Girl Mans Up


September 2016, HarperTeen | Harpercollins Canada


"A strong genderqueer lesbian character, imperfect, independent, and deserving of every cheer."
~ Kirkus Reviews


All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty. But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth--that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.


GIRL MANS UP is about a queer teen named Pen who realizes the only way she'll get people off her back is by standing up for herself--even if that means her relationships with her friends and her family get messed up in the process. It's also about a gender-nonconforming teen who struggles to own her identity as a girl when she looks and acts like a boy and everyone around her expects her to be one or the other.

GMU making waves!

Here is where I keep track of GMU's awards and recognition. I am so proud to be able to compile a list like this on my website! I'd like to thank all those who have read my book and contributed to its critical reception. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Critical praise

"In addition to being an enjoyable, engrossing story, Girl Mans Up makes the reader question things that we, as a society, take for granted. One such example is the idea that children owe their parents respect. While undoubtedly true, don’t parents owe their children the same? That the author effortlessly inspires such reflection is nothing short of remarkable.”

~ Quill & Quire


"...powerful debut..."

~ Publishers Weekly (starred review)


“This is a fresh title in the growing sea of LGBTQ YA literature. There is no sugarcoating in this very real portrayal of an aspect of teen life that many experience. Recommended for fans of YA urban fiction as well as those who prefer grittier LGBTQ lit.”

~ School Library Journal (starred review)


"A strong genderqueer lesbian character, imperfect, independent, and deserving of every cheer."
~ Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


"Girard’s novel is compulsively readable, by turns wrenching and euphoric. Pen is an inspiration to anyone who’s struggled to be understood, and a vital addition to the growing world of genderqueer protagonists."

~ The New York Times Book Review


“A powerful book about identity, belonging, and the collision between sexuality and cultural expectations.”

~ Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


“GIRL MANS UP is mind blowing. Pen has stolen my heart always. Her voice is so honest and raw that it is enrapturing. It is such an incredible look at gender, race, and sexuality that I hope it becomes an instant classic.”

~ Grace Wright, Parnassus Books (Nashville, TN)


“Fierce. Tender. Unstoppable.”

~ Lauren Myracle, New York Times bestselling author of The Infinite Moment of Us and co-author of How to Be Bad


“Courageous. Vibrant. Original.”

~ Michael Cart, Columnist at ALA Booklist and Former President of Young Adult Library Services


“Heartfelt. Refreshing. True.”

~ Ariel Schrag, author of Potential and Adam


“I loved it. A brilliant new writer to watch.”

~ Malinda Lo, author of Ash, Adaptation, and Inheritance and co-founder of Diversity in YA


“Respeito for Pen.”

~Sara Ryan, Award winning author of Empress of the World and Bad Houses


“Raw. Real. Irresistable.”

~ I.W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above


The specs

Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins) | HarperCollins Canada

Publication date: September 6, 2016

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0062404172

ISBN-13: 978-0062404176

Cover art: Adams Carvalho


Fan Art!

I love fan art. It completely amazes me that people would take the time to draw depictions of my characters. When I'm given permission, I will repost fan art here!


by Laya Rose (Order prints here!)


by @_hesketts_


by Julia, @jules_doodles_


by @gryffin_16


M-E and the ARC


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