The Pants Project by Cat Clarke
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Themes: middle grade, LGBTQIA+, contemporary
My Rating: ★★★★
Summary: “My name is Liv (Not Olivia)… I’m not technically a girl. I’m Transgender. Which is a bit like being a transformer. Only not quite as cool as cool because I probably won’t get to save the world one day.” A Transformer is a robot in disguise. Liv is a boy in disguise. It’s that simple. Liv knows he was always meant to be a boy, but with his new school’s terrible dress code, he can’t even wear pants. Only skirts. Operation: Pants Project begins! The only way for Live to get what he wants is to go after it himself. But to Liv, this isn’t just a mission to change the policy- it’s a mission to change his life. And that’s a pretty big deal.
My Review: I was sent this book as an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I don’t have too much to say about this book honestly, other than the fact that I really liked it. It was cute, sweet, and simple, and it made me really happy the entire time I was reading it. Tragic queer books are all too common these days, and this is not that kind of book. It’s happy, fluffy, and adorable, and everything we need in the middle grade genre.
What I loved about this book is that there is a transgender main character, but there’s also a lot of other diversity as well. One of the most important aspects in this book is that not everyone reacts the same way to this diversity. It shows accurately that not everyone has the same values and opinions, and not everyone is accepting. I believe this kind of exposure for younger kids is important because they can see how the characters react to these opinions, and teach them how to respond in their own lives to hatred and bigotry and closed-mindedness.
There wasn’t anything particularly special about the writing, but Liv’s narration was a lot of fun to read. He was, at least to me, a realistic kid who’s growing up in a typical middle school environment, not quite sure how to navigate the social hierarchy of hormonal teenagers. I liked seeing him develop his relationships with both friends and family, and watching him fight for the Pants Project throughout the school year.
Middle grade books can definitely learn something from this one, and I’m really excited to see more diverse books coming out all the time. We really need them.