Both Can Be True

In this own-voices middle-grade novel, out from HarperCollins in Summer 2021, two kids join forces to save a dog…but wind up saving each other.

Ash is no stranger to feeling like an outcast. For someone who cycles through genders, it’s a daily struggle to feel in control of how people perceive you. Some days Ash is undoubtedly girl, but other times, 100% guy.


Daniel lacks control, too—of his emotions. He’s been told he’s overly sensitive more times than he can count. He can’t help the way he is, and he sure wishes someone would accept him for it.

So when Daniel’s big heart leads him to rescue a dog that’s about to be euthanized, he’s relieved to find Ash willing to help. The two bond over their four-legged secret. When they start catching feelings for each other, however, things go from cute to complicated. Daniel thinks Ash is all girl…what happens when he finds out there’s more to Ash’s story? 

With so much on the line—truth, identity, acceptance, and the life of an adorable pup named Chewbarka—will Ash and Daniel forever feel at war with themselves because they don’t fit into the world’s binaries? Or will their friendship help them embrace the beauty of living in between?

Both Can Be True comes out on June 8, 2021. Preorder it on BookShop.org (support small businesses!), on Amazon or on Barnes & Noble.

Cover art: Teo DuVall at Little Corvus Art

What are reviewers saying?

"A must-buy for middle schools and high schools, this story is an inspiring celebration of living authentically."

School Library Journal (starred review)

"Machias’s debut handles both realistic emotional journeys with compassion, while offering a nuanced portrayal of the benefits and limitations of labels ... Ash’s and Daniel’s different but intertwined experiences with gender identity and stereotypes lead to a celebration of allyship and fluidity that’s a joy to read."

Publisher's Weekly

"An optimistic journey of self-acceptance."