Stay Gold – Tobly McSmith

Tobly McSmith is the co-creator/writer of seven somewhat successful musical parodies including Friends! The Musical! (New York, North American Tour, Vegas Residence). Tobly was born in Texas. He now lives in New York City. Tobly is proud to be transgender.

Stay Gold

Debut author Tobly McSmith delivers a coming-of-age teen love story about a transgender boy who’s going stealth at his new Texas high school and a cisgender girl who is drawn to him, even as she’s counting down the days until graduation. Perfect for fans of David Levithan, Becky Albertalli, and Jenny Han.

Pony just wants to fly under the radar during senior year. Tired from all the attention he got at his old school after coming out as transgender, he’s looking for a fresh start at Hillcrest High. But it’s hard to live your best life when the threat of exposure lurks down every hallway and in every bathroom.

Georgia is beginning to think there’s more to life than cheerleading. She plans on keeping a low profile until graduation…which is why she promised herself that dating is officially a nonstarter this year.

Then, on the very first day of school, the new guy and the cheerleader lock eyes. How is Pony supposed to stay stealth when he wants to get close to a girl like Georgia? How is Georgia supposed to keep her promise when sparks start flying with a boy like Pony?

Why you should read this book?

As a proud transgender man from Texas, Tobly writes the character of Pony from a place of experience, and it shows in the deeply personal treatment of how it feels to “go stealth,” grapple with conservative Southern parents, save money for gender-affirming surgery, and more. In a teen market where books about transgender characters written by transgender authors are still rare, Stay Gold will be embraced by teens and gatekeepers alike.

Balancing moments of laugh-out-loud humor with heart-wrenching sucker punches–sometimes on the same page—this coming-of-age rom-com hits the sweet spot in the market where books like Dumplin’ and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before have found so much success.

The story allows us to get inside both Pony and Georgia’s heads by masterfully switching point of view.

In this novel, “Stay Gold” means remaining true to yourself, no matter what. The simple and powerful mantra originates from the Robert Frost poem, “Nothing gold can stay,” and was made popular by S.E. Hinton’s novel, The Outsiders: “Stay gold, Ponyboy.” Over the years, the phrase has become a battle cry for marginalized groups, like the LGBT community, symbolizing the daring act of remaining true to yourself even when it’s not always accepted and possibly dangerous.

Tobly is a promotional dynamo and a quick wit. He is also a successful playwright, with a production of his riotous Friends: The Musical currently touring the country. This hopeful novel is his debut.

Tobly takes the mental and physical health of the trans community seriously. A portion of the proceeds of this book will go to Stay Gold Fund providing financial assistance to transgender people for gender affirming surgeries.

On paper, Georgia and Pony don’t seem like your average couple. One is a popular cheerleader with a tight knit group of female friends. The other is a shy film buff who is a bit of a drifter before making some laid-back friends. Still, sparks fly quickly between these two who have more in common than they originally believe.

On Sale Date: May 26, 2020 – Harper Teen


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