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Stay Gold – Tobly McSmith

Book ReviewThank you to the publisher for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Pony plans on flying under the radar during his senior year. He is starting fresh at his new school and doesn’t want the attention he got at his previous school for being transgender. It is hard to do that when the threat of exposure lurks on every corner and in every bathroom.

Georgia is beginning to think there is more to life than cheerleading. She is planning on keeping a low profile until graduation. That is why she has promised herself that dating is a no-go this year.

Then, on the first day of the school year, the new guy and the cheerleader lock eyes. How are they both going to stick to their plans?

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I have been excited about this book for quite a while and had seen things floating around the internet about it (both good and bad) for a while and wanted to see what I thought for myself. I am always excited to read an own voice book so I went into this one with high hopes. I finished this book feeling disappointed and quite let down.

It was early on into this book when I began to have issues with it. Things happen in this book that I am not at all a fan of and one character in particular, Georgia, does things I felt were completely out of order and not acceptable. Georgia, who is Pony’s love interest, is quite honestly a nasty person and sucks all enjoyment out of the story. My issue is that this book treats Georgia like she is the Queen and at the end of the book is even called a hero. Georgia’s perspective completely ruined the book for me. If this book has only been from Pony’s perspective I would definitely of had a different feeling about this book on a whole.

Don’t get me wrong though, this book does have amazing transgender representation from Pony and all the conversations he has with his friends, family and fellow students. Not only is there transgender representation there is also an excellent LGBTQ+ representation in characters seen throughout the book.

I have mixed feelings about the characters in this book as I have said. I loved Pony and all that he was. Pony was mature, tackled issues in his own way and acted his age throughout the book. But, Georgia came across as incredibly childish and self-obsessed. I might have enjoyed Georgia’s character just a little more if the ‘character growth’ at the end of the book seemed genuine, but it really didn’t. She took the spotlight away from Pony completely and said a number of offensive things throughout the book that are unacceptable. Some of these things are dumb but they left me feeling angry and I had them in my thoughts whilst reading the rest of the book.

Another thing is that this book left a lot of story arcs completely open and unfinished. One being the actors storyline. Pony is working at the actors house to save money and the actor plays a huge part in Pony’s life at his new school. I was throughly invested in this storyline and then it suddenly just ended with no real closure or satisfaction to the storyline. There is also parts in this book when Pony’s high school friends and friends outside of school make offensive comments or push Pony out of his limit and they have no consequences for this.

Overall, I would have loved to throughly enjoy this book but I just didn’t. Pony’s parts in the story I did love, I loved characters such as Pony’s sister and Georgia’s Dad but this was all ruined for me by the rest of the book. It didn’t feel like the same story for me but two different stories completely. My hopes for this book were let down for sure.2 StarsLineHappy Reading

7 thoughts on “Stay Gold – Tobly McSmith

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