Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: September 6, 2016 by: HarperCollins
Rating: 5/5 stars
Pen is caught in a battle between what she wants to do and what her parents want her to do. She would rather wear "boy" clothes, things that make her feel comfortable. Her traditional Portuguese parents would rather her wear "girl" clothes, and be the respectful young lady she was meant to be. Get those issues, mixed in with a defiant brother, an authoritative friend, and a new crush that her parents would also disapprove of, Pen is on the journey of expressing her true self. And it's going to take a lot of scrutiny from others for her to get there.
This book was actually one of the most diverse books I have every read, literally everything you could want in representation. You've got a non-binary MC, F/F romances, Portuguese rep, Asian rep, sex positivity and abortion without there being shaming for it! I think the author hit the nail on the head with this book and taught me something new about the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum. To top it all off, the book is #ownvoices so spend time supporting this author!
I feel like I was made less ignorant by reading this. I like to think I am a pretty educated person when it comes to LGBTQIAP+ issues, but there are actually so many things I still need to learn, and this book in particular put me in the shoes of someone who is non-binary. To be honest, when I first read the synopsis I just assumed Pen was gonna be transgender, but news flash to me, there's more than just cis-gender and transgender rep out there! This book can teach a lot of people about the gender issues and roles we have.
I loved the culture representation in this book as well. Pen is Portuguese, and her parents are very traditional, and there was a lot of traditions and customs put into this book as well as language. It was great for the author to actually shed light on the MC's background, as opposed to her just being presumed white. Pen's friend group were also a mix of a lot of ethnicity's and backgrounds, which truly showed that friend groups do not fit into one category.
I also would just like to show some Canadian pride for this book! This book is by a Canadian author and is actually set in Canada, as opposed to every other popular YA book which is set in the US! This is honestly such a big step for the Canadian YA community because I don't feel like our books are represented enough in mainstream YA. I just love how this author got to show our country!
I feel like I've talked a lot about this book! Basically, it was so knowledgeable and important to the conversation that I think you should all read it.
Have you read Girl Mans Up? What did you think?
Emily @ Paperback Princess