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Publisher's Summary

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 plans to fly under the radar this year. Tired of getting too much attention at his old school after coming out as transgender, he’s hoping for a fresh start as a Hillcrest High senior. But it’s hard to live your best life with the threat of exposure lurking around every corner.

Georgia is beginning to think there’s more to life than cheerleading. She just wants to keep a low profile until graduation...which is why she promised herself that dating is a nonstarter for the foreseeable future.

Then, on the very first day of classes, the new guy and the cheerleader lock eyes....

In this moving, honest debut from Tobly McSmith, one transformative relationship opens the eyes of a whole town - and opens the door for Pony and Georgia to celebrate their truths, even when it feels hard.

©2020 Tobly McSmith (P)2020 HarperTeen

Featured Article: The Best Trans and Nonbinary Listens


As our society becomes more inclusive, some of our most underrepresented communities are getting a much-needed opportunity to tell their stories. For this list, we’ve come up with some of the best trans and nonbinary listens, across all genres and age categories. And because we know that authenticity is important to listeners, our selections are almost exclusively written by queer, trans, and nonbinary authors.

Editor's Pick

Feel free to fall in love
This YA debut from Tobly McSmith stole my heart, and broke it, too. We follow the story of Pony, a transgender boy going stealth while navigating new kid status at a small Texas high school. He quickly falls for one of the most popular students, a cisgender girl named Georgia who also starts crushing on him, all while wrestling with whether he will share his past with his new peers. Growing up in a small Texas town myself, where I was a racial minority, frequently othered, and at times bullied, this story struck a chord with me. I was team Pony from the very start, hoping that he would settle into his new life easily, but he faces very real challenges from his family, friends, and fellow students, who can’t see the person for all the gender norms. The emotional toll of not being his fully realized self, compounded with the constant threat of physical danger associated with being himself, felt so visceral. You get a window into the reality for many transgender people as they simply try to live their lives, and the bravery that act takes. I hope you’ll give this profoundly moving, uplifting, and hopeful story a listen.

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What listeners say about Stay Gold

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Must Read

Tobly did an extraordinary job writing this book. I fell in love with Pony and Georgia. Without giving anything away this book is heartbreaking and heartwarming. The LGBTQ+ community deserves representation and this book is a great addition to anyone’s audible or physical library. The world is often unkind but this book helped remind me that there are good, pure, exceptional humans who love unconditionally out there. Stay Gold.

13 people found this helpful

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Wow.

This is an absolutely captivating story, inspiring and beautifully written. It displays trans issues perfectly, and as a trans guy, it spoke volumes to how slowly progression truly is, and that meant the world to me. I’m still in shock, this was gorgeous. Totally worth staying up till 5 am to listen to.

11 people found this helpful

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Golden

This is one of best books I've ever experienced. It spoke both to my heart and my soul while making me laugh, cry, and cheer. The narrator's were sheer perfection and could not have given more perfect performances. You need this book in your life.

6 people found this helpful

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A New Favorite

There isn’t a lot of representation for trans people, especially trans guys. Most of what is there is sad and depressing to show straight people how hard it is being trans.
This book is not that. All the characters are real and fleshed out. Pony is more than just a trans guy, he has interests and experiences and grows throughout the book. That’s not to say that this book doesn’t show the truth of what it’s like to be trans, I remember experiencing everything Pony goes through when I was a teenager (and even still do now).
I also really like the supporting characters and how they had their own stories and were fleshed out. Georgia (the co-main character) is so well written, grows a lot, and is a lot more than “the love interest”. She has relationships and interests and a life outside Pony.
I also really loved the voice acting. Great choices for voice actors and I appreciate that there was two voice actors instead of one.
All in all, wonderful book that you won’t regret reading/listening to.

5 people found this helpful

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Great story I could really relate to Pony.

I loved the story. At sometimes it was really cringy and I had to put the phone down but it was a good story. I loved the reference to the Outsiders. I loved that book

5 people found this helpful

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Highly Recommend and Very Entertaining

I can not recommend this book enough, if I could I'd give it 6 stars. The story is so easy to get sucked into, the characters were so relatable, and the message of inclusion and love were beautiful. On top of this, the narrators were great! Highly recommend to you, as well as to gift to a young adult in your life.

4 people found this helpful

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Well done touching story.

I’m a 40 some year old cisgender new Dad but was really moved by this story. Even got choked up at certain parts of the story. It is a teen drama with a lot of characters and scenes that play out like many teen dramas before it. However, it is well written and engaging gives a great insight into what it would be like to be in trans person’s skin and as I said before some of the scenes at the end where the story culminates are really moving. Very well done. They should assign this in schools.

3 people found this helpful

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This is not just a teen book about school.

I am 60. I listen to learn, not just hear. I am glad I listened to this - if we want to be a world of acceptance we need to learn about those striving to be considered normal. Caveat - there is no normal.

3 people found this helpful

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Simply Magnificent!

It hits so close to home. Hope every parent could read this book, hope every single homophobic, transphobic and all kind phobics could listen to these words. In a world where hate speaks so loud, it was wonderful to listen to LOVE screaming even louder! Applause!!!👏👏👏👏👏🙌🙌🙌🙌

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Loved every minute! Well done!

This was very well done beginning to end and I highly recommend this book. Perfect narrators and such a great message on top of it! Awesome job Tobly! Congratulations!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nabiha Javed
  • 01-28-21

an absolutely amazing book

honestly this is probably the best book that i have ever heard. the story is so heart warming and i became very emotional at the end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • FENARETI
  • 10-20-20

Very basic

This was so boring I struggled to finish it but did anyway so that I didnt feel like it completely wasted my time.

I didnt like the way it was written at all.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-26-20

I am not going to cry! I am crying!!

I wanted to read this to help me get one step closer to understanding the problems my transgender friends face. I definitely got that but I also got an adorable, dorky, turning my heart to mush love story between a boy and a girl.

10/10 I will be recommending to other!

1 person found this helpful

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  • R. Bourke
  • 06-08-20

Brilliant, urgent, necessary

PLEASE READ THIS. Phenomenal story of bravery, courage and hope. Stay gold is the book you need.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Murray
  • 09-25-21

Very cute, but dramatic

I like romance books with diversity. Representation is important. This one is about a trans guy that falls for a cis girl. The romance is not that deep, but you do get to know more about the struggels that trans people face,

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  • Riley Turner
  • 03-17-21

A book I wish I had at Pony’s age

When I found this book I was elated at the prospect of a young adult transgender ftm book. As a transman myself, hearing the pain and tribulations Pony went through brought me to tears of understanding. The struggles of having feeling trapped in a body you hate and trying to find pride within yourself for yourself were so close to home. This book is transcendent story of a young man finding himself and falling in love. Beautifully written and wonderfully concluded.

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  • Gesa Niggemann
  • 09-16-20

Required reading for teens

This is beautifully written and gives much insight into feelings and fears of transgender people and those they come out to. With a hue of to good to be true-sounding fairy tale, it still presents important aspects of the dark and scary truths of the transgender experience. I believe it may be and important read to increase understanding compassion and support for transgender journeys.