Reader: Elise S.
Age: 15
Title: Parrotfish
Author: Ellen Wittlinger
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pub Date:
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: When Angela comes out as the boy Grady, her family and friends react in increments of extreme. But in his time of change, Grady finds support, humor, and even a blossoming romance in very surprising places.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Parrotfish is unique in many ways. The main character, even though he's very different from me, is completely relateable, and the author frames his hardships in a way that is clear, and poignant. The subject matter, transgenderism (is that a word?), isn't common. But it didn't feel like she browsed B&N and picked a topic she didn't see, she took this, and informed the reader while telling a great story. The secondary characters were just as interesting and alive as the protagonist, but didn't overtake the him in the interesting factor.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The way the author showed how differently people reacted to Angela turning into Grady was my favorite part. While it was extreme, it wasn't to the parents saying "I don't love you, get out of my house," extreme. I loved how he wasn't entirely isolated, and that he found some unexpected allies. It made it much more interesting than the bland 'everybody hates me.' It also made me see the world in a different way. I have a friend who is transgender, and reading Parrotfish helped me understand who he is more, which is one of the most valuable things a book can do. It also taught me about the mating habits of reef fish.
Cover: I didn't think the cover was a stunner, as covers go, but it was interesting enough. I liked how the model actually looked like how I pictured Grady, and you couldn't tell if the person was a girl or a boy. The fading colors of the title added a lot of quiet flair that made it stand out. Another point for the image was that it didn't try to tell the whole plot, rather picked something that captured the spirit of the book.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

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