Make It a Gift: Man Up by Kim Oclon

Posted April 22, 2020 by shooting in Book Review / 17 Comments

Man Up by Kim Oclon 

copy from publisher; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add to Goodreads): With David’s final baseball season starting and college plans still up on the air, he begins senior year on edge. But when his baseball coach, Coach Kelly, wants to know if David is gay, he is left speechless. David knows the answer to the question but was hoping to get through his final year without anyone noticing the hallway glances at Tyler, a star on the boy’s track team, or their rides home together each day. In a school where his friends are turning their backs on him, he finds a new set of allies, that he didn’t know roamed the high school halls. Although he was forced out of the closet before he thought he was ready, what happens next is up to him. David can either cower in the corners or man up.

Review: Happy Release Day to Man Up by Kim Oclon! I really enjoyed this book, which focuses on David trying to get through his senior year of high school without having to come out. He’s been dating Tyler, who is on the track team, for six months, but he knows people aren’t going to like it if someone on the baseball team is found out to be gay, so he keeps it quiet. His family knows, but his best friend doesn’t.

I could definitely understand why David wanted to hide the fact that he’s gay. The baseball team isn’t exactly accommodating, except for one surprise player which I was really happy about, and just in general, it’s hard to suddenly have to tell people this big news about yourself. It shouldn’t matter, right?

Tyler is pretty understanding about it, even though he’s out, because he knows what it’s like to be attacked for his sexuality. He might wish he could go to prom with David, but he doesn’t want anything to happen to him either. I really liked that David and Tyler’s family knew about them. I think it would be tough to keep their relationship secret if they couldn’t be themselves at each other’s houses.

Another aspect of the book is college. David is hoping to get into a top school, but he needs a full ride (and that rests mostly on baseball, and not grades) because his family can’t afford to help, and they wouldn’t be able to co-sign a loan. I loved that Oclon mentioned co-signing a loan, because I’m that person who always wonders, “how can parents afford college for their kids? Or why aren’t they just doing loans?” because I had to take out loans for college; my parents couldn’t monetarily help me. It was a very realistic aspect of going to college, and it made David’s situation feel all the more real.

Again, Man Up is out today so be sure to go and grab yourself a copy!!! 

Every now and then, I have a feature with book reviews called Make It a Gift – which is where I pair the book and another item that I think would go great together. Buy them both and “make it a gift” for yourself or someone else!

For Man Up, the book focuses a lot on baseball, so I figured why not add some Milk Chocolate Baseballs? You can find your own at Just Candy.

17 responses to “Make It a Gift: Man Up by Kim Oclon

  1. Oooh this sounds like a good one! Thanks for sharing your review, Lauren: I’ve always been curious about the loans too and glad to see that’s a topic that is covered here.

    Hope all is well with you, momma. Have missed being here ❤️

  2. The college sub-plot broke my heart a little. I really felt for David’s wants and needs, and the financial situation his family was in. I know I was rooting for him to make some headway there every time it came up in the book

    • shooting

      Same, Sam! I really feel for kids that are struggling to make it to college. It seems like the media is always portraying parents has having a college fund, etc. and that’s not true for so many.

  3. Someone inside baseball once said you could field an entire team – all position players, right up to the general manager – with gay men. I think baseball is more tolerant than we give it credit for! I love the idea of pairing the book with chocolate baseballs, by the way.

  4. You’re the second person I’ve seen talking about this book and it really does sound good. It’s a very relatable book it seems. It shows some of the realities of growing up and also the struggles of high school which I think many forget about.

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