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Parrotfish by [Ellen Wittlinger]
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Parrotfish Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 66 ratings

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$9.99
Length: 304 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Language: English
Age Level: 12 - 99 Grade Level: 7 - 9

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Review

"A compelling and richly detailed story."--"The BCCB"

"A thought-provoking discussion of gender roles, gender identity, and the influence of nature, nurture, and social construction on both."--"The Horn Book Magazine"

"Peopled with wonderfully wacky characters and scenes, this narrative snaps and crackles with wit, even while it touches the spirit of the sensitive reader. Wittlinger scores another success with this highly recommended novel."--"VOYA"

"The author demonstrates well the complexity faced by transgendered people and makes the teen's frustration with having to "fit into a category" fully apparent."--"Publishers Weekly"

"Wittlinger's writing skill will help YA readers understand transgender issues, and those readers will be entertained and moved as they read."--"KLIATT" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ellen Wittlinger is the critically acclaimed author of the teen novels Parrotfish, Blind Faith, Sandpiper, Heart on My Sleeve, Zigzag, and Hard Love (an American Library Association Michael L. Printz Honor Book and a Lambda Literary Award winner), and its sequel Love & Lies: Marisol's Story. She has a bachelor's degree from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and an MFA from the University of Iowa. A former children's librarian, she lives with her husband in Haydenville, Massachusetts. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B007HAGF6O
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (19 June 2012)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 2773 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 66 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
66 global ratings
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Top review from Australia

TOP 500 REVIEWER
Reviewed in Australia on 22 September 2020
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3.0 out of 5 stars A cute story of a transgendered male finding his place in the world...
By Casey Carlisle on 22 September 2020
Actual rating 3.5 stars.

I feel a little conflicted with ‘Parrotfish.’

This novel is a great tale of learning how to accept change. It tells an experience, but maybe not a well-researched one of a transgendered FtM teen. But I think this represents more about learning to deal with how life evolves. How we grow up. How our needs and wants shift as we progress through like. No-one and nothing stays the same forever. It can be scary. It can be exciting. ‘Parrotfish’ illustrates a small slice of some of those things and how a group of family and friends adapt to the evolving situation.

I also liked how it approached bullying and relationships. It was a little romanticised, but kept the scenes grounded in reality.

The big thing I enjoyed is that ‘Parrotfish’ stayed focused on the human being, and did not try to force identity defined or authenticated through a romantic relationship. Too many times have I read a coming out story of a protagonist affirming their gender identity only to have it given weight, or rewarded with a love interest - when neither need this validation, or are about love. They are about the self, and I think ‘Parrotfish’ bulls-eyed this tone intelligently.

I didn’t get any gut-wrenching feels or angst typical from this genre; and to be honest. I preferred this. Family, friends, and teachers all play and important and active role in Grady’s growth.

‘Parrotfish’ did feel too short. Like a drive-by toilet paper attack, it was quick, made its point and was gone just as quick. I will say I did not expect to laugh as much. Especially towards the end of the novel. I’m really impressed with Erin Wittlinger’s writing and will look into exploring some of her other titles in the future.

It was a bit hard to predict the path of the story. Obviously there is the theme of self-acceptance, but apart from that, given the more composed tone of Wittlinger’s writing style, I only had notions of what would eventuate, and they changed from chapter to chapter. I was never certain of what was going to happen. ‘Parrotfish’ ends on a positive note and was a sheer delight to read. I’ve read many novels dealing with a protagonist transitioning from female to male, and this one really grabbed my heart. It feels more inclined to the younger end of the YA demographic to help educate and increase awareness of people who struggle fitting in to rigid gender norms. The attitudes of the cast vary in their outlook to gender and sexuality as well in an un-obvious way that I found charming and delightful. I certainly wanted to go to high school with this gang of odd-balls.

I’m actually really proud to add this to my library and can see myself revisiting this story again.

Much of what I mentioned above is a typical straight cis-gendered response to ‘Parrotfish,’ but if you pass a more discerning eye over ‘Parrotfish’ you see elements of bullying and discrimination are greatly watered down. The internal torment and doubt someone like Grady faces is nearly non-existent. So too are the discussions over changing gender identity and sexual orientation… a mish-mash of coming out as a lesbian and then as a transgender male. In fact, I know most transgender men may find this story insulting and diminishing of their experience. Which plays into the need for real voices in this genre. So while ‘Parrotfish’ feels like it is a story given the ‘Disney’ filter from a cis-gendered heterosexual, I think it will add awareness and help start a conversation for those ignorant of the pressures transgender men growing through high school face; but it by no means represents the true experience.

I’m glad for the representation, the cute and funny story, but a little saddened for the misfire in the full picture of life a transgendered teen lives through. But given that ‘Parrotfish’ was published back in 2007, we will find there are more authentic stories out there now, especially coming from own voices authors.

Kita’s portrayal can also be seen as problematic. Yes she is a great ally, but as a love interest she is somewhat fetishized. Also, being set up as a love interest, and then the way the story was resolved adds to judging the worth of a transgender man… it felt icky.

So, if anything, ‘Parrotfish’ has stirred feelings (both good and bad) over transgender representation in literature, authentic or not, and the need for own voices in this genre. Which is a plus in my book – inciting a conversation over a minority that faces a great deal of discrimination. Though ‘Parrotfish’ at is a core is a fluffy, humorous tale and has a great theme that is well worth a read.
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Top reviews from other countries

CaroleHeidi
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and Sensitive
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 May 2015
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Lyndsey OHalloran
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 February 2013
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2 people found this helpful
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Merle
4.0 out of 5 stars Very touching and funny
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 March 2012
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read a trans story and I have already passed it on to others to share.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 January 2019
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Max
5.0 out of 5 stars ... the book I thought it would just be a nice read to pass the time if I get bored ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 July 2018
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