, 2019 |
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"In Ontario, Pen is a sixteen-year-old girl who looks like a boy. She's fine with it, but everyone else is uncomfortable--especially her Portuguese immigrant parents and her manipulative neighbor who doesn't want her to find a group of real friends"--

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