Title: The Passing Playbook
Author: Isaac Fitzsimons
Audience: Young Adult
Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother and a Messi-in-training. He’s also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio.
At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy’s soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans – he’s passing.
So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer’s coach to bench him after he discovers the ‘F’ on Spencer’s birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even if it means coming out to everyone – including the guy he’s falling for.
I really enjoyed The Passing Playbook, and while I did have an issue with some of the football content and progression of the plot, it is a book that I highly recommend picking up.
The characters within The Passing Playbook are some that are going to stick with me. Spencer was a brilliant main character; he was so witty, and his personality kept me engaged with the story. In addition, he came across as a teenager, which I really liked, as I sometimes find that teenage characters almost gloss over normal teenage behaviour, which Isaac Fitzsimons didn’t. I also loved Justice, Spencer’s love interest, from the first time that he was mentioned. There are other characters within The Passing Playbook that I would love to get spinoff books about because although we do get to know them, I feel like they all have their own stories to tell, which would be amazing to read.
When it comes to the plot point that is mentioned within the synopsis didn’t actually start until the final third of the book, which meant that I was constantly waiting for it to happen. This did start to annoy me after a while, as The Passing Playbook is quite short compared to other books that I have read, and it felt as if Isaac Fitzsimons could have spent longer on this moment. I would have happily taken another 100 pages of writing, so everything didn’t seem so quick.
I have to admit that I love a book that features some kind of sport, and while I liked the football content, some little bits annoyed me, which pulled me out of the story. There were just a couple of moments when something was mentioned that wasn’t quite right, which isn’t a massive issue, but I did pick up on it, but that is probably because I am a massive football fan.
I can’t wait to see what Isaac Fitzsimons is going to write next (hopefully one of those possible spinoffs) because it will definitely be going straight onto my TBR. I highly urge that you pick up The Passing Playbook, especially if you like books written by Kacen Callender because they are written in a similar style.