Review: Stay Gold

Title: Stay Gold
Author: Tobly McSmith
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

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 was officially a no-go 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?

Funny and poignant, clear-eyed and hopeful, Stay Gold is a story about finding love—and finding yourself.


When Pony’s family moves to a new town in Texas, he can start at a new school and hide his transgender identity. Even though he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s transgender, he’s constantly worried about that part of his identity being revealed. Pony is attracted to Georgia as soon as he spots her across the schoolyard. She’s a popular cheerleader, who he probably has no chance with. Pony and Georgia end up sharing all the same classes and spending a lot of time together. However, their real relationship can’t begin until Pony is honest with Georgia.

I was so excited to read this book as soon as I heard about it! I read The Outsiders in middle school, so I recognized the phrase “Stay Gold” as soon as I read the title. This book wasn’t an exact adaptation but I recognized some of the same themes as in The Outsiders.

Though Pony was one of the main characters, this story also showed different kinds of transgender identities. Pony was obsessed with having top surgery, so he wore a binder everyday even though it was uncomfortable. His main goal was to earn enough money to be able to afford the surgery, because he wanted to present as male. At the same time, his friend Max was proud of his trans identity. He shared articles and petitions on social media, but Pony didn’t want to have that part of his life online. Sometimes I think people consider all people who share a gender identity to be the same, so I’m glad this story showed different perspectives.

I loved this story!

What to read next:

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

Have you read Stay Gold? What did you think of it?

2 thoughts on “Review: Stay Gold”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.