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Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
Blood Fruit edited by James E.M. Rasmussen
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce
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Deadly Décisions by Kathy Reichs
Demon Eyes by Scott Tracey
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f2m by Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy
The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland - For a Little While by Catherynne M. Valente
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Highway Robbery by Kate Thompson
How to Dine on Killer Wine by Penny Warner
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger
The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
Polly and the Pirates 01 by Ted Naifeh
Poor Rich by Jean Blasiar
Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life by David Treuer
Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
Sarah Emma Edmonds Was a Great Pretender by Carrie Jones
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
Six Chinese Brothers by Hou-Tien Cheng
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick

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Parrotfish: 02/12/13

cover art

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger is about the transitioning of Angela into Grady — female to male. Problems arise at school — the administration doesn't have a clear cut policy in place and there's of course bullying, problems at home — the mother who desperately doesn't want to lose a daughter (even a tomboy one) and problems with friends (over reacting or not knowing how to react).

The title comes from a species of fish that changes its sex. Grady believes in his heart of hearts that he should be male even if his body isn't. He needs, though, to prove to others that his feelings are natural and normal.

While the book would be useful for teens either going through the same thing or even just feeling like fish out of water, the pacing and characterization felt forced. Except for Grady and a sympathetic gym teacher — and perhaps the father's over the top approach to Christmas decorating, the characters are presented at the extremes of both genders. Men are MEN and women are WOMEN.

In this sort of dichotomy, there's nothing for Angela (pre-Grady) to do except to change into Grady. There's no wiggle room, and therefore no way to explore the nuances of gender. As some one who isn't especially feminine and who has friends and family who fall somewhere between the two extremes — I had a hard time relating to Grady or anyone else in the book.

Three stars

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