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Stay Gold | Tobly McSmith | Audiobook Review

Why Did I Listen To Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith?

I was looking for a new audiobook to listen to and Stay Gold caught my attention. I am always looking to be diverse with my reading choices and had thought that this would a sweet LGBTQ contemporary romance. Honestly, I really was expecting a sweet, fluffy romance between the new guy in school, Pony, who is trans and a popular cheerleader at his school called Georgia. And that is what this book is but also really isn’t.

What’s The Story Here?

Pony is a transgender boy and recently transferred to a new school so his goal is the lay low and not be found out. Georgia is the popular cheerleader at the school but, is someone who has dreams of being more than “just a cheerleader”. On the first day of school, Pony and Georgia meet during class. There is an attraction right from the start with the two of them but, each of them is afraid to act on it knowing that if they do, it will change everything for both of them.

What Did I Think Of Stay Gold?

I have conflicted feelings about Stay Gold. Like I said, I think I was expecting more of a contemporary romance which is what happened but, there were alot of underlying layers. This book tackles so many issues which are experienced by transgender individuals including transphobia, homophobia, body dysmorphia, personal trauma and suicidal thoughts.It was quite a bit to take in as a reader. I can see how important and educational it would be for a reader who may not have experience with transgender experiences. For myself though, there were times when I felt disconnected from the story, and the characters did not fully resonate with me. I felt for Pony and what he was experiencing and it broke my heart knowing that what he felt is truly felt by so many individuals out there. Georgia and I did not see eye to eye for much of the story and the “growth” which she experienced felt sudden to me.; and that she had more excuses for her behavior(s) then actual growth. Oh, and there are some secondary characters who I felt were way over the top and did not connect me to the story at hand in the way that I believe they were supposed to.

How’s The Narration?

Stay Gold is 9 hours long and is narrated by Theo Germaine and Phoebe Strole. I enjoyed having two narrators because it made it easier to keep Pony and Georgia separated in my mind. Each of the narrators had a good inflection in their tone when needed to express the emotions needed. And with the subjects that were discussed there was alot of emotion to unfold. I think that might be why in the end I was conflicted by this story. While I think it is a good introduction to queer identity issues, I did feel that the story was unbalanced, and not exactly what I expected as a reader. I think that it may be troublesome for some readers and should be treated as such and not as a happily ever after teenage love story.

Rating: 3 Stars

Audiobook review layout borrowed from April @ Good Books and Good Wine.

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