Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

Stay Gold

Tobly McSmith

fiction Contemporary LGBTQIA+ Young Adult
emotional fast-paced
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 just wants to fly under the radar during senior year. Tired from all the attention he got at his old school after coming out as transgender, he’s looking for a fresh start at Hillcrest High. But it’s hard to live your best life when the threat of exposure lurks down every hallway and in every bathroom.

Georgia is beginning to think there’s more to life than cheerleading. She plans on keeping a low profile until graduation…which is why she promised herself that dating was officially a no-go this year.

Then, on the very first day of school, the new guy and the cheerleader lock eyes. How is Pony supposed to stay stealth when he wants to get close to a girl like Georgia? How is Georgia supposed to keep her promise when sparks start flying with a boy like Pony?

Funny and poignant, clear-eyed and hopeful, Stay Gold is a story about finding love—and finding yourself.

What the community thinks

summary of 122 ratings (see reviews)

Content warnings

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Hate crime (2 reviewers), Transphobia (2 reviewers), Bullying (1 reviewer), Deadnaming (1 reviewer), Homophobia (1 reviewer), Physical abuse (1 reviewer), and Suicidal thoughts (1 reviewer)


emotional 96%
hopeful 61%
inspiring 48%
informative 45%
sad 29%
funny 25%
reflective 22%
dark 19%
tense 19%
challenging 16%
lighthearted 16%


medium 58%
fast 38%
slow 3%

Strong character development?

Yes: 68% | It's complicated: 24% | No: 6%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 60% | It's complicated: 26% | No: 10% | N/A: 3%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 76% | It's complicated: 20% | N/A: 3%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 75% | It's complicated: 17% | N/A: 3% | No: 3%

Average rating