cover image Obie Is Man Enough

Obie Is Man Enough

Schuyler Bailar. Crown, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-37946-2

In Bailar’s earnest debut, set near Boston, 13-year-old Obie Chang, who is Korean and white, has been out as a trans boy for about a year. His family and favorite teacher are supportive, but he’s been kicked off the swim team by his transphobic coach, his best friend is growing distant, and another childhood friend bullies him mercilessly. Obie wonders if he’s “man enough” to succeed both in the pool and out, but with the help of new teammates, his therapist, and his first crush, Charlie, who has brown skin, gradually learns to believe in himself. Obie’s journey can be difficult to read—he is misgendered and deadnamed as well as physically and verbally assaulted—but he’s also allowed moments of quiet as he examines both gender constructs and his connection to Korean history and culture. This self-reflection, combined with his burgeoning self-confidence, make for a thoughtful, eventually triumphant story that demonstrates the importance of a solid support system and the ways in which transphobia, homophobia, and toxic masculinity are often intertwined. Includes an author’s note, mental health resources, and a glossary of gender-related terms. Ages 10–up. Agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker. (Sept.)