Kirkus Reviews QR Code
PARROTFISH by Ellen Wittlinger

PARROTFISH

By Ellen Wittlinger

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: July 10th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4169-1622-2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A transgender boy comes out to family, friends, schoolmates and teachers in this groundbreaking book. “[I]nside the body of this strange, never-quite-right girl was hiding the soul of a typical, average, ordinary boy,” says Grady; “In my dreams at night, I was a boy, but every morning I woke to the big mistake again.” At school, some faculty resist, but the gym teacher offers her own office and shower as a private changing area. A bully arranges a devastating prank (stealing Grady’s clothes and leaving him an ultra-feminine outfit), but someone spills the beans and humiliation is avoided. Wittlinger balances well the negative and positive reactions to Grady’s change, including confusion and prejudice but also acceptance; a sexy girl is attracted to Grady (but doesn’t finally date him). At home, the family’s long-term, gaudy Christmas traditions (seven Santas on the lawn and an indoor Christmas Carol reenactment visible to neighbors) come to an end as a symbol of change. Artistically bland, but direct and respectful. Given the rarity of transgender characters, a vital and necessary purchase for any YA collection. (references, resources, websites) (Fiction. YA)