Review: Parrotfish

Parrotfish
Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wittlinger does an interesting and useful thing here. She has written a “safe” book about the spectrum of gender and sex and what it might be like to be born into one category but always feel you are another. It’s honest but not graphic.

What I like the most about this is that Grady is just a regular kid navigating all the usual high school pathways: shifting friendships, discovering his ambitions, having a first crush, arguing with siblings, and negotiating for new family roles with parents. This could be any other teen coming-of-age story. (Except that Wittlinger has to use the word “trangendered” on EVERY page.)

My only major complaints are that 1) it really feels written by a grown-up and 2) for all its acceptance of many kinds of people, the only character whose physical characteristics are made a big deal of is Kita. We hear over and over about her mixed heritage.

I would feel comfortable giving this to any young teen interested in learning more about what it might be like to come out as LGBTQ.

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