Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow! What a great way to spend a weekend. M-E Girard's Girl Mans Up first impressed me with its universalism on how we all have to deal with the vagaries of love. The book deals with gender, sexuality, family drama, high school bullies, peer pressure, friendship, videogames! and grabbing your own power.
The protagonist, Pen, is a girl who is mistaken for a boy, but defies categorization. When someone asks her if she is a gay girl, Pen thinks: "I don't think of myself as being gay, because that word sounds like it belongs to some guy. Lesbian makes me think of some forty-year-old woman. And queer feels like it can mean anything" (65). The one thing that Pen is adamant about is that she is a girl.
Out of the two female relationships Pen has in the book, I find her friendship with Olivia the most interesting. There's more growth between those characters, maybe because there is much more at stake. The love interest, Blake, is definitely kick-ass, but restricted in her role as the object of desire. That said, their scenes together are well written: not graphic, but plenty to activate the imagination.
The guys in the book don't come off well. The opening chapters of Pen hanging out with the boys have a greasy feel. Maybe those guys just need to Woman Up.
Except Johnny, of course. I love Johnny. We all need a big brother like Johnny.
View all my reviews