Man o' War
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.
Cory McCarthy is the author of numerous books for young readers. He lives with his family in Vermont, where he teaches writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
★ “A beautiful and relentless current of emotion.”—Kirkus, starred review
★ ”A thoughtful, nuanced exploration of what it’s like to feel trapped—and how to make it out.”—Publishers Weekly, 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
“Cory McCarthy has written a triumphant trans coming of age novel with depth, nuance, heart and humor.”—Ms. Magazine
“McCarthy deftly presents the humor and heartbreak of River’s journey, avoiding easyanswers and embracing nuance. Readers will root for River through the pain, anger, and swimmeets and be rewarded with a love story destined to make a splash.”—Booklist
“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
“Man o’ War is epic in every sense—in its journey, its love story, its wholehearted embrace of self. I couldn’t put it down.”—Elana K. Arnold, National Book Award finalist and Michael L. Printz honoree
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