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Title: Parrotfish
Author: Ellen Wittlinger
Number of Pages: 287 pages
Book Number/Goal: 36/75 for 2009
My Rating: 4/5

I wanted to like this book more, because it's the only YA book I know with a transgender protagonist (Julie Ann Peters' Luna was great, but it's more about being the sister of someone who is trans), hell, one of the few books with a transgender protagonist, period. But the writing isn't that great. First-person narration is used as a way to do massive info dumping, and the dialogue is often unnatural-sounding. But I liked the story a lot and I do think it's worth reading for that.

It's interesting in that it's not about the main character's coming to terms with being trans, but rather with everyone else coming to terms with it. At the start of the story, Grady is already out to his family and about to start going to school as a guy. There is some of the above-mentioned info dumping to tell us about his decisions, but it's definitely not the story I was expecting. It really doesn't touch on that aspect much at all. So in a way, like Luna, even though the protagnist is trans himself, the book reads to me as "how to treat trans people when you encounter them" (it's a YA problem novel; of course it has a message).

It's got some problems, though, other than with the writing.

Cut for slight spoilery talk )

Wow, I really went on about the problems. But I still think it's a good book, and I'm glad it's out there, and I think people should check it out if they have an interest in the subject matter. I just wish it were better.


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