cover image Skating on Mars

Skating on Mars

Caroline Huntoon. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-2508-5187-1

In Michigan, 12-year-old Mars Hart loves figure skating, but ever since they realized they’re nonbinary, they’ve felt like “there isn’t really space for me” in a sport divided along binary gender lines. On top of that, they’re mourning the death of their father, with whom they shared a love of skating, and things have been weird with their best friend Libby’s older friends, who look down on Mars for being a year younger. When Libby’s cocky pairs partner dares Mars to compete against him, they do, registering in the men’s division. The ensuing drama—including misgendering and transphobic bullying—makes Mars question their future in the activity they love best. Debut author Huntoon crafts a memorable first-person voice in driven, vulnerable Mars, tracing their grief and gradual coming-out process, and the affirming support they receive, via musing interiority. Some plot elements, such as Mars’s relationship with a crush, feel underdeveloped, but Mars’s passion for figure skating is infectious, and their fight to stake out their own place in a system not built for them proves both gently affirming and joyful. The cast reads as largely white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jessica Mileo, InkWell Management. (May)