Cover of Tomboy by Lisa Selin Davis
August 2020
Hachette Go

College or Unit:


The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare to Be Different
Lisa Selin Davis

A heartfelt celebration and exploration of the tomboy phenomenon and the future of girlhood, based on the author's viral New York Times op-ed.

We are in the middle of a cultural revolution, where the spectrum of gender and sexual identities is seemingly unlimited. So when author and journalist Lisa Selin Davis's six-year-old daughter first called herself a "tomboy," Davis was hesitant. Her child favored sweatpants and T-shirts over anything pink or princess-themed, just like the sporty, skinned-kneed girls Davis had played with as a kid. But "tomboy" seemed like an outdated word — why use a word with "boy" in it for such girls at all? In an era where some are throwing elaborate gender reveal parties and others are embracing they/them pronouns, Davis set out to answer that question, and to find out where tomboys fit into our changing understandings of gender.

In "Tomboy," Davis explores the evolution of tomboyism from a Victorian ideal to a twenty-first century fashion statement, honoring the girls and women — and those who identify otherwise — who stomp all over archaic gender norms. Davis's comprehensive deep-dive inspires us to better appreciate those who defy traditional gender boundaries, and the incredible people they become.

Whether you're a grown-up tomboy or raising a gender-rebel of your own, "Tomboy" is the perfect companion for navigating our cultural shift. It is a celebration of both diversity and those who dare to be different, ultimately revealing how gender nonconformity is a gift.


Lisa Selin Davis earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Arizona State University in 2003.

Praise for this book

"(A) thorough and engrossing investigation ... Davis's persuasive and deeply personal argument for moving beyond the gender binary will resonate with those curious about child rearing free of normative expectations."

Publishers Weekly, starred review

"An informative jumping-off point for further investigation."