A moving novel about the hard life of a queer girl named Pen(elope). Having the difficulties of a normal teenage girl and more, needing to decide who are the right people to hang with and who to avoid. What's wrong and what's right? Her mother wants her to be a princesa but Pen knows that that is not who she is, yet would that make life easier? To be like every other girl? This book really goes into the events that queer girls have to deal with in real life too. It shows that you should be who you are and others should not judge, yet they do. This book also uncovers the other side of the ‘hierarchy’ that is in most schools, that being the more druggy rebellion side of school. It gives you an emotional roller coaster with all the events happening throughout the novel, asking questions like what will happen next? Who's to blame? It is a good read to pass time and I really enjoyed reading it because it goes to show that everyone's different, and that you shouldn't stereotype. 3/5 stars.
- @MyWeekIsBooked of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
This book doesn’t have many action scenes in it and so I didn’t enjoy reading it for the most part. The main character, Pen, learns more about herself as time goes by however at the same time, she runs into many conflicts with her friends and family which will impact who she is and what she does. This leads her to fully understand what it really means to be loyal. As her mother and father push her into being the princess they want their daughter to be, Pen realizes that it doesn’t matter if she gives respect to them or not, she will still be treated the same way, resulting in her disagreements with her parents. This book didn’t have many thrills in it however as I got closer to the end, the scenes got more and more intense because it had more of a shock and suspense to go with it. I would give this book a 2/5.
- @booklover327 of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
Girl Mans Up is one of the best books that I have ever read. The authentic and important story of a butch lesbian is an eye-opener and something that could really open doors to discussion about this topic. Exploration of gender identity is progressively becoming more recognized, and slowly accepted. This book covered the topic in an incredible way, but showing how Pen fights for her rights despite everyone sort of bringing them down. The book deals with topics such as sexual orientation and gender, as well as topics such as breaking away from parental control. I loved the main character, Pen, because of how incredibly tough and passionate she is and the lengths she would go to to defend herself and how her character developed from being in abusive and difficult friendships to transitioning into a group of friends who accepted her and understood her as well as they could. Pen went through so much in this novel and always tried to push through it despite how hard things got, which was inspiring to read. Also, the way Pen doesn’t so much as speak, but acts upon her identity and sexuality was very interesting to read. Additionally, teenagers these days are very immersed in sexuality and drug use. This book showed how and why teenagers think in certain ways and act upon certain things, and I believe some of the events in this book are events that some readers can relate to and sympathize with, which is always a great aspect in a novel, especially a YA novel. I would rate this book a 5/5 stars.
- @AllegroReader of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
Girl Mans Up is a great book about Pen, a 16-year old girl, who wants to dress like a boy. She wonders, “why do so many people have an issue with that?” Trying to navigate the world with old school parents who don’t accept her choices, and hanging out with friends in the wrong crowd is bringing her down. She’s surviving, but when she meets Blake, everything changes. In order to get what she wants, Pen has to rearrange her life, no more waiting around. Talking about gender identity and acceptance are two very important things that this book does very well, all the while having a strong storyline. It was an interesting read and I would recommend it for sure.
- @tacoboutbooks of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
Girl Mans Up is one of the most raw, real, and refreshing novels of our time. Girard teaches us all some of the most important society lessons to date and provides us with such a diverse book, that one can’t help but finish the book all in one sitting. Pen has spent her entire life getting glances from people, wondering if she is a girl or boy, but Pen just wants to do her own thing. She surprises herself when she breaks away from her childhood friend, Colby, when she is tired of doing what he wants. She takes her life in her hands, takes her sexuality and orientation as well, and sets out to find out what she can be. There is so much to gather from this book because topics are touched upon that normally would be dangerous for an author to write about; so I applaud Girard for taking such a big risk. There is a lot of conflictions that Pen must face, from her parents forcing her to be the good girl she’s not, and Colby talking about loyalty like Pen isn’t a good enough person. But all in all, I have nothing but love for Pen because she is such a strong and independent person. She’s not an influence; but she is a standing example of staying true to yourself. Girl Mans Up is righteous, wins everything, and I have all respeito for Pen.
- @jewelreader of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
Friendship, gender norms, teenage pregnancy, sexual assault, and bullying are just some of the issues tackled in this rivetting coming-of age story. I wish this book had been around when I was in high school.
Frenemies, love, teen pregnancy, teenage angst - the hardships, challenges, and joys of young adulthood are all here in this book, and we see them through the eyes of main character Pen, a teenager who doesn't fit the usual boy/girl stereotype. It is great to see an increasing number of books with trans teens as characters, but this isn't a story about a 'young trans boy': Pen doesn't want to be a boy - she just wants to look like one, and that confuses people. As she and her friends navigate the social world of school and town, she starts to question who her real friends are, how her family stick together, and what she needs to do to man up and do the right thing in a difficult situation. I wish this book had been written when I was a teenager!
A great view of those of us who don't fit into particular "boxes" of identity. What do you do if you don't fit what society thinks a girl should be but you definitely don't want to be like a boy either?
One of those amazing reads that you want to finish all in one go. "Girl Mans Up" is an engrossing and realistic read about the importance of real friendship, loyalty, family, and being true to yourself. A fantastic pick for anyone who has ever looked in the mirror and felt that their reflection didn't show them for who they truly are.
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