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Girl Mans Up (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

A touching queer coming of age story. Pen goes through a lot as she learns about who she is, what she stands for and what she’s willing to fight for. Also Johnny is the best big brother in any YA novel ever. [Karen]

— From Girl Mans Up


Lambda Literary Award Winner! “Pen is an inspiration to anyone who’s struggled to be understood, and a vital addition to the growing world of genderqueer protagonists.” —New York Times Book Review

All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it?

They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty.

But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth—that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.

Now available in paperback, M. E. Girard’s Girl Mans Up is perfect for fans of Meredith Russo, Becky Albertalli, Alex Sanchez, and Jaye Robin Brown!

Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2016 * Children’s Book Council Books Best Book of 2016 * Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Coming-of-Age Novel of 2016 and Best Teen Book of 2016 with Unforgettable Protagonists * Publishers Weekly Fall 2016 Flying Starts * William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist

About the Author

M-E Girard’s debut, Girl Mans Up, won the Lambda Literary Award and was a finalist for the William C. Morris Award. She lives just outside of Toronto, Canada, where she splits her time between writing YA fiction, being a mom to a toddler, and working as a registered nurse. M-E dedicated the bulk of her nursing career to working with special-needs kids, and more recently she was an ER and ICU nurse during the first waves of the pandemic. A 2013 and 2015 Lambda Literary Fellow, M-E is a proud feminist who is endlessly fascinated with what it means to be a girl—especially a queer, fat girl. You can find her online at

Praise For…

“A powerful book about identity, belonging, and the collision between sexuality and cultural expectations.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“This is a fresh title in the growing sea of LGBTQ YA literature. There is no sugarcoating in this very real portrayal of an aspect of teen life that many experience. Recommended for fans of YA urban fiction as well as those who prefer grittier LGBTQ lit.” — School Library Journal (starred review)

“Fierce. Tender. Unstoppable.” — Lauren Myracle, New York Times bestselling author of The Infinite Moment of Us and co-author of How to Be Bad

“Original. Courageous. Vibrant.” — Michael Cart, Columnist at ALA Booklist and Former President of Young Adult Library Services Michael Cart, Editor of Taking Aim and How Beautiful the Ordinary

“Heartfelt. Refreshing. True.” — Ariel Schrag, author of Potential and Adam

“I loved it. A brilliant new writer to watch.” — Malinda Lo, author of Ash, Adaptation, and Inheritance and co-founder of Diversity in YA

“Respeito for Pen.” — Sara Ryan, Award winning author of Empress of the World and Bad Houses

“Raw. Real. Irresistable.” — I.W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above

“Girard explores questions of family, friendship, loyalty, and identity through the voice of Pen Oliveira, a 16-year old girl ... [She] forcefully conveys the fear Pen lives with, having experienced frequent mockery and bullying, and her courage in aspiring to a safe, loving community for herself and her friends.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062404183
ISBN-10: 0062404180
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: January 16th, 2018
Pages: 400
Language: English