This was my first book by Kacen Callender which is weird because I have followed them on Twitter for a while. But I checked to make sure, and I haven’t read anything else on their publication list. I think I started following them after watching BookCon back in 2020 when it was all virtual.
This story is about Felix (bet you couldn’t tell that by the cover) who is a trans boy living in New York City. Now, I listened to the audiobook on this one, and I tend to listen very fast, so I’m sure there are things along the way that I missed. But Felix and his best friend Ezra have a very sweet, close relationship. Although, it was a little weird to me that Ezra had his own place, and Felix’s dad was always okay with Felix just leaving the house and staying with Ezra for days at a time. I get it, kids in New York City grow up differently, and then Ezra is super rich, and they go to this private school, so all things I don’t understand. As a parent, it was just weird to me that Felix was able to do his own thing all the time.
Felix struggles a lot throughout the book, and honestly, he did get on my nerves just a little when he would complain about his dad, but again, I think that comes from my vantage point of being a parent and not a teenager while reading this book.
Felix also has no relationship with his mom. She left ‘a while ago.’ I don’t think it’s clearly stated how long Felix and his dad have been on their own, but Felix writes her emails, a lot, but never sends them. So he’s just got an inbox of 400+ drafted emails. This part kinda broke my heart. He does eventually send one, but I’ll leave what happens out to avoid spoilers.
What I liked about this book was that it had a transgender main character. Representation matters in life, and more so in books. I liked that Felix struggled with his identity. The book shows him reaching out for help, doing research, asking questions, and discovering himself. I think it definitely got the point that it’s okay not to know all the answers across really well.
I also enjoy Felix’s journey figuring out love. If anyone can ever figure it out. It was a very sweet story, and I think it was nice that he figured himself out first.
All that to say, if you’re looking for a well-written book with a trans main character, this is definitely a good one.
If you’re looking for a book about finding yourself and finding love, again, this is a good one.