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A coming-of-age story about transgender tween Obie, who didn't think being himself would cause such a splash. For fans of Alex Gino's George and Lisa Bunker's Felix Yz. Obie knew his transition would have ripple effects. He has to leave his swim coach, his pool, and his best friends. But it's time for Obie to find where he truly belongs. As Obie dives into a new team, A coming-of-age story about transgender tween Obie, who didn't think being himself would cause such a splash. For fans of Alex Gino's George and Lisa Bunker's Felix Yz. Obie knew his transition would have ripple effects. He has to leave his swim coach, his pool, and his best friends. But it's time for Obie to find where he truly belongs. As Obie dives into a new team, though, things are strange. Obie always felt at home in the water, but now he can't get his old coach out of his head. Even worse are the bullies that wait in the locker room and on the pool deck. Luckily, Obie has family behind him. And maybe some new friends too, including Charlie, his first crush. Obie is ready to prove he can be one of the fastest boys in the water--to his coach, his critics, and his biggest competition: himself.


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A coming-of-age story about transgender tween Obie, who didn't think being himself would cause such a splash. For fans of Alex Gino's George and Lisa Bunker's Felix Yz. Obie knew his transition would have ripple effects. He has to leave his swim coach, his pool, and his best friends. But it's time for Obie to find where he truly belongs. As Obie dives into a new team, A coming-of-age story about transgender tween Obie, who didn't think being himself would cause such a splash. For fans of Alex Gino's George and Lisa Bunker's Felix Yz. Obie knew his transition would have ripple effects. He has to leave his swim coach, his pool, and his best friends. But it's time for Obie to find where he truly belongs. As Obie dives into a new team, though, things are strange. Obie always felt at home in the water, but now he can't get his old coach out of his head. Even worse are the bullies that wait in the locker room and on the pool deck. Luckily, Obie has family behind him. And maybe some new friends too, including Charlie, his first crush. Obie is ready to prove he can be one of the fastest boys in the water--to his coach, his critics, and his biggest competition: himself.

30 review for Obie Is Man Enough

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    This was a fairly hard book to read as a trans person and I would urge you to look up the trigger warnings and make sure you're in the right mindset before you go in. But because the book is so full of support - Obie deals with transphobic bullying, but he's surrounded from all sides by supportive family and teachers - I found it a really well-balanced book regardless. I feel like this book achieves a commendably good balance between being empowering for trans readers and being educational for ci This was a fairly hard book to read as a trans person and I would urge you to look up the trigger warnings and make sure you're in the right mindset before you go in. But because the book is so full of support - Obie deals with transphobic bullying, but he's surrounded from all sides by supportive family and teachers - I found it a really well-balanced book regardless. I feel like this book achieves a commendably good balance between being empowering for trans readers and being educational for cis readers. Cis kids reading this will learn a lot from Obie's experiences and his feelings about them, but the book never prioritizes that over the well being and empowerment of trans readers (like books with trans main characters from cis authors tend to do). CWs: transphobia, bullying, outing (bully outs the MC to someone), transphobic and homophobic slurs, deadnaming, misgendering, death of a grandparent, discussions of traumatic war experiences from a Korean grandparent, slutshaming.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adri

    4.5 Stars CWs: Bullying and physical assault; transphobia, deadnaming, and misgendering; transphobic, homophobic, and sexual slurs; some internalized transphobia and ableism; grief and death of a grandparent. How do I even begin to describe my love for Obie is Man Enough? This middle grade debut is one that I know is going to change and save so many lives. I can say that with absolute certainty and with all the confidence in the world, because Schuyler's work as a trans activist has changed *m 4.5 Stars CWs: Bullying and physical assault; transphobia, deadnaming, and misgendering; transphobic, homophobic, and sexual slurs; some internalized transphobia and ableism; grief and death of a grandparent. How do I even begin to describe my love for Obie is Man Enough? This middle grade debut is one that I know is going to change and save so many lives. I can say that with absolute certainty and with all the confidence in the world, because Schuyler's work as a trans activist has changed *my* life for the better, and that same work is not only celebrated but furthered in this incredible story. I should start by saying that Obie is Man Enough is a challenging story at times. But what's important is that Obie's transness is never positioned as the challenging part. The story definitely explores transphobia and bullying, specifically, in unequivocal and realistic ways. While those scenes can be hard to read, especially as a trans person myself, I think the inclusion of that reality is necessary, not only because transphobia is often logistically and sometimes legally sanctioned (or even encouraged) in public spaces, but because "representation" doesn't just mean depicting the good things or the easy things. Sometimes people think that the most "interesting" or most "important" part of being trans is realizing your transness or coming out as trans. But Obie is Man Enough addresses the far more pressing and compelling question: how do you *live* and *thrive* as a trans person? In order to truly honor trans joy and trans triumph—which this story certainly does—you also need to honor the systemic and personal hardships and adversity our community continues to face by acknowledging them. To be a trans kid, especially, is to constantly face down people wanting to quantify or police your transness, or wanting to aggressively reassert your assigned gender over you as a means of "dissuading" you, and this story intimately understands that challenge. I also think the inclusion of those challenging scenes—and by extension, the discussions that stem from them—is necessary because they show young readers how to respond to those types of situations, whether it's seeking help from an adult or an authority figure or familiarizing yourself with other resources and forms of support. On that same note, Obie is surrounded by an incredible support system, which is so important. Some people might say that having a story where a young trans boy is accepted, loved, and supported by every important important person in his life is quote-unquote "unrealistic." But my challenge to those people is: Why should it be? Why is supporting trans people, especially trans youth, so often outside of the scope of our collective imagination and how can we remedy that? The author speaks more on why he made that particular choice in his author's note at the end of the book, but even aside from that, it's imperative that we have working examples and models of genuine support, allyship, and acceptance. These supporting characters who care about Obie, who see him for exactly who he is and actively want to see him succeed and be safe, can also provide a helpful model for trans allies. As important as it is to have good and nuanced trans representation—which again, this book definitely has front and center—it's also important for allies to see what healthy, practical, and supportive responses actually look like. It's important to see examples of how the people in Obie's life levy their privilege in order to help him stay safe when it's in their power to act. Especially considering the bullying and gatekeeping that Obie is experiencing, those safe spaces—whether they be people or actual spaces—become all the more sacred as the story progresses. Though Obie is facing so many obstacles, he is never alone in facing them down, and that's what's most important. The story empowers young readers to know their rights, to establish healthy boundaries, and to familiarize themselves with their resources. Friends and family can be allies, teachers can be allies, coaches can be allies, administrators can be allies, doctors can be allies, mentors can be allies. Learning to recognize all the different places where that much-needed support can come from can make a huge difference in a trans kid's life. I also really appreciate how the story challenges toxic masculinity, specifically in binary-gendered sports. The book begins with Obie's old coach verbally shaming him for being "weak" and proclaiming that he'll never be "a real man" unless he can beat all the other male swimmers in his age bracket—something this coach has deemed to be "biologically impossible." Obie definitely internalizes this message and pushes himself in training with the singular goal of "proving everyone wrong" and showing everyone that he "deserves" to swim with the other boys because of his skill. But as the story goes on, he realizes that being a good swimmer—and being a guy—can't be quantified by the amount of people you beat, but rather the diligence it takes to keep on going and to commit yourself to continuously learning and growing. The story is also a powerful testimony to the fact that change is a natural part of life, whether you're trans or not. Obie is struggling to navigate fluctuating relationships in his life. He wants to give priority to his current friends and teammates, who are supportive and nurturing, but he's also dealing with his bully, Clyde, who used to be his best friend when they were kids, and also his friend Lucy, who has distanced herself since Obie came out as trans. There's a powerful opposite-moving parallel between these three characters, because as Obie transitions and becomes more and more himself, Clyde and Lucy are also "transitioning" in their own way as they go from being Obie's friends to being estranged and disconnected. All of these characters are changing as they grow up, but the changes Obie is going through as a trans person are hyper-visual and politicized in a way that most change is not. But that's the reality of growing up: some people grow towards the light, and some people grow away from it. Obie's biracial Korean-American identity is also an integral part of the story that is so beautifully written. A big part of Obie's masculinity—which he gets to define for himself over the course of the book—is knowing and honoring his culture on both sides of his family. There's a tenderness and honesty to the way his family dynamic is written, and I think it's so incredibly important for trans youth of color to see examples of how their gender can be valued, honored, and respected within their culture and not in spite of it. Obie's family being supportive and open shows the possibility of acceptance (and not just tolerance) to trans youth who need it the most. Overall, this book is just an absolute triumph! It covers so many topics—transphobia, toxic masculinity, family, friendship, culture, dating, social and medical transition, allyship, forgiveness etc.—while still weaving a cohesive and dynamic plot that will keep you rooting for Obie until the very last page. My one note is that sometimes the dialogue (from the adults, especially) can come off as a little too "educational," meaning that sometimes responses are set up a little *too* transparently as a "learning moment." While I think the content of those conversations is very much necessary, I think there are one or two places where those teachable moments could have been integrated a little bit more organically. But that definitely did not take anything away from the impact this book had on me. Obie is Man Enough is a sensational, fully realized, deeply emotional middle grade story that is full of heart and sincerity. It shows trans kids, especially, that they are loved, they are valued, they are worthy, they are powerful, and they are needed. Whether you know a young reader or have a young reader in your heart who needs this story, it is not one to be missed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nev

    Obie is a trans boy in the seventh grade and is having to get used to swimming on a new team after his old coach kicked him off because he didn’t accept him as a boy. He’s also dealing with some very intense bullying from a former friend at school. The story isn’t all grim, he has the support of friends and family, a new crush, and a goal to become one of the fastest boys on the swim team. I think this might be one of the most intense Middle Grade books I’ve ever read. I knew going in that Obie Obie is a trans boy in the seventh grade and is having to get used to swimming on a new team after his old coach kicked him off because he didn’t accept him as a boy. He’s also dealing with some very intense bullying from a former friend at school. The story isn’t all grim, he has the support of friends and family, a new crush, and a goal to become one of the fastest boys on the swim team. I think this might be one of the most intense Middle Grade books I’ve ever read. I knew going in that Obie was going to encounter transphobia, but I had no idea of how explicit it would be. Transphobic and homophobic slurs are used against him multiple times throughout the book. He is supported by his family, friends, and the administration at school but it was still tough to read at times. It was really rewarding to watch Obie excel in swimming, stand up to his bullies and friends who haven’t been there for him, and start a relationship. Also, I enjoyed seeing how Obie’s Korean heritage played into the story and how he thought of the intersections of his identity. I do think that the writing felt a bit stilted at times or like these young kids were making references that didn’t totally seem relevant for modern kids. But overall this was a great, hard-hitting Middle Grade story. Thank you to the publisher for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Keydon

    As a trans male who is actually on their swim team, I cannot wait to read this book. I’ve been waiting for something like this for ages and I’m praying that I can relate to it

  5. 4 out of 5

    lavi :p

    everyone add this to your tbrs right now.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aiya

    I enjoyed this book, it really is a great ownvoices representation especially for a middle-grade book. I had an issue with the large amounts of transphobia and hatred that Obie had to face. At points, it was so upsetting that I had to put the book down. This may just be my own thing, I don't love books that center around violence and hardships that queer people go through. The author did give adequate warnings before the beginning of the story but it was very intense. I loved all of the characters I enjoyed this book, it really is a great ownvoices representation especially for a middle-grade book. I had an issue with the large amounts of transphobia and hatred that Obie had to face. At points, it was so upsetting that I had to put the book down. This may just be my own thing, I don't love books that center around violence and hardships that queer people go through. The author did give adequate warnings before the beginning of the story but it was very intense. I loved all of the characters, and it felt very realistic of the age group. None of the characters behaved perfectly, even the good characters made little mistakes here and there because they're human. I loved that Obie's parents and the rest of his family were supportive of his transition, that's something that I adore in queer books. Obie's romance with his gf and their dates are so cute to read through. I was rooting for them the whole time, I wish there had been a couple more scenes of them together because I just couldn't get enough of them. Overall, it's a pretty cute book but there are a lot of dark and dreary moments that made me want to quit reading. I just kept waiting for things to get better for Obie, and it was upsetting that it took so long.

  7. 5 out of 5

    LGBT Representation in Books

    Trigger Warnings: Transphobia, deadnaming, bullying, police brutality/systemic racism, violence, toxic masculinity, trauma, blood, needles, testosterone, Catholicism, death, negative self-talk, assisted living facility, racism, death of a parent, outing someone, homophobia, cursing Representation: Transgender, Korean, Gay, Salvadorian, Cuban Obie is Man Enough is a middle grade novel about a boy named Obie who has to change swim teams due to ignorance and bullying. Obie struggles with his intersec Trigger Warnings: Transphobia, deadnaming, bullying, police brutality/systemic racism, violence, toxic masculinity, trauma, blood, needles, testosterone, Catholicism, death, negative self-talk, assisted living facility, racism, death of a parent, outing someone, homophobia, cursing Representation: Transgender, Korean, Gay, Salvadorian, Cuban Obie is Man Enough is a middle grade novel about a boy named Obie who has to change swim teams due to ignorance and bullying. Obie struggles with his intersectional identities and learns more about himself through the support of his circle and the different challenges he faces. Obie is ready to prove to everyone that he can swim with the boys and even beat them! Aww I loved this story! This was an easy read despite it being geared toward middle grade. Obie felt fully developed and flawed. His inner dialogue was completely relatable, even to an adult. I felt like Obie was very mature for 13 and struggled with relationships like we all do. I loved the texts and lists along the way. The story comes to a complete and satisfying close, resolving the issues that occurred and allowing Obie to continue to grow and develop into the man he is. I also really enjoyed learning more about swimming! Obie’s family is very supportive of him, which is often not the case for Transgender kids. I loved how Obie could recognize this and the author’s note at the end as well. I also felt Obie’s relationship with different adults was so realistic and relatable, coming from a similar situation myself. Overall, this was a fantastic read and I could not put it down! This eARC was provided by the publisher, Random House Children’s via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dayla

    TW: F-Slur, Homophobia, transphobia, Bullying One of the reasons why I love MGLit so much is because of the power some of these books hold. The emotion behind them and the stories being told are sometimes so much more powerful, since it’s written from the perspective of someone who we, as a society, think should be safeguarded from certain negative experiences like discrimination and bullying. This book is one of those books that will linger with me for a long time. I’ll internally struggle with TW: F-Slur, Homophobia, transphobia, Bullying One of the reasons why I love MGLit so much is because of the power some of these books hold. The emotion behind them and the stories being told are sometimes so much more powerful, since it’s written from the perspective of someone who we, as a society, think should be safeguarded from certain negative experiences like discrimination and bullying. This book is one of those books that will linger with me for a long time. I’ll internally struggle with who to recommend it to because of some of the situations and the slurs that are thrown at the MC because he is Trans, but I’ll know it’s there waiting for the right reader. BUT with that thought written out, I know that this is the kind of book that NEEDS to be read because of its content. It is in these jarring experiences that most of us can begin to hopefully understand the pain so many kids experiences Obie is one strong teenager and if he were real, I’d want to hug him and tell him that he is loved. I love that characters like his exist in literature, and I really hope to see more of them. I’d highly recommend this book to everyone, just know that there are certain triggers. Also, props to the author for making the love interest Cuban!! Happy reading!

  9. 4 out of 5

    LGBT Representation in Books

    Trigger Warnings: Transphobia, deadnaming, bullying, police brutality/systemic racism, violence, toxic masculinity, trauma, blood, needles, testosterone, Catholicism, death, negative self-talk, assisted living facility, racism, death of a parent, outing someone, homophobia, cursing Representation: Transgender, Korean, Gay, Salvadorian, Cuban Obie is Man Enough is a middle grade novel about a boy named Obie who has to change swim teams due to ignorance and bullying. Obie struggles with his intersec Trigger Warnings: Transphobia, deadnaming, bullying, police brutality/systemic racism, violence, toxic masculinity, trauma, blood, needles, testosterone, Catholicism, death, negative self-talk, assisted living facility, racism, death of a parent, outing someone, homophobia, cursing Representation: Transgender, Korean, Gay, Salvadorian, Cuban Obie is Man Enough is a middle grade novel about a boy named Obie who has to change swim teams due to ignorance and bullying. Obie struggles with his intersectional identities and learns more about himself through the support of his circle and the different challenges he faces. Obie is ready to prove to everyone that he can swim with the boys and even beat them! Aww I loved this story! This was an easy read despite it being geared toward middle grade. Obie felt fully developed and flawed. His inner dialogue was completely relatable, even to an adult. I felt like Obie was very mature for 13 and struggled with relationships like we all do. I loved the texts and lists along the way. The story comes to a complete and satisfying close, resolving the issues that occurred and allowing Obie to continue to grow and develop into the man he is. I also really enjoyed learning more about swimming! Obie’s family is very supportive of him, which is often not the case for Transgender kids. I loved how Obie could recognize this and the author’s note at the end as well. I also felt Obie’s relationship with different adults was so realistic and relatable, coming from a similar situation myself. Overall, this was a fantastic read and I could not put it down! This eARC was provided by the publisher, Random House Children’s via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Representation matters, and Schuyler has done an #ownvoices in the strongest possible way. He too was assigned female at birth, as Obie is in this story, and He too was on the swim team. So, he knows by where he speaks, or writes in this case. From the get-go, we see Obie being assaulted by his former friend, and unlike so many novels, Obie does go and report it, and we do get to see the bully kicked out of school. This doesn't mean the rest of the book is just butterflies and roses, though. Good Representation matters, and Schuyler has done an #ownvoices in the strongest possible way. He too was assigned female at birth, as Obie is in this story, and He too was on the swim team. So, he knows by where he speaks, or writes in this case. From the get-go, we see Obie being assaulted by his former friend, and unlike so many novels, Obie does go and report it, and we do get to see the bully kicked out of school. This doesn't mean the rest of the book is just butterflies and roses, though. Good voice for Obie. You feel the struggles he is going through, and it is so nice that his parents are right there helping him and loving him, every step of the way. Good book for middle graders to read if they are cis gendered or transgender, they will get things out of this either way. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    smalltownbookmom

    A powerfully moving semi-autobiographical middle grade story about Obie, a transgender, biracial Korean American boy who just wants to swim. This book is so much more than just a transgender story, it deals with hate speech, bullying, self-acceptance, first love, transphobia, and the complexities of being a transgender athlete. I really enjoyed Obie’s first dating experiences and how nerve wracking it was to try to figure out who to trust and when to share he was transgender. I also loved the ex A powerfully moving semi-autobiographical middle grade story about Obie, a transgender, biracial Korean American boy who just wants to swim. This book is so much more than just a transgender story, it deals with hate speech, bullying, self-acceptance, first love, transphobia, and the complexities of being a transgender athlete. I really enjoyed Obie’s first dating experiences and how nerve wracking it was to try to figure out who to trust and when to share he was transgender. I also loved the extra layer of his Korean American identity and the way that made it more difficult to come out to his family. Overall a great read I highly recommend, especially for fans of George. The book includes a great author’s note and resource guide for transgender youth too.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Em

    Would love to read another book about Obie!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Delaney 🏳️‍🌈

    Amazing! RTC

  14. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Equally heart-breaking and uplifting, this middle grade novel follows Obie, a biracial (Korean/white) transgender boy who is grappling with swimming for the first time against boys, his ex-best friend becoming his bully, and his first crush. Author and swimmer Schuyler Bailar, the first transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division I men's team, provides a truly authentic voice for Obie. Glossary and resources in the back make this a wonderful read for anyone wanting to explore Equally heart-breaking and uplifting, this middle grade novel follows Obie, a biracial (Korean/white) transgender boy who is grappling with swimming for the first time against boys, his ex-best friend becoming his bully, and his first crush. Author and swimmer Schuyler Bailar, the first transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division I men's team, provides a truly authentic voice for Obie. Glossary and resources in the back make this a wonderful read for anyone wanting to explore the experiences of transgender individuals, regardless of their gender identity. But the heart and authenticity infusing every moment is what makes this book essential reading for everyone. --- NetGalley provided a free digital review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Oh my GOD this book! From the moment it started, I felt for Obie. Every time he got in the pool, every race, every school interaction, every struggle, I was cheering him on (sometimes out loud). This book so easily could have crossed the threshold into melodrama, but it had such a strong heart that it kept me hooked and invested the whole time. Obie is a transgender, biracial Korean American boy who just wants to be Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Oh my GOD this book! From the moment it started, I felt for Obie. Every time he got in the pool, every race, every school interaction, every struggle, I was cheering him on (sometimes out loud). This book so easily could have crossed the threshold into melodrama, but it had such a strong heart that it kept me hooked and invested the whole time. Obie is a transgender, biracial Korean American boy who just wants to be respected as he pursues his dreams and hobbies. He is a brilliant swimmer and writer who faces obstacles unique to the trans experience (e.g. transphobic bullying) but also universal problems (e.g. dating). I can only imagine how impactful this book could be in the hands of young trans readers searching for representation of their stories that features both the positives and negatives in sensitive ways and provides hope that there are more good people than bad. If you're a cis reader, I recommend you check this out to have a small glimpse into the struggles and joy of trans experiences. If you're a trans reader, I recommend checking this out to see the ways in which Obie's story might resonate with you or at least illustrate one of the infinite ways your own story could play out. TW: transphobia, bullying, homophobia, cursing, physical violence, verbal abuse, outing someone

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)

    4.5 stars Trigger warnings: bullying, transphobia, outing Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Books for an advanced copy of this to review! I saw it on NetGalley and it definitely caught my eye. One of my goals is to read more middle grade LGBTQ books, and this fit that bill. And I’m happy to say I really enjoyed this one! At the start, the writing feels a little rocky, since it’s a debut. But Bailar hits his stride about halfway through the book and Obie’s voice really shines through. In fact, Ba 4.5 stars Trigger warnings: bullying, transphobia, outing Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Books for an advanced copy of this to review! I saw it on NetGalley and it definitely caught my eye. One of my goals is to read more middle grade LGBTQ books, and this fit that bill. And I’m happy to say I really enjoyed this one! At the start, the writing feels a little rocky, since it’s a debut. But Bailar hits his stride about halfway through the book and Obie’s voice really shines through. In fact, Bailar nails Obie’s voice in this book. Part of this story is Obie finding his voice, gaining confidence and learning that he truly does have an amazing support system in place. It was great seeing a school that takes such swift action against bullying, becuase you don’t always see that in fiction. While there is a lot of transphobia and bullying in this book (which is noted with a content warning in the beginning), it’s balanced well with Obie’s friends, parents, and teachers. They want to do what’s best for Obie, and I loved seeing that. His new friends on his new swim team absolutely have his back. There are so many of these great relationships in this book, and I would absolutely read this just for those. Plus, Obie learns to find his voice in writing, and this balances out the swimming really well in this book. Obie is also part Korean, and his scenes with his grandma are so heartwarming. They make kimchi and talk about Korea, and these scenes are beautiful. There’s so much to love about this book, honestly! The only reason this isn’t getting a full five stars is because the writing is shaky in a few places. But you can definitely see potential! I can’t wait to see what else Bailar comes out with, because this is a voice that needs to be heard in middle grade books.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joya

    CAWPILE: 8.71 I received an advanced copy of this book for review and let me say that it was so good. This is the kind of book I think everyone should read (if the content won't trigger them) because it allows for better understanding of being a kid not comfortable with being in the body they were born in. Obie was a great kid and I am so glad that he was able to do what he needed to do. There were definitely things that I wish were handled or executed differently, in general and in resolution, b CAWPILE: 8.71 I received an advanced copy of this book for review and let me say that it was so good. This is the kind of book I think everyone should read (if the content won't trigger them) because it allows for better understanding of being a kid not comfortable with being in the body they were born in. Obie was a great kid and I am so glad that he was able to do what he needed to do. There were definitely things that I wish were handled or executed differently, in general and in resolution, but this book was still a great one.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Miriasha

    Obie is Korean-American, in seventh grade, and a competitive swimmer working hard to qualify for the Junior Olympics. He’s also transgender. A perfect classroom read, Obie Is Man Enough follows Obie as he faces transphobia at school and from his old swim team and learns to stand up for himself with the support of his community. The transphobia in this book is very present and violent - deadnaming happens, the t and f slurs are used, and it gets kinda dark, although Obie is very well supported by Obie is Korean-American, in seventh grade, and a competitive swimmer working hard to qualify for the Junior Olympics. He’s also transgender. A perfect classroom read, Obie Is Man Enough follows Obie as he faces transphobia at school and from his old swim team and learns to stand up for himself with the support of his community. The transphobia in this book is very present and violent - deadnaming happens, the t and f slurs are used, and it gets kinda dark, although Obie is very well supported by most of the adults in his life and the violence is handled promptly and fully when called to adult attention. I'm not sure I would give this book to a young trans kid, but I do think it's an important book for cis kids (and adults) to read, and may be an important book for trans kids to read but with adult guidance. It may be triggering and upsetting. Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Books for Young Readers for the ARC!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    REPRESENTATION MATTERS and this book brings it. Written by an author who not only transitioned, but was also on the swim team...this book is full of true emotion and accurate descriptions! Obie is a FtoM transgender student athlete who glides through the water just as well as anyone else, because why shouldn't he? I will suggest providing trigger warnings to teens about bullying and more specifically trans-focused bullying, but this book is powerful and well done. MORE OF THIS, more representatio REPRESENTATION MATTERS and this book brings it. Written by an author who not only transitioned, but was also on the swim team...this book is full of true emotion and accurate descriptions! Obie is a FtoM transgender student athlete who glides through the water just as well as anyone else, because why shouldn't he? I will suggest providing trigger warnings to teens about bullying and more specifically trans-focused bullying, but this book is powerful and well done. MORE OF THIS, more representation written by folks who truly understand.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    tw/cw for the book: transphobia, homophobia, slurs, slutshaming, fatphobia, and probably more as someone who shares many identities with obie—asian american, trans, and swimmer—i loved seeing familiar terms and scenes in this book. though this book is definitely geared towards a younger audience, i’m so glad this book exists. especially since swimming is such a gendered sport—i mean, the suits themselves are as gendered as you can get—i know there are young trans swimmers out there for whom this tw/cw for the book: transphobia, homophobia, slurs, slutshaming, fatphobia, and probably more as someone who shares many identities with obie—asian american, trans, and swimmer—i loved seeing familiar terms and scenes in this book. though this book is definitely geared towards a younger audience, i’m so glad this book exists. especially since swimming is such a gendered sport—i mean, the suits themselves are as gendered as you can get—i know there are young trans swimmers out there for whom this book can provide some clarity or hope. even for cis readers and non-swimmers, this is a lovely and educational read about obie’s transness and his other identities. a big thank you to schuyler, who continues to promote LGBTQ+ and intersectional issues, for bringing this book into the world :’)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    What a beautiful, powerful book. A real tour de force. I appreciate that it comes with a trigger warning at the beginning for those who may need it, as it definitely deals with some hard-hitting issues and uses some big language. I will use what I gained from this read in my trans-allyship, as a non-trans person who only wishes to walk side by side with my fellow humans who are processing their own journeys.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Isaiah

    To read more reviews check it out here Just so annoyed that every story about trans people is about how awful it is to be trans. Signed, a trans person To read more reviews check it out here Just so annoyed that every story about trans people is about how awful it is to be trans. Signed, a trans person

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy Dufera - Amy's MM Romance Reviews

    4.5 Stars Obie is Man Enough is an wonderful coming of age story by Schuyler Bailar. This story follows Obie who's a transgender middle school student. His story is powerful, heart breaking, and also inspirational. The writing is fabulous. It's flows great and the storyline will keep you riveted. The author excels in addressing many issues involved with being a transgender teen. And it's heart wrenching at times. The author writes with knowledge, care, and compassion. And also hope. I love this s 4.5 Stars Obie is Man Enough is an wonderful coming of age story by Schuyler Bailar. This story follows Obie who's a transgender middle school student. His story is powerful, heart breaking, and also inspirational. The writing is fabulous. It's flows great and the storyline will keep you riveted. The author excels in addressing many issues involved with being a transgender teen. And it's heart wrenching at times. The author writes with knowledge, care, and compassion. And also hope. I love this story. I wish it didn't have to be told, but damn, the world needs more stories like this. Obie's journey from being a kid with good friends and a great swimmer, to living his truth, while struggling, is extremely heartfelt and honest. His experiences with an ass of a coach and his former friends had me wanting to just hug him and protect him. But through it all, Obie lives his truth. Not all trans kids have a lot of support, but Obie does have some, which is fabulous. His story is similar to a kid I know personally, but not everyone is lucky enough to have parents like Obie's. This is a story I'd recommend to anyone looking to read about a transgender teen's journey, or to learn more about the emotions involved with being trans. That said, although Obie's journey is tough and multi-layered, his parents are fully supportive. Obie's a child who was able to start on hormone blockers early on, and then adding T later. Not all parents are so wonderfully supportive. Thus, if you're looking for a story of a trans teen who doesn't have support at home, skip this one. But if you're looking for a story about a trans teen who's family is supportive, but the rest of his life is a struggle, this is for you. And, honestly, one of my favorite parts is the way the author explores how Obie's friends feel. It's horrible, trust me, but I appreciate the thoughts that drive the friends. Obie is Man Enough is truly a great read. Schuyler Bailar excels in capturing the pain involved with dealing with transphobia. This is one I highly recommend.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ricardo Rivera

    ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I'm impressed by the fact that this just became one of my favorites books of the year, I didn't think I was going to enjoy it this much. Well then, this book is about Obie who is trans boy trying to prove himself that he is "man enough" to belong everywhere. After his coach kicked him out of the swimming team, just because being himself, he also loses his best friend because they don't wanna be around him anymore. But this ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I'm impressed by the fact that this just became one of my favorites books of the year, I didn't think I was going to enjoy it this much. Well then, this book is about Obie who is trans boy trying to prove himself that he is "man enough" to belong everywhere. After his coach kicked him out of the swimming team, just because being himself, he also loses his best friend because they don't wanna be around him anymore. But this is just the beginning of the story, I found this book marvelously real, even though this is no my experience, the relationship between Obie an his brother is something I can relate to, the relationship with his parents and the bond with his teammates is really cool. I was really touch by the fact of how the author talks about experiences through his book and all the speech about we don't need to prove anything to anyone but ourselves and how in the end we only need to be surrounded by the people who love us the way we are. I would highly recommend this book to people who enjoyed books like All Boys Aren't Blue or (one of my favorites of this year too) Felix Ever After or just to everyone who enjoys queer stories.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Trigger Warning Database

    Trigger & Content Warnings Slut shaming Transmisia & transmisic slurs Deadnaming Misgendering Homomisia Outing Grief & loss depiction Death of a grandparent Physical assault Bullying

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Obie is Man Enough was an amazing read that I am definitely going to purchase for our school library as soon as it comes out. The story of Obie as he navigates middle school after his transition is realistic and inspiring. I think that it strikes a decent balance between educational for cis readers and empowering for trans readers. I would definitely want to be sure to talk through potential triggers with any younger trans readers before they pick this up, as it does include instances of deadnam Obie is Man Enough was an amazing read that I am definitely going to purchase for our school library as soon as it comes out. The story of Obie as he navigates middle school after his transition is realistic and inspiring. I think that it strikes a decent balance between educational for cis readers and empowering for trans readers. I would definitely want to be sure to talk through potential triggers with any younger trans readers before they pick this up, as it does include instances of deadnaming, the f-word, and violence. In terms of the actual characters and plot, I found Obie to be incredibly endearing, and I especially enjoyed the evolution of his relationships and how he navigated them. The level of support and intervention from the adults when something happens to Obie is great - he truly does have a community around him.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Williams

    This book was wonderful! It was set near where I live so it was kind of fun to read something based so close to home (extra points always go to stories in Massachusetts!). I love the characters. Obie feels like a very authentic seventh grader (I remember it like it was yesterday!) and his struggles at school are very, very real. I remember being in seventh grade, where unstable friendships were our biggest issues and made the world feel so much worse. This is so true to being a queer kid in midd This book was wonderful! It was set near where I live so it was kind of fun to read something based so close to home (extra points always go to stories in Massachusetts!). I love the characters. Obie feels like a very authentic seventh grader (I remember it like it was yesterday!) and his struggles at school are very, very real. I remember being in seventh grade, where unstable friendships were our biggest issues and made the world feel so much worse. This is so true to being a queer kid in middle school, and Obie is a great narrator and a great character.

  28. 4 out of 5

    michelle

    "You're never going to be a real man, Sarah." That is the very first line of the book and it is said by Obie's swim coach. For anyone who is unaware, using a trans person's dead name is like a slap in the face and shows immediate unacceptance of who they really are. For Obie, not only does he face this insult, but is kicked off of the team at the same time by a coach who cares more about winning than his students. Swimming is Obie's life and his connection with others, so this is a devastating bl "You're never going to be a real man, Sarah." That is the very first line of the book and it is said by Obie's swim coach. For anyone who is unaware, using a trans person's dead name is like a slap in the face and shows immediate unacceptance of who they really are. For Obie, not only does he face this insult, but is kicked off of the team at the same time by a coach who cares more about winning than his students. Swimming is Obie's life and his connection with others, so this is a devastating blow. Fortunately, he does manage to join another team and life goes on. Obie is Man Enough is the coming of age story of a 7th grade transgender boy, particularly his experiences with transphobia. For a cis-gendered person, it is a valuable look into one person's real experiences being trans (based on the experiences of author Schuyler Bailar who is also trans and was on his school's swim team). For someone who is trans or non-binary, I could easily see this book being an incredibly painful read at times, and yet at other times it can be truly empowering. As an ally and mother, I just wanted to give Obie a big hug. Bailar also puts an interesting author's note in the back acknowledging that Obie is coming from a place of privilege with a supportive family and some supportive friends. Obie had support even when some around him were cruel. He had allies when many trans kids are not so fortunate. This book is a coming of age story. Obie navigates losing friends and finding new ones. He has his first crush. He learns how to stand tall and walk proud. The bullying that he faced was sadly not surprising, and was written such that the transphobia was palpable. Fortunately for Obie, the support he does manage to have gave him the strength to live his true life. In addition to his new friends who stand up for him, Obie has an incredibly supportive family, even his Korean grandmother. Obie is Man Enough is officially on my best books of 2021 list. This book was incredibly powerful, impactful, and important while also being very unique and current. Thank you to NetGalley and RHC's Crown Books for Young Readers for a digital ARC. This book is appropriate for kids 10+

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

    Thank you to the publisher for an e-ARC of this middle grade novel. I thought Obie's story was exceptionally well told. Though each person's experience is undoubtedly and markedly different, I think this is an apt representation of what a transgender kid stands to face. Every parent hopes their children receive the support Obie receives from his allies (his teacher, new swimming coach, family, and new friends), and equally fears the bullying he faces. I look forward to seeing this on middle and Thank you to the publisher for an e-ARC of this middle grade novel. I thought Obie's story was exceptionally well told. Though each person's experience is undoubtedly and markedly different, I think this is an apt representation of what a transgender kid stands to face. Every parent hopes their children receive the support Obie receives from his allies (his teacher, new swimming coach, family, and new friends), and equally fears the bullying he faces. I look forward to seeing this on middle and high school shelves.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children's, and Schuyler Bailar for the eARC of Obie is Man Enough in exchange for an honest review. Obie is a thirteen year-old Korean-American trans boy who has to deal with transphobia from both coaches and peers all while navigating new crushes and the ebbs and flows of middle school and past friends. This book brings so many facets of identity into one and pulled it off! It was great to see how Obie feels about his Korean-American identity and how he thi Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children's, and Schuyler Bailar for the eARC of Obie is Man Enough in exchange for an honest review. Obie is a thirteen year-old Korean-American trans boy who has to deal with transphobia from both coaches and peers all while navigating new crushes and the ebbs and flows of middle school and past friends. This book brings so many facets of identity into one and pulled it off! It was great to see how Obie feels about his Korean-American identity and how he thinks about that in relation to his trans identity. The story had a great natural flow to it which always lead me to read more than I intended to. I was nervous with Obie during his swim meets and understood everything he was going through. I'm glad the author added a note at the end of the book telling cis people that Obie's experiences aren't necessarily the experiences that all trans people go through. Obie was lucky enough to have a very supportive family that let him transition when he was young and supported him through the bullying and transphobia. I also liked that this book focused more on Obie living as a trans boy instead of him actually transitioning. There is a lot of rep that I see in books for people coming out and watching them transition, but that leaves a big gap for people who might be wondering what it's like to live as a trans person after being out for a while. I wish we got a physical description of Obie closer to the beginning of the book. We get bits and pieces throughout the story, but we don't really get one until closer to the end of the book. His age is also not something that's really brought up until 20 or 30 pages into the book, and I feel like that's something that also could have been brought up sooner because of his transition timeline. He obviously would have been under different circumstances if he didn't start blockers when he did and we don't find that out until a little less than half way through the story. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to learn more about the trans experience or someone who is trying to figure out their racial identity and how that impacts other parts of their life. This book does a great job of finding the intersections of Obie's identity and exploring them. Please check trigger warnings before starting this book. Transphobia, homophobia, and outing are all topics that are brought up.

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