Title: The Pants Project
Author: Cat Clarke
Format Read: eARC [Planned Release: March 2017]
Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
DISCLAIMER: Electronic ARC generously offered by SOURCEBOOKS Jabberwocky through NetGalley.
The Pants Project was an utterly fantastic read from beginning to end. I simply could not put it down. (Ok. Maybe I could put it aside for a little while, because video games. Liv would understand...)
If you are looking for a Middle Grade novel that deftly tackles the topics of gender identity, bullying, and homophobia, The Pants Project is for you. The story is enjoyable, the characters are endearing, the pacing is superb, and the writing goes down smoothly. It features supremely readable, straight-forward storytelling that is perfectly attuned to the target Middle Grade audience, while offering subtleties of meaning and all too familiar social situations that can be appreciated by older readers.
As a narrator, our main character Liv is honest and witty and her story - although occasionally face-palmy in that "this isn't going to turn out well" sense - is heartwarming. His wonderfully inclusive family is complete with two moms, an annoying but lovable little brother, and a three-legged dog named Garibaldi. Liv has a lot of factors stacked against him in the local school popularity rankings, but he doesn't let this stop his crusade to reverse the discriminatory uniform policy at his new middle school. [There is certainly a mean girls vibe to the book, but I haven't yet been jaded by such representation. Also, the reality is that sometimes kids can be quite harsh, especially when not kept in check.] Along the way he learns to how to make new friends, live his morals, and start opening up about his gender identity.
Everyone should read The Pants Project. It would make the world a better place. Promise. In all seriousness, though, I would particularly encourage middle school teachers to utilize this book as a learning tool regarding diversity and inclusivity in their curricula and middle school and public library librarians to obtain and prominently feature copies during Transgender Awareness Week.
Please Note: All Amazon links that appear in this post are affiliate links.