Review: The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Title: The Pants Project

Author: Cat Clarke

Category: MG Contemporary (LGBTQIAP+)

Publisher/Date: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky/1 March 2017

Edition: Hardcover

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30095473-the-pants-project

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Pants-Project-Cat-Clarke/dp/1492638099/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-pants-project-cat-clarke/1123725848

Whoever wrote the uniform policy decided (whyyy?) that girls had to wear skirts, while boys were allowed to wear pants.

Sexist. Dumb. Unfair.

“Girls must wear a black, pleated, knee-length skirt.”

I bet I read those words a hundred times during summer vacation. The problem wasn’t the last word in that sentence. Skirt wasn’t really the issue, not for me. 
The issue was the first word. Girls.

Here’s the thing:
I may seem like a girl, but on the inside, I’m a boy.

This book has content warnings for transmisia, homomisia, sexism, and bullying.

I just loved this book! It’s a book that has a clear message that it wants you to understand, and it manages to get that message across in a way that’s straightforward without being too in-your-face about it. Liv has a very large personality that shines through on every page, and I loved seeing him be so sure of himself. With how pervasive the idea that eleven is “too young” for a kid to know their gender, it was fantastic to see this book directly addressing that.

The sexism in this book is intense — Liv isn’t out for the majority of the book, and the stereotypes that are projected onto genders is blood-boiling. It was a constant battle for Liv, and while the antagonists of the story were aggravating it was great seeing Liv get support from others as he tried to figure out how to get the policy changed. The friendship between Liv and Jacob in particular was wonderful to see.

The diversity in this book was really nice as well — in addition to a trans main character, we also have sapphic women parents and a disabled side character, both of which we don’t see enough of in children’s lit. I was really happy with the rep, personally, and would love to see more of this.

Overall, this is a wonderful book. I want to see more middle grade books like this one — it’s definitely a must-read.

Final rating: 5 of 5 stars

One thought on “Review: The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

  1. Pingback: One Lovely Blog Award | A Bookish Bi

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