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The Passing Playbook, by Isaac Fitzsimons

11 reviews

katyfayyyxx's review against another edition

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dark emotional funny hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0


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horns_and_ember's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.75


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thewordsdevourer's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring medium-paced
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

3.75

a touching, brave, and hopeful story of a trans youth who eventually finds courage to use his relative privilege to uplift and amplify the voices of others w/ the same struggles.

the passing playbook has a cast of well-rounded characters; in addition to the central love interest, i also particularly enjoyed the relationship between spencer and his teammates, coach, and family (special s/o to the autistic rep in spencer's bro), all of whose support for spencer and his identity are esp heartwarming and affecting. the book's also effortlessly diverse in many ways. 

while i also appreciate the themes of support, courage, and being true to oneself, i wish the ending was less rushed and the plotline of spencer fighting for his right to play (which comprises a lot of the book's summary) was at least a lil longer. rn it feels too hastily tacked on near the end. and though this is def spencer's story, justice's issues w/ his family and their religious beliefs feel glossed over. no one made a big deal of him not showing up to a game and quitting school, and spencer didnt reach out to him once, which i found weird. nevertheless, this is a touching and immensely important story, esp for queer and trans youth.

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mattheo's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful inspiring
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.25


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emfass's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.75


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spaghettireads's review

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emotional funny hopeful fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

I really enjoyed it, and you should read their review for much more eloquent thoughts.

I am such a fan of sports books, and my brain really soaked up the story. I really loved all the characters, and I was fully rooting for all the parts of the plot, which is impressive in a relatively short book.

If you are looking for a queer YA sports book this summer, I would highly suggest this one!

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bookcrushin's review

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adventurous emotional hopeful inspiring fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

Gosh I loved this book. Finished in one day and I haven’t done that in a long time. So important especially with all the anti-trans bills in schools and sports. Just let people play sports!! 

I also loved that we had supportive parents and even though that can also be a detrimental to teens at times too. Super important narrative and I will hold this book in my heart for sure. 

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readalongwithnat's review

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emotional fast-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

I just really, really loved this book and I really, really want more from these characters, but I will settle for more from this author in general. Fantastic debut.

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solly's review

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emotional funny hopeful lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.0

RTC

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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

2.0

 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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