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Publisher's Summary

Love, Simon meets Bend It Like Beckham in this feel-good contemporary romance about a trans athlete who must decide between fighting for his right to play and staying stealth.

"A sharply observant and vividly drawn debut. I loved every minute I spent in this story, and I’ve never rooted harder for a jock in my life." (New York Times best-selling author Becky Albertalli)

Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother, and a David Beckham in training. He's also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of isolation and bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio.

At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boys' soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans - he's passing. 

But when a discriminatory law forces Spencer's coach to bench him, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even though it would mean coming out to everyone - including the guy he's falling for.

©2021 Isaac Fitzsimons (P)2021 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

An Indie Next pick

 Kirkus Best Book of 2021 

“Balancing hope and honesty, this debut deftly handles multiple social themes, including racism, privilege, identity, and accessibility. A game-changing score to the back of the net.” (Kirkus, starred review) 

“Fitzsimons' debut novel treats gender, religion, sports, and family dynamics with a deft hand, using nuanced character building while setting up a high-stakes narrative that circumvents tropes of physical violence and trauma. This is a truly charming and heart-warming exploration of friendship, community, and acceptance.” (Booklist

“An excellent addition to realistic fiction collections. Give to fans of Tobly McSmith’s Stay Gold and Bill Konigsberg’s Openly Straight.” (School Library Journal)

Featured Article: The Best Soccer Audiobooks for Avid and Prospective Fans


Soccer definitely has game. It’s played by more than 200 million people around the world, and it's the world's most-viewed sporting event. If you're in America, Canada, Ireland, or Australia, you probably call it soccer, and if you live in most other parts of the world, you call it football. Whether you're a casual player, a serious fan, or just interested in learning more about the game and its staying power, these audiobooks capture what makes soccer such a sensation.

What listeners say about The Passing Playbook

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Absolutely sweet

I wish I would have had stories like this when I was growing up. My experience with being queer and Trans would have been so different being able to read stories of youth like me going through the experience of growing up .

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Such a beautiful story

It was so cute and sad! An eye opener even to a trans person, every character was perfectly written and made this what it was. The narration was perfect and every minute was just so good!

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I loved this book!

This was an adorable sports rom com that left me smiling at multiple points in the story and after I finished it!