Raw, kind, and close to the heart.



An ice dancer shares her journey toward self-discovery and love, offering words of encouragement and reflective insight on relationships, mental health, and competitive skating culture.

From the first time Manta set foot on the ice as a small child in Arizona, she fell in love with skating, a love that awoke her ambition to excel in the sport. Beginning with a comforting spoiler—a promise of a happy ending for an untethered, Uruguayan American, bisexual girl longing to find herself—Manta glides through the narrative of her competitive career, from adolescent figure skating to ice dancing for Team USA. Along the way, she visits memories that reveal her struggles with self-worth, intrusive anxiety, and friendship. Connection and community empower her to keep seeking herself and offer sweet dreams for a better future. Often speaking directly to her readers, Manta guides the conversational flow of her prose with honesty and gentleness. When she transitions into stories about her eating disorder, she pauses to give a tender warning and express understanding. Her exploration of sexuality validates the experiences of questioning and searching that expand beyond an isolated moment of coming out. At the same time, she holds herself accountable for her treatment of others. Similarly, as she questions and challenges the exclusivity of her sport, Manta acknowledges her own participation in these dynamics. Resolute and hopeful, this memoir swells with emotion.

Raw, kind, and close to the heart. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30846-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Small but mighty necessary reading.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Deaf, trans artist Man meditates on his journey and identity in this brief memoir.

Growing up in conservative central Pennsylvania was tough for the 21-year-old Deaf, genderqueer, pansexual, and biracial (Chinese/White Jewish) author. He describes his gender and sexual identity, his experiences of racism and ableism, and his desire to use his visibility as a YouTube personality, model, and actor to help other young people like him. He is open and vulnerable throughout, even choosing to reveal his birth name. Man shares his experiences of becoming deaf as a small child and at times feeling ostracized from the Deaf community but not how he arrived at his current Deaf identity. His description of his gender-identity development occasionally slips into a well-worn pink-and-blue binary. The text is accompanied and transcended by the author’s own intriguing, expressionistic line drawings. However, Man ultimately falls short of truly insightful reflection or analysis, offering a mostly surface-level account of his life that will likely not be compelling to readers who are not already fans. While his visibility and success as someone whose life represents multiple marginalized identities are valuable in themselves, this heartfelt personal chronicle would have benefited from deeper introspection.

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-22348-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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