Reviews tagging Sexism

The Passing Playbook, by Isaac Fitzsimons

2 reviews

anaguana's review against another edition

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emotional medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes


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valereads's review

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emotional funny hopeful fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


 I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was really excited for this book so I’m sad to say it ended up being a disappointment.

I will start off with the positives. This book had a strong start. It was fast-paced and I liked the writing style. I really liked Spencer’s character at first and it’s always good to see some well-written trans characters in books.

That said I had some significant problems with this book. Firstly the portrayal of Spencer’s autistic brother. I wouldn’t normally refer to him like that but that’s all he was to the narrative: Spencer’s autistic brother. He felt like a prop, used first as something for Spencer to feel guilty about (a plot point that never really got resolved) and then to make Spencer look like a good person for loving him. He was also a flat character; the only things I could tell you about him are that he’s autistic, he likes animals and he has an ipad he takes everywhere. If he had more character development and relevance in the narrative he could have been good representation but as an autistic reader I’d rather he wasn’t included than be portrayed like this. It wouldn’t make any difference to the overall story if he was left out entirely.

My next issue is something of a sensitive subject: religious bigotry, abuse and victim-blaming. If you haven’t grown up surrounded by religious bigotry and with abusive and controlling parents you may not understand the issue I have here. As someone with personal experience with these things I was very uncomfortable with the way Justice’s family was portrayed and Spencer’s reaction to them. Justice comes from a conservative family who are part of a cult-like right-wing Church. His father is emotionally abusive and controlling. Spencer breaks up with Justice for not standing up to his abusers for their homophobic bigotry and is depicted as in the right.

Thousands of queer people are subjected to conversion therapy, abuse and even exorcisms by abusive family members for coming out. Justice is a 15/16 year old kid. Expecting him to stand up to his family and Church is victim-blaming and the narrative shows little empathy to the situation Justice, and many very real queer young people, find themselves in.

In addition to these things there were some amateur writing mistakes in this book that became more and more grating to me as it went on. I may have been able to ignore these issues if it weren’t for the other issues I had with the book.

I’m sorry to say that I found this book to be a disappointment. I won’t tell anybody not to read it if they’re still interested but it gets a no from me.

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