Now-A-Days, coming of age stories are all the same. The pretty, average-but-also-above-average white girl with brown hair and fair skin comes across a crucible that makes her stronger as a person and solidifies her place in society. Girl Mans Up is definitely NOT that kind of story. There’s no love triangle between the main girl and the two lead guys, and there’s no questioning who she is as a person, but there IS a crucible – an important one with questions asked that many of us in similar situations STILL ask ourselves. The book, written by M-E Girard, is a breath of fresh air among the pollution that is your average coming of age books.
Penelope, better known as Pen, knew who she was as a human. She’s a sixteen year old catholic student in Canada, she’s Portuguese, and she’s a lesbian. Her hobbies in life include video-games, smoking pot, hanging out with her brother Johnny, and scoring girls for her friend Colby. He sends her to talk to a girl he’s interested in, she ropes the girl into hanging out with him, and then she splits so he can work his magic. But when Colby sets his sights on a girl Pen likes, she sets aside loyalty to her friend and warns the girl away. Once Pen and the girl get closer and start to date, things come to light that makes Pen question everything. Lines will be drawn, even more lines will be crossed, and things will get messy – the question is what happens when the girl mans up?
Honestly, I related to this book and the thoughts in pens head so much that it was almost overwhelming. There were multiple times where I had to set the book down and take a moment to remember that this book wasn’t actually about me. Pen is often confused for a boy, and one of the biggest points in the book is how everyone assumes things about Pen – No one asks her what HEr thoughts on the matter are. As a sixteen year old, that’ one of the biggest struggles to go through. Girl Mans Up gets 5 out of 5 glasses, and regardless of whether it’s relatable or not, it’s DEFINITELY a book that everyone should pick up and read!