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Young Adult Fiction General

Girl Mans Up

by (author) M.-.E. Girard

Initial publish date
Sep 2016
General, General
Recommended Age
14 to 18
Recommended Grade
9 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2018
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy-that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty. But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth-that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.

About the author

M-E Girard’s debut, GIRL MANS UP, won the Lambda Literary Award and was a finalist for the William C. Morris Award. She lives just outside of Toronto, Canada, where she splits her time between writing YA fiction, being a mom to a toddler, and working as a registered nurse. M-E dedicated the bulk of her nursing career to working with special-needs kids, and more recently, she was an ER and ICU nurse during the first waves of the pandemic. A 2013 and 2015 Lambda Literary Fellow, M-E is a proud feminist who is endlessly fascinated with what it means to be a girl—especially a queer, fat girl. You can find her online at

M.-.E. Girard's profile page


  • CBC Best Book of the Year
  • KOBO Emerging Writer Prize
  • Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
  • White Pine Award Finalist
  • OLA Best Bets
  • William C. Morris Award Finalist
  • Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book
  • Lambda Literary Award

Editorial Reviews

“Girl Mans Up makes the reader question things that we, as a society, take for granted. One such example is the idea that children owe their parents respect. While undoubtedly true, don’t parents owe their children the same? That the author effortlessly inspires such reflection is nothing short of remarkable.”

Quill & Quire (starred review)

“A strong genderqueer lesbian character, imperfect, independent, and deserving of every cheer.”

Kirkus Reviews <strong>(starred review)</strong>

“Girard’s novel is compulsively readable, by turns wrenching and euphoric. Pen is an inspiration to anyone who’s struggled to be understood, and a vital addition to the growing world of genderqueer protagonists.”

New York Times Book Review

“An unassuming coming-of-age story about gender and sexuality that barely mentions labels, has no agenda and takes unexpected but genuine turns. It’s also a universal story because we’re all striving for the place where we can confidently say, as Pen does, ‘I don’t feel wrong inside myself.’”

The Globe and Mail

“This is a fresh title in the growing sea of LGBTQ YA literature. ... There is no sugarcoating in this very real portrayal of an aspect of teen life that many experience.”

School Library Journal <strong>(starred review)</strong>

“Powerful debut.”

Publishers Weekly <strong>(starred review)</strong>

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