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Man o' War: Book summary and reviews of Man o' War by Cory McCarthy

Man o' War

by Cory McCarthy

Man o' War by Cory McCarthy X
Man o' War by Cory McCarthy
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About this book

Book Summary

An achingly honest and frequently hilarious coming-of-age novel about an Arab American trans swimmer fighting to keep their head above water in a landlocked Midwestern town.

River McIntyre has grown up down the street from Sea Planet, an infamous marine life theme park slowly going out of business in small-town Ohio. When a chance encounter with a happy, healthy queer person on the annual field trip lands River literally in the shark tank, they must admit the truth: they don't know who they are—only what they've been told to be. This sets off a wrenching journey of self-discovery, from internalized homophobia and gender dysphoria, through layers of coming out, affirmation surgery, and true freakin' love.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[I]n River's memorable voice, McCarthy strikes a balance between piercing wit and aching vulnerability, while River's interest in sea life provides a compelling, complex metaphor for their own fluid gender identity. The result is a thoughtful, nuanced exploration of what it's like to feel trapped—and how to make it out." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Poignant, self-reflective prose is bolstered by carefully crafted, overarching marine themes and imagery. Love plays a significant role in River's growth, but neither dependence on a partner nor a dramatic, teen-movie coming-out moment are what carry them into a healthier life. A beautiful and relentless current of emotion." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"McCarthy engages with every aspect of River's life to create an extraordinary story with incredible depth...[F]erociously resists the idea that coming out is a simple or straightforward process." - BookPage (starred review)

"McCarthy deftly presents the humor and heartbreak of River's journey, avoiding easy answers and embracing nuance. Readers will root for River through the pain, anger, and swim meets and be rewarded with a love story destined to make a splash." - Booklist

"River is the most emotionally engaging character I've read in a long time, and this novel is a deep and comprehensive exploration of the journey transgender people trek through the confining world they're born into. Eye-opening, heartfelt, and real—with a massive payoff of true love." - A.S. King, author of Dig, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award

"With a voice like a tidal wave, Cory McCarthy crafts a story about the messy, beautiful work of discovering—and rediscovering—the parts of yourself that are most difficult and rewarding to love." - Adib Khorram, award-winning author of Darius the Great Is Not Okay

"This is a book that will pull you through the cold honest water of the closet with laughter and love. McCarthy assembles pain, realization, romance, and joy into a living thing—a man-of-war everyone will be able to see themselves in. Man o' War is the pressure of a deep dive, and then coming up for air. Astoundingly honest and compelling." - Lev Rosen, acclaimed author of Camp

This information about Man o' War was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Mason

Relatable
As a transmasculine adult, the way this book described the way gender can evolve felt so profound and relatable. It put into words things that had only been vague concepts in my mind. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook narrated by ER Fightmaster!

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Author Information

Cory McCarthy

Cory McCarthy is the author of numerous books for young readers. They live with their family in Vermont, where they teach writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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