Man o' war

Cory McCarthy

Book - 2022

On a field trip to SeaPlanet, seventeen-year-old Arab-American high school swimmer River McIntyre has a chance encounter with Indy, a happy, healthy queer person, which sets off a wrenching journey of self-discovery, from internalized homophobia and gender dysphoria, through layers of coming out, affirmation surgery, and true love.

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Genres
Fiction
Published
New York : Dutton Books 2022.
Language
English
Physical Description
pages cm
Audience
Ages 14 and up.
Grades 10-12.
ISBN
9780593353707
0593353706
Main Author
Cory McCarthy (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

River McIntyre, a gifted swimmer, finds themselves increasingly relating to the creatures held captive at the Sea World–esque marine park in their hometown. When a chance encounter with the confident, gender-fluid classmate they used to bully catches River by surprise, they are struck by overwhelming emotion, which upends their sense of self and sends them into a tailspin. This inner turmoil leads River to, literally, throw themselves to the sharks. Recovering from and finding meaning in this incident involves a grueling process of losing and gaining loved ones, "falling out of the wrong closet," learning to recognize and face both gender dysphoria and alienation from their Arab American identity, and the challenging but sweet process of falling in love. McCarthy adeptly presents the humor and heartbreak of River's journey, avoiding easy answers and embracing nuance. Readers will root for River through the pain, anger, and swim meets and be rewarded with a love story destined to make a splash. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

River McIntyre, a gifted swimmer, finds themselves increasingly relating to the creatures held captive at the Sea World–esque marine park in their hometown. When a chance encounter with the confident, gender-fluid classmate they used to bully catches River by surprise, they are struck by overwhelming emotion, which upends their sense of self and sends them into a tailspin. This inner turmoil leads River to, literally, throw themselves to the sharks. Recovering from and finding meaning in this incident involves a grueling process of losing and gaining loved ones, "falling out of the wrong closet," learning to recognize and face both gender dysphoria and alienation from their Arab American identity, and the challenging but sweet process of falling in love. McCarthy adeptly presents the humor and heartbreak of River's journey, avoiding easy answers and embracing nuance. Readers will root for River through the pain, anger, and swim meets and be rewarded with a love story destined to make a splash. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Trans nonbinary swimmer River McIntyre, who is Irish and Arab American, is a high school sophomore when a chance encounter with white, agender former classmate Indigo "Indy" Waits, at their Ohio hometown's aquarium, causes River to fall "out of the closet, literally into a shark tank." Over the next several years, River navigates dysphoria, internalized queerphobia, and their swim coach's bigotry, all while feeling disconnected from their Lebanese heritage due to their mother's trauma from post-9/11 racism. As self-accepting Indy helps River on their journey of self-discovery, the two develop a romantic relationship that's as complicated as it is tender. Multiple time jumps, some spanning years (the story follows River into adulthood), interrupt the book's flow at points, rendering important relational developments off-page. But in River's memorable voice, McCarthy (Once and Future) strikes a balance between piercing wit and aching vulnerability, while River's interest in sea life provides a compelling, complex metaphor for their own fluid gender identity. The result is a thoughtful, nuanced exploration of what it's like to feel trapped—and how to make it out. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (May) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

On a field trip to SeaPlanet, seventeen-year-old Arab American high school swimmer River McIntyre has a chance encounter with Indy, a happy, healthy queer person, which sets off a wrenching journey of self-discovery, from internalized homophobia and gender dysphoria, through layers of coming out, affirmation surgery, and true love.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

While at a marine life theme park, River’s encounter with a queer person lands him in the shark tank, which launches a journey of self-discovery, from internalized homophobia and gender dysphoria, through layers of coming out, affirmation surgery, and true love. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

An achingly honest and frequently hilarious coming-of-age novel about an Arab American trans swimmer fighting to keep their head above water in a landlocked Midwestern town.River McIntyre has grown up down the street from Sea Planet, an infamous marine life theme park slowly going out of business in small-town Ohio. When a chance encounter with a happy, healthy queer person on the annual field trip lands River literally in the shark tank, they must admit the truth: they don’t know who they are—only what they’ve been told to be. This sets off a wrenching journey of self-discovery, from internalized homophobia and gender dysphoria, through layers of coming out, affirmation surgery, and true freakin’ love. “River is the most emotionally engaging character I've read in a long time, and this novel is a deep and comprehensive exploration of the journey transgender people trek through the confining world they're born into. Eye-opening, heartfelt, and real—with a massive payoff of true love.” —A.S. King, author of Dig, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award