A heartwarming middle grade debut about a young figure skater discovering who they are on and off the ice.
Check out the LGBTQReads.com exclusive cover reveal here!
Out now from Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan.
Life isn’t easy on twelve-year-old Mars. As if seventh grade isn’t hard enough, Mars is also grappling with the recent death of their father and a realization they never got to share with him: they’re nonbinary. But with their skates laced up and the ice under their feet, all of those struggles melt away. When Mars’ triple toe loop draws the attention of a high school hot shot, he dares them to skate as a boy so the two can compete head-to-head. Unable to back down from a challenge, Mars accepts. But as competition draws near, the struggles of life off the rink start to complicate their performance in the rink, and Mars begins to second guess if there’s a place for them on the ice at all.
Skating on Mars is a tender examination of grief and a hopeful middle grade tale of self-discovery.
Content Warnings: transphobia, death of a parent, grief
Praise for Skating on Mars
★ A JLG Gold Standard Selection ★
★ “Huntoon. . . writes beautifully with authority and insight, creating in Mars a fully realized, memorable character; this first novel is an important contribution to the slender body of nonbinary literature, which belongs in every library.” ―Booklist, starred review
“Mars’s passion for figure skating is infectious, and their fight to stake out their own place in a system not built for them proves both gently affirming and joyful.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Mars’ identity is examined with nuance, given depth and consideration as life on and off the ice grows both more euphoric and increasingly complicated. . . a strong sports story and an earnest coming-of-age tale in one.” —Kirkus
“I keep telling myself I won’t cry while reading children’s books, but then people like Huntoon write stories like Skating on Mars and here I am again, sobbing because my heart is so full of love and acceptance.” —The Nerd Daily
“Caroline Huntoon’s Skating on Mars is a rallying cry that trans and nonbinary kids belong in sports; it is also a moving story about life’s transitions, big and small. Mars is a kid you can’t help rooting for as they navigate friendships, grief, and their place within the sport of figure skating as a nonbinary athlete. Skating on Mars is an essential addition to the canon of queer sports stories.” ―A. J. Sass, author of Ana on the Edge and Ellen Outside the Lines
“Mars gives us a beautiful blueprint for what to do when you’re neither/nor instead of either/or, a sparkling bolt of bold Bowie lightning in a world of black and white. Their story skated into my heart and left a smile on my face.” ―Jules Machias, author of Both Can Be True and Fight + Flight
“All the gold medals for this book! Equal parts a fun, joyful story about figure skating and a nuanced, break-your-heart-and-put-it-back-together tale about grief and gender identity, Skating on Mars tackles big questions in an accessible and heartfelt fashion. Caroline’s story had me rooting for Mars from the first spin to the last, triumphant triple toe loop.”
―E. L. Shen, author of The Comeback
“This timely, triumphant novel about figure skating, identity, loss, and love will move and entertain readers―and it might just inspire them to find their own ways to change the world. ” ―Laurie Morrison, author of Up for Air and Coming Up Short
“The results are in: Skating on Mars is a must-read, all-around winning debut novel. The fierce, spirited Mars will be skating figure-eights in readers’ hearts and minds long after the book comes to an end.” ―Michael Leali, author of The Civil War of Amos Abernathy
“We urgently need more books like this in the world: ones that remind us that LGBTQ+ kids are regular kids, with regular kid feelings, struggles, and triumphs. Skating On Mars is a sensitively written story that centers an appealing and realistic non-binary protagonist…An excellent and most welcome addition to the growing (but still too small) collection of well-written and compassionate books about young rainbow humans.” ―Lisa Bunker, author of Zenobia July and Felix Yz