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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.

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.

Cover Designer: Kelley Brady

Cover Illustrator: Xavier Schipani


A 2022 Lambda Literary Award Finalist


A 2022 Rainbow Book List Top Ten Title for Young Adults


A Kirkus Best Young Adult Book of the Year 2021

An Amazon Best Young Adult Book of 2021


A Summer/Fall 2021 Indies Introduce title

July/August 2021 Kids Indie Next List


A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

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 Reviews (starred review )

“A gentle and wholesome depiction of the struggles of passing to fit in, Fitzsimons’ debut The Passing Playbook is a wonderful exploration of what it means to be true to yourself and step up for your right to play—and live —the way you want to.”

The Nerd Daily

"This engrossing debut stars an earnest Black queer transmasculine teenager trying to find a home among his new soccer team."

Shelf Awareness

"A heartwarming tale of determination and one teen’s path to authentic living."

The Horn Book, Inc.

“The Passing Playbook feels like a simultaneous warm hug and a lightning strike of courage. Isaac writes from the heart, creating characters you will love and cheer on. This is a wonderful debut!

— National Book Award winner Kacen Callender


A big heart of a book about how acts of courage — both small and large — can be so empowering. It’ll leave readers feeling both loved and hopeful.

Aiden Thomas, the New York Times bestselling author of Cemetery Boys

“The Passing Playbook is a literary hat trick: a story of finding your voice, living your truth, and being yourself, all in one joyful package. This one’s a keeper!

Adib Khorram, award-winning author of Darius the Great Is Not Okay

This book is a national treasure. I fell in love over and over again: with Spencer and Justice, with Fizsimons’ sharp and witty prose, and a romance that made my heart burst.”

Victoria Lee, author of The Fever King and A Lesson in Vengeance

“The Passing Playbook is a quietly powerful and earnestly hopeful debut. Fitzsimons explores privilege, identity, the complicated relationships we create through family and friends, and discovering the potential our voices have with charm and passion. Teens everywhere will love this one.

Julian Winters, award-winning author of Running with Lions

An absolutely perfect story about identity, first love, and finding a voice for yourself. I loved every single page.

Mason Deaver, bestselling author of I Wish You All the Best and The Ghosts We Keep

“In this remarkable debut, Isaac Fitzsimons perfectly balances a hopeful, captivating story with a charming cast of characters. The Passing Playbook is the pitch-perfect YA romance of the summer.”

Phil Stamper, bestselling author of The Gravity of Us and As Far As You’ll Take Me

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