Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger


"Last week I cut my hair, bought some boys' clothes and shoes, wrapped a large ACE bandage around my chest to flatten my fortunately-not-large breasts, and began looking for a new name." Angela Katz-McNair has never felt quite right as a girl. Her whole life is leading up to the day she decides to become Grady, a guy. While coming out as transgendered feels right to Grady, he isn't prepared for the reaction he gets from everyone else. His mothe...

Details Parrotfish

Release DateJul 10th, 2007
PublisherSimon Schuster Books for Young Readers
GenreYoung Adult, Lgbt, Glbt, Queer, Fiction

Reviews Parrotfish

  • Kiki
    So a few months ago while I was still living in my last house, which I shared with a formerly-estranged family member, I was rooting through the kitchen cupboard looking for a snack when I came across a packet of Twizzlers. I'd never tasted Twizzlers before, because duh, I'm British and whenever I wanted candy in the UK, I'd go to the nearest Post Office and buy it in grams, over the counter, from a lady who'd been working there since she was twe...
  • Ursa
    GRADY: And yet, things do change, Father. You need only look at me to see the truth of that!EVE: Yes, this year has seen your Angela become your Grady and exchange her long dresses for his sturdy trousers. LAURA: And trade her long locks for the haircut of a boy. According to Ms. Wittlinger, being a boy means wearing “sturdy trousers” and having “the haircut of a boy”, which she described as “shaved at the neck, floppy in the front.” ...
  • Colin
    This book is Friendly and Educational. The author was clearly trying to write a book that encourages trans kids, and because of that it was totally unrealistic, with well-informed and sympathetic allies coming out of the woodwork, the school bullies conveniently dispatched and made to look like ignorant fools, an accepting family and even a kiss from the most popular girl in school. Because of all these happy things, it's pretty adorable, though....
  • Mel
    I really wish people would stop recommending this book to trans kids, to be perfectly honest. The author very obviously didn't do extensive research, because her portrayal of a ftm teenager is pretty damn inaccurate. She portrays him as binding with ace bandages and no repercussions, a misconception that can actually kill people, as wrapping a "large ACE bandage" around one's chest can lead to severely damaged ribs and/or suffocation. Not as simp...
  • Florian
    Add this to the list of books with trans characters written by well meaning but clueless cis people.Meet Grady, the recently out trans boy who is dealing with the fallout of friends, family, and strangers coming to terms with his social transition. His mom and sister are knee deep in the "why am I cursed with a trans family member this is clearly all about me" quagmire, his ex-best friend is now rubbing elbows with the neighborhood transphobe, an...
  • Jack
    am i allowed to be critical of a book of such monumental importance?if i am, i have to say that i've read about three hundred books by better writers. but i've never read one about a teenaged ftm who is transitioning with pride and, i'm conflicted. issue driven books. morals. badly written dialogue. woefully pedestrian metaphors about christmas, babies, and napoleon dynamite.then, pride and courage and sadness and confusion and good fr...
  • Aubri
    Ignoring the constant use of "transgendered," the book was still a disappointment in many ways. Sexuality was presented as binary (gay or hetero), with bisexuality being erased, and gender was binary as well (boy or girl). Gender identity and gender expression were treated as synonymous. It encouraged the harmful stereotype of masculine man and feminine woman. It indiscriminately interchanged "gender" and "sex." The story felt very trite and sacc...
  • Evan
    I think this book as far as I know is the first YA book that deals with a female to male transperson as its main character. Another YA book, named Luna by Julie Ann Peters has a male to female transperson as its main character. This book takes place in about a month's time. From the weekend after Thanksgiving till Christmas time. The week before the book starts, Grady has cut his hair in the style of a boy and bought boy clothes. He tells his fam...
  • PVPA Library
    i'm tired of coming out books. sure, it's necessary to explain to folks through fiction what the life of a tranny can be like, but i'd prefer to have tranny people living real lives with other struggles who are totally okay with being tranny. same goes for other kinds of queer. let's have some good love stories or coming of age stories or fantasy stories where the characters just happen to be queer or tranny. so, this book is a good intro for beg...
  • Jeydon
    This was the first Transgender related book that I've read and I personally think it was a very good book. Being trans myself it was really easy to relate to everything going on in the book and it helped me mentally prepare to come out to my family. I love how it also had that little cute love story involved in there but I was sad to see that Grady didn't end up winning the girls heart! I would reccomend this to younger people who are maybe quest...
  • Kyle William Urban
    So I'm on the fence about this book. It's great that there is actually a ftm trans book, and it shows some of the struggle people go through, I related to some of the book, which I guess I was looking for. But at the same time it was unrealistic. The family go from disliking the change to not minding so quickly, the kids at school go from taking the piss to everyone being on his side. The cool girl at the school kisses him and says how much she l...
  • TransBookReviews
    7/10 Stars "Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t any especially bad about it, but—for me, there was nothing especially great either." - Matt "While Parrotfish did make me re-live my horrible high school days to some degree, I think, in this case, that’s a good thing." - Leigh You can find our full reviews here.
  • April
    "And why was changing gender such a big honking deal anyway? People changed lots of other personal things all the time. They dyed their hair and dieted themselves to near death. They took steroids to build muscles and got breast implants and nose jobs so they'd resemble their favorite movie stars. They changed names and majors and jobs and husbands and wives. They changed religions and political parties. They moved across the country or the world...
  • Zak
    If I were rating this book purely on the writing, characters, plot etc. I'd be giving it 3, maybe 4 stars if it were lucky. But I feel a very strong connection to this book, and feel compelled to say a very very icky cliche thing about it, which is that it changed my life, and so the 5-star rating seems compulsory.I grew up in small-town New Hampshire and discovered the word 'transgender' at age 14 in the 9th grade and proceeded to have a full-bl...
  • Jack
    I really enjoyed this book -- a warm, good-natured, and funny book about a very complicated issue.At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to a boy named Grady, who just a week before was a girl named Angela. As Grady struggles with finding acceptance for his change among his school and family, discovering friends and support around him and learning the joys of being oneself.Some may argue that the book is too simple, that the process of c...
  • Sarah Donovan
    Some reviewers have written that Parrotfish is unrealistic because of the supportive friends and family in Grady's life. I can't be sure. Of course there are stories of rejection leading to suicide and homelessness that are important and need to be told, but one thing that literature does for us is to imagine, and when a novel imagines something better, ways of being with others that is better, then that feels possible. I'll invite my middle scho...
  • Mrs. Europaea
    This is a book for Teens, however, I might go so far as say this is better book for Preteens. I feel there were a lot of emotion aspects missing that happens in the teenage years, especially when you come out as transgender (in this case FTM) that are simply missing from the book. Why write on such an important topic with such an interesting character if you won't get into the grim realities of being a transgender youth? Understandably, going thr...
  • Sophia Jones
    I understand the importance of this book, since it was one of the first of its kind about trans teens, and it's unfortunate that it was so poorly executed.It would be a great read for those new to trans issues and terminology, and most of the book is spent going over these. However, most of the characters were incredibly unbelievable, especially the gym teacher, who talks back to the principal at no cost to her job. The bully was comically evil, ...
  • Natalie
    I'm torn about this book. The characters are very flat, the plot very predictable, and the writing is generally lacking. The ending was a little too sugary sweet.My partner, a transman, asked me to read it after he finished it. For him it touched on important moments and feelings he's had for a long time. Which leads me to believe that this is a great book for younger teens and trans YA who want to see themselves reflected on the page. But at the...
  • DinaGHS2020
    This was a very good book! It tells the story of a teenage transgender boy named Grady and his struggles and success in high school. The plot was very intriguing and kept me interested throughout the entire book. There were some slow parts in the middle but they wouldn't be very long. The tone was hopeful comical, and uplifting. It was a book where the ending would brighten you day. If you enjoy books about teen life and with happy endings I woul...
  • KaciaGHS2020
    I enjoyed the book very much. It led me through this young teenagers life, and how he saw the world and discovered himself. There were many great friendships in the novel and a great family. It was heartwarming to read what happened in the end. The relationships with the main characters were truly beautiful. I found that I couldn't put the book down. I would recommend this book for people who enjoy reading about teen life.
  • Sarah Cavar
    I'm trans. I read this book a year or two ago and have virtually no memory as to what it was about. I'm sure this isn't the *worst* trans book out there (that bar is set very low/high depending on how you look at it) but it was completely unremarkable.
  • Kiwi
    I could tell this was a book to educate and uplift. In that, I think it did reasonably well, although at some point it felt that the goal to educate overran the attempt to tell a story.In the end I didn't mind Grady all that much--especially when he talked about gender as something more Grey rather than black and white, which even many trans people take a long while to get to--although I wasn't so impressed by his inclusion of being a Two-Spirit ...
  • Courtney
    "Sometimes I wish we didn't have to be one thing or the other. You know, male or female. I wish there wasn't that big division between the two. Does that make any sense?" So asks Grady, the narrator of Parrotfish, which derives the title from a species that changes gender when they need to and become aptly, the alpha males of a brilliant green with a yellow stripe. Grady, unfortuantely, does not have such an easy transition. When he decides to co...
  • Rowan
    I had a hard time decided how to rate this book. One the one hand, I really like that Wittlinger chose to write about a FTM transgender teen who is proud of his identity and open about it. On the other hand, the writing was mediocre and some of the characters were pretty shallow. In the end I decided to settle for three stars.Grady, formerly Angela, feels that coming out is the right decision. Overall he's glad he did, but he didn't expect how hi...
  • Milo (The Emo)
    I found this book truly amazing. the way Transgenderism was described through the mind of Grady was incredible. it really says something to the people who really don't know what it's like to be transgendered. it spoke to me and opened my eyes to what they feel inside and I know now not to judge too quickly. ((not that I ever did))the life of Grady wasn't easy and the rollocoster ride he faced was heartbreaking, dealing with bullying, narrow minde...
  • Sally
    I loved this SO much more than Luna, which is kind of interesting considering I didn't like Hard Love, the other Wittlinger book I've read, very much, whereas I loved the other books of Julie Anne Peters. I think the key difference that meant I enjoyed this one more was that in Luna, the trans character was a guy, Liam. Here, she was a girl, Angela. Well, 'she' was a guy, Grady, but I guess you get my point. Liam/Luna liked guys. Angela/Grady lik...
  • Mirrordance
    Quello che di solito viene definito un romanzo di formazione, non profondo come "Il giovane Holden", ma forse appropriato per i tempi attuali. Un romanzo per young adults ma anche per preadolescenti. Vediamo di vederne soprattutto i lati positivi nella giusta ottica, ossia che è stato scritto per un pubblico giovane, molto giovane.E' scritto in modo semplice e diretto, forse un po' troppo semplice ma permette una buona identificazione. Ha un lie...