The passing playbook

Isaac Fitzsimons

Book - 2021

"Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother, and a David Beckham in training. He's also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of isolation and bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio. At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy's soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship... with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans--he's passing. So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer's coach to bench him after he discovers the "F" on Spencer's birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even though it would mean coming out to everyone-- including the guy he's falling for"--

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Subjects
Genres
Young adult fiction
Transgender fiction
School fiction
Sports fiction
Novels
Published
New York : Dial Books 2021.
Language
English
Physical Description
300 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781984815408
1984815407
Main Author
Isaac Fitzsimons (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Spencer, a Black teen, doesn't want any drama when he starts his sophomore year at a new school. When he came out as trans at his previous school, things went downhill fast, so his parents decided he could start fresh at Oakley, known for being the most liberal school in the county. But Spencer's plans don't last long when he runs into—and soon begins to fall for—a Wesley Crusher look-alike named Justice, whose white, ultraconservative family is known for pushing back against LGBTQ+ initiatives at Oakley. Spencer soon finds a sense of community in the boys soccer team, at least until the league discovers the assigned gender on his birth certificate, which could end up disqualifying the whole team if coach lets him play. Fitzsimons' debut novel treats gender, religion, sports, and family dynamics with a deft hand, using nuanced character building while setting up a high-stakes narrative that circumvents tropes of physical violence and trauma. This is a truly charming and heart-warming exploration of friendship, community, and acceptance. Grades 8-12. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Spencer is a transgender student at a new school determined to pass by not letting anyone know he is trans. He left his old school after it went under lockdown when he received a death threat from a student after coming out. When an incident occurs during PE, Spencer is recruited to the boys soccer team, a sport that he loves but has not played since his transition. While his parents support his transition, they feel he is not ready to play on the boys team, so Spencer lies so he can participate. This novel deals with more than just Spencer's journey into deciding whether to come out to his teammates and new school. His love interest, Justice, comes from a conservative Christian background and has to deal with parents who will not accept him for who he is. Spencer also has an autisic younger brother who is having difficulty getting settled in his new school as well. Spencer comes from an ideal situation of support, and flashbacks to experiences early on in his transition help readers understand how his parents came to accept him. Spencer is biracial (Black and white) and Justice is white. VERDICT An excellent addition to realistic fiction collections. Give to fans of Tobly McSmith's Stay Gold and Bill Konigsberg's Openly Straight.—Ashley Leffel, Griffin M.S., Frisco, TX Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Love, Simon meets Bend It Like Beckham in this feel-good contemporary romance about a trans athlete who must decide between fighting for his right to play and staying stealth.“A sharply observant and vividly drawn debut. I loved every minute I spent in this story, and I’ve never rooted harder for a jock in my life.” – New York Times bestselling author Becky Albertalli Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother, and a David Beckham in training. He's also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of isolation and bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio. At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boys' soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans—he's passing. But when a discriminatory law forces Spencer's coach to bench him, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even though it would mean coming out to everyone—including the guy he's falling for.