Stay Gold 📚 Spoiler Free Review

If I spell any characters names wrongs don’t come for me! I listened to the audiobook & can’t always find the names in the samples, synopsis or other peoples review, etc.

Title: Stay Gold
Author: Tobly McSmith
Genre: YA LGBT+ Contemporary
Publication Date: May 26th, 2020
Pages: 368
Publishers: HarperTeen

This debut was mostly enjoyable and I did end up rating it 3.5 stars. Though there is one bigger issue I had with it that didn’t really get addressed in the book.

So let’s talk about it first! My issue is one of the side characters, Max, who is best friends with our main character, Pony, & both of which are trans boys. Max throughout most of the book is continually trying to force Pony to come out at Pony’s new school where no one knows he is Trans. Max is an advocate of sorts for the Trans community and is trying to push Pony to join him but in doing so it might raise questions & Pony is not ready to come out as trans. This is a common thing unfortunately but the thing that pisses me off is that it’s not rectified. After Pony does choose to come out they just go back to being best buds… He is never called out. No one even acknowledges that it’s not cool what Max is doing. He doesn’t really apologies and that really grinds my gears. It’s the same thing as Leah from Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli all over again.

Besides that it was quite a fun read which deals with some heavy topics in a realistic & inspiring way. This does follow dual POV between Georgia & Pony as well which I always enjoy if done right. Georgia & Pony both had unique voices & both were enjoyable to read from.

Georgia did has some internal issues but those were all thought through and she developed nicely as a character coming to terms with what’s going on around her. I feel like some people might not be a fan of her for the choices she made and I get it. I don’t agree with her actions and if I was friends with her in high school I would definitely call her out for it. Though I’m also not that far out of high school really and can see how between being faced with everything + being a cheerleader in high school where everyone is judgy little assholes would make it hard to come to terms with what was going on instantly. It makes for a realistic character. She also learnt & grew as a character and realised that her actions were wrong. Which is what is important in character growth for me.

Pony also developed throughout the book, though I did find his POV a little flat in comparison to Georgia for some reason. He was a very enjoyable character and though I can’t speak for the representation directly I did see the similarities between his experiences and most high school experiences as an LGBTQ+ person, like myself.

3.5 Stars

Overall, I don’t think Max needed to be the way he was or even present in the story. As no one from Pony’s school knew the bloke he was kind of pointless to the narrative in general so…. Enough about that though. I would recommend giving this one a read out of Tobly McSmiths’ two novels. Besides Max it was quite enjoyable, inspiring, fast paced & the audiobook is quite well done!

Thanks for reading! Eliza