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Felix Ever After

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From Stonewall and Lambda Award–winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time. Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to fin From Stonewall and Lambda Award–winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time. Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle.... But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself. Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.


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From Stonewall and Lambda Award–winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time. Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to fin From Stonewall and Lambda Award–winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time. Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle.... But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself. Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.

30 review for Felix Ever After

  1. 5 out of 5

    chai ♡

    I finished reading this book at 2 am and I could barely see through my tears. I didn’t know how much I needed this story until I was lost inside it. Lost and wandering and found all at once. I hope every queer reader finds their way to this book. Full review to come.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zoë

    I loved this so much.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    So overwhelmed with love for this cover with a queer poc main character with top surgery scars. It's so visible and incredible I can't handle it. Update 6/20/20: Wow. Wow wow wow. There is such a scope of emotion here that it all overwhelms me. This is the messy queer book that I have needed desperately. It is sad and it is fierce and it is funny and it is hopeful and it is so full of love and full of forgiveness and fucking up and learning from it all. It’s a masterpiece.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    Hello this book was perfect and messy and sweet and queer and I loved it so, so, SO much. TW: transphobia, being outed, cyber-bullying

  5. 4 out of 5

    faith ✨

    🌻 read this review and others on my blog, pages left unread I have a solid feeling Felix Ever After will be my favorite book of 2020. Ever since I read the synopsis of this book, my expectations for it were soaring, and after reading it my love for it was even higher. Felix Ever After was such a joy to read, but it also felt as if each page wrapped around my heart and saw the deepest corners of my soul. Sometimes, I feel as if this book was written just for me, as a nonbinary queer Black person. So 🌻 read this review and others on my blog, pages left unread I have a solid feeling Felix Ever After will be my favorite book of 2020. Ever since I read the synopsis of this book, my expectations for it were soaring, and after reading it my love for it was even higher. Felix Ever After was such a joy to read, but it also felt as if each page wrapped around my heart and saw the deepest corners of my soul. Sometimes, I feel as if this book was written just for me, as a nonbinary queer Black person. So, in this review, I’ll be discussing why I loved this book so much, but also how my love for it closely binds with the identities and experiences I shared with the main character, and even others. Approaching this review was something for me, that took a lot: I feel as if I’m maybe oversharing too much even, but I think talking about my personal experiences is necessary to convey my love for this book. If I had to do one thing for the rest of my life, it would have to be to get everyone to read Felix Ever After. I adored every single page of it, and initially finishing it I was rendered speechless, and I still almost am. I saw myself in so much of this book, and also enjoyed every single page of it. Felix is such a character I would regard as one of my favorites, because while I loved his personality and cherished him so much, he’s a character I saw myself completely in. One of the first major events which occurs in this book is Felix discovering a fellow student at his prestigious arts high school put up a gallery of pictures of him pre-transition with his deadname on it, and the rest of this book revolves around him getting back at the perpetrator of this horrific situation. While thankfully—nothing of this extent has happened to me personally, I related so much with him. As Felix is Black, queer, and trans, it’s not hard to feel that sometimes, the whole world is against him, and it’s exactly how I feel as well. While this is mostly a happy book, something I’m glad about, Felix gets so much shit for just existing, and from every corner of his life. As someone who is closeted in real life, it not even being an option for me to be otherwise, I identified so much with the daily things he had to endure. One of the things I loved about this book was how it portrayed unsupportive parents of queer and trans youth. I feel as if the former is a weird thing to remark on, but it’s unfortunately a reality for so many people. Even though something I do wish this book had were parents who were completely loving and supportive—while not all are downright homophobic and transphobic, there weren’t any who were initially completely accepting of their children—but, this does reflect the world we live in, especially one I do. I won’t go into specifics with the character I’m talking about, because then it’ll start going into spoiler territory, but there’s one character I related to a lot with how their parents’ feelings on their queerness. Like mine, they have parents who believe their religion makes up queerness as something abhorrent and abnormal, their parents treating them accordingly; and as the book mentions: “My dad is hardcore Catholic. I used to hope that he’d decide to change his mind—that he could accept me, because I was his [child]. And then I’d laugh at myself. Like, how fucking arrogant is that? Expecting my dad to love me more than he loves God.” I will never be able to be myself to my family due to their internalized beliefs, and therefore have to face constant homophobia (against others and in general, because I am not out) and misgendering daily. I always wish this wasn’t the case, that I could have parents and family who would love me no matter what, but it’s a reality I’ve become accustomed to. Also, throughout this book, Felix also questions his gender frequently—he is sure he isn’t a girl, but doesn’t 100% identify completely as male or nonbinary, and later realizes he is a demiboy. Although I am not, though on the trans spectrum, I closely related to his constant feeling of uncertainty concerning gender identity and being queer. I feel as if the media paints realizing gender identity or queerness as this single moment, an epiphany of “this is what I am” so easily, and while it is like that for some people, sometimes the experience is completely opposite and it’s such a struggle. This book conveyed those feelings so perfectly and it’s one of the things I loved so much about it. This book also highlights that not having a label in the sense of gender and queer identity is completely okay and commonplace, while also acknowledging that labels are important for many, and customarily give a sense of clarity, knowing there are other people just like you. While it mentions this many times, here’s one quote I loved regarding it: He shrugs with a smile. “I honestly don’t care that much about labels. I mean, I know they’re important to a lot of people, and I can see why—I’m not knocking them. It’s just . . . I kind of wish we could exist without having to worry about putting ourselves into categories. If there were no straight people, no violence or abuse or homophobia or anything, would we even need labels, or would we just be? Sometimes I wonder if labels can get in the way. Like, if I was adamant that I’m straight, does that force me into only liking girls? What if that’d stopped me from falling in love with a guy? I don’t know,” he says again. “I get that labels can be important.” “They connect us. They help create community,” Leah says. “I can see what you’re saying. If the world was perfect, maybe we wouldn’t need labels. But the world isn’t perfect, and labels can really be a source of pride—especially when we’ve got to deal with so much crap. I’m really freaking proud to be a lesbian.” And along with this, it also discusses how even though queer spaces are important and needed, especially for youth, they can sometimes be overwhelming and even feel unwelcoming. This is a pretty minor thing, but I really did want to mention it as it’s something I related with so much. (I also loved how Felix’s deadname is never on-page, I feel as if it’s the opposite for every other trans YA book.) But with all I’ve mentioned previously, this book is a constant reminder that even though the world seems to be against us who are queer, of color, and trans, we still manage to live remorseless and proud. Pretty much every major and minor character in this book is queer, and many are POC, and there are so many happy queer scenes it fills my heart to think about. The romance(s) in this book is everything, and this book made me feel so joyful. I just loved reading about Felix and all of his moments of mirth, and aside from all the heavy aspects of Felix Ever After, it’s a book which will keep you smiling and invested throughout. “I was hurt this summer, hurt more than I thought I ever could be. It could’ve been easy to say I was hurt because I’m trans, because someone singled me out for my identity, but there’s something weird about that—something off, about suggesting that my identity is the thing that brought me any sort of pain. It’s the opposite. Being trans brings me love. It brings me happiness. It gives me power.” Ezra’s biting his lip as he grins at me. I shrug a little. “It makes me feel like I’m a god. I wouldn’t change myself for anything.” And I can’t believe I have to ever end this review at one point, I want to talk about this book and praise it for eternity, but I will close it with this: I adored Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. It’s such a singular book, and when I say I want every single person in the world, especially queer, trans, and Black youth, to read it, I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. I saw myself in every part of it, as well—reading it felt like it was a book written exactly for me, and it even was, in a way. But, it’s also a book I had so much fun reading. I was smiling so hard throughout it, and so much things about this book gave me an endless joy – I have over 5 thousand words of quotes from it. This is one of the longest reviews I have ever wrote, and I hope it’ll convince you to read Felix Ever After if you haven’t yet. If it’s the only good thing I’d ever make out of being a book blogger, I’d be proud. representation: Black queer demiboy main character (ownvoices) w/ biracial Black Bengali LI, gay Black biracial prominent character, lesbian prominent characters, gay prominent character, various other queer + POC characters content warnings: homophobia, transphobia, racism, parental abuse and neglect, frequent drug and alcohol use, ableist language I received an e-ARC of this book from Balzer + Bray, a HarperCollins imprint, via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Blog | Goodreads | Twitter

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kevin (Irish Reader)

    If you liked Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, you’ll love Felix Ever After! This book is going to be a new favorite of mine, I just loved it so much! I absolutely loved the characters, Felix, Ezra and Leah being my favorites. This book also has so much LGBTQIA+ representation, which I loved. I loved the discussions on being transgender and also Felix’s journey with self identity. The book is also set during pride month and the romance is absolutely adorable! I don’t think I have anything negati If you liked Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, you’ll love Felix Ever After! This book is going to be a new favorite of mine, I just loved it so much! I absolutely loved the characters, Felix, Ezra and Leah being my favorites. This book also has so much LGBTQIA+ representation, which I loved. I loved the discussions on being transgender and also Felix’s journey with self identity. The book is also set during pride month and the romance is absolutely adorable! I don’t think I have anything negative to say about this book, it was just amazing! Highly recommend that you pick it up! I also read this during a 24 hour readathon and you can check it out here, if you’d like to hear more of my thoughts: https://youtu.be/_xMcY58rFaw

  7. 4 out of 5

    chan ☆

    i read 5: queer YA & middle grade books i read 5: queer YA & middle grade books

  8. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    this was one of those incredible books that left me actually wordless 😭I just want to say go read it instead of reading me trying to form words on how heartfelt and aching and confused and angry and deeply loving and incredible it was. All Felix's artist feels, the ambitious vs procrastination moments, the fear of not being good enough and jamming yourself into creative blocks? That hit hard and true. (I don't pretend or act like this book was written for me; but I'm a little soggy and grateful this was one of those incredible books that left me actually wordless 😭I just want to say go read it instead of reading me trying to form words on how heartfelt and aching and confused and angry and deeply loving and incredible it was. All Felix's artist feels, the ambitious vs procrastination moments, the fear of not being good enough and jamming yourself into creative blocks? That hit hard and true. (I don't pretend or act like this book was written for me; but I'm a little soggy and grateful that I connected deeply for many reasons.) It also is about gender questioning, by an #ownvoices perspective, as Felix starts to have doubts about identifying as a boy. His exploration is full of anxiety and emotional moments; it hurts and it's raw. There's discussion on loving vs rejecting labels. And there was quite a nuanced discussion on being queer but transphobic. And it is so much about love 🥺 Felix's last name is Love but he's never found it...and then he ends up in a sort of love triangle (tbh I thought it would be polyam but it wasn't) and it was the kind I actually didn't have a side for. I really loved how deeply developed all the secondary characters were too. Also Declan? Declan needs his own book as well please. 😭 Art. Love. Self destruction. Belief. Searching. Triumph. It is the kind of book that is so layered and both lovely and aching. Going to just go sit with my feelings now. I cannot recommend this enough.

  9. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    This novel offers a cornucopia of queer identities and was just so moving, beginning to end. I had to take a time out before I could even consider writing a review. This novel is everything right now. It is everything I needed in this moment and it is certainly everything the world needs. I've been trying to figure out why this one touched me so deeply and all I can say is, Felix Love. Felix Love who wants to know love, but first needs to learn he is worthy of love. Felix Ever After is told, as you This novel offers a cornucopia of queer identities and was just so moving, beginning to end. I had to take a time out before I could even consider writing a review. This novel is everything right now. It is everything I needed in this moment and it is certainly everything the world needs. I've been trying to figure out why this one touched me so deeply and all I can say is, Felix Love. Felix Love who wants to know love, but first needs to learn he is worthy of love. Felix Ever After is told, as you may expect, completely from Felix's perspective. Getting to read his deepest inner thoughts, particularly the thoughts he would probably never admit to anyone, was so raw and real. Felix is busy attending a summer arts program at his high school. While the school has a lot of diversity, he still faces personal attacks and acts of transphobia from the very beginning of the story. I will say, Callender does not shy away from how brutal and painful such acts are, so if you think this may effect your mental health and wellness, tread carefully. It hurts to read, but I think it is so important for people to face it. So important. This whole book is so damn important. After a fellow student creates a gallery listing Felix's deadname, along with photos of him before his transition, he is rightly shattered. How could someone do this? He vows to find the person responsible and make them pay. Along with his best friend, Ezrah, he sets out to do just that. For a while, Ez is on board, but eventually Felix goes rogue and continues his revenge plot on his own. There were times when I wanted to scream at Felix, to stop him from making hurtful choices, but he is a teen, acting out of anger and in a way, fear. I also wanted to hug him super tight, but that's a whole other story. I had to remember, oh yeah, I was a teen once and I totally would have plotted revenge day and night if someone did to me what was done to him. In addition to all of the stressful things happening to him at school, and via social media, Felix is also still questioning his identity. He utilizes local resources to learn more about himself and his feelings. I thought that was such an important detail, showing him reaching out to others in the community that may help him, or provide illumination, on the questions he has. I think for Felix, it lifted a huge weight off of him, when he realized he wasn't alone. No matter what he was going through personally, he was connected to many others who were, at the end of the day, fighting very similar battles. I feel like I could babble on about the minutiae of this story for decades, but I wouldn't do that to you. In short, READ THIS FREAKING BOOK!! Oh, also, gender fluidity. Chef's kiss. So well done. Okay, okay, that's it. P.S. READ IT!!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    We’re all worthy of love, but sometimes the path to realizing that is a tough one. This message is at the core of Kacen Callender's newest book, Felix Ever After . Ironically, Felix Love has never been in love. He wants that more than anything, though, as much as he wants to get in to Brown University to study art. He knows his grades and his test scores aren't enough, but if he can make a splash with his portfolio he might have a chance. If only he could motivate himself to work on it... "I wa We’re all worthy of love, but sometimes the path to realizing that is a tough one. This message is at the core of Kacen Callender's newest book, Felix Ever After . Ironically, Felix Love has never been in love. He wants that more than anything, though, as much as he wants to get in to Brown University to study art. He knows his grades and his test scores aren't enough, but if he can make a splash with his portfolio he might have a chance. If only he could motivate himself to work on it... "I want to be in love. I've never, you know—felt the kind of passion great artists talk about. I want that. I want to feel that level of intensity. Not everyone wants love. I get that, you know? But me—I want to fall in love and be broken up with and get pissed and grieve and fall in love all over again. I've never felt any of that. I've just been doing the same shit. Nothing new. Nothing exciting." He has other issues to deal with, though. Since he came out as transgender, he’s been struggling with his identity. He knows he’s not a girl but he doesn’t always feel like a boy, so he doesn’t know what that means, especially since he made such a big deal out of his transition. But the worst thing is that someone put up a gallery of photos from before his transition, along with his deadname, at school. He is devastated by this and is determined to get back whomever was responsible. But his obsession with revenge takes an unexpected turn, and it also blinds him to something closer. This was a moving book about identity, love, friendship, and family. There was so much to think about, so much emotion, and so much beauty. The characters weren’t always the most sympathetic, but this is definitely a book I’ll remember for a long time. Another excellent book for Pride Reads!! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  11. 4 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    rep: Black trans demiboy mlm mc, Black Bengali mlm li, lesbian side character, mixed-race Black, Puerto Rican & white gay side character, poc sapphic side character, sapphic side character, gay side character, nonbinary side character tw: transphobia (exposing old pictures and deadname, transphobic messages), mentions of past emotional abuse, absent parent i just feel so very, very loved right now the thing abt felix ever after is that it is CLEARLY written for trans kids. yeah, bad things happen t rep: Black trans demiboy mlm mc, Black Bengali mlm li, lesbian side character, mixed-race Black, Puerto Rican & white gay side character, poc sapphic side character, sapphic side character, gay side character, nonbinary side character tw: transphobia (exposing old pictures and deadname, transphobic messages), mentions of past emotional abuse, absent parent i just feel so very, very loved right now the thing abt felix ever after is that it is CLEARLY written for trans kids. yeah, bad things happen to felix and yeah, there's quite a lot of transphobia but it's there bc ppl like that are still in the world & not just to teach the readers sth. there's balance here: bad things happen to felix but right from the very start, he has his best friend who's willing to fight the whole damn world for him. it tells trans kids who read it: look, it might be rough, but u WILL be loved!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Romie

    I realise that this book isn't going to be for everybody, because Felix fucks up more than once, but I remember how I was at 17, and I was the queen of fucking things up. putting teenagers on a pedestal isn't realistic. Felix is still figuring out his identity while being deadnamed and harassed, and yes he doesn't react in the most logical way or a way that won't get other people hurt, but to me this is a realistic representation of what it's like being a teenager and being scared and hurt. it's I realise that this book isn't going to be for everybody, because Felix fucks up more than once, but I remember how I was at 17, and I was the queen of fucking things up. putting teenagers on a pedestal isn't realistic. Felix is still figuring out his identity while being deadnamed and harassed, and yes he doesn't react in the most logical way or a way that won't get other people hurt, but to me this is a realistic representation of what it's like being a teenager and being scared and hurt. it's not the way everybody would have dealt with things, but it was interesting to see how Felix evolved all throughout the book and realised what he was doing and what it meant. I think it's an important book. Felix realises that his identity isn't maybe exactly what he thought it was and it's okay, it's okay to still have things to figure out. yes this book is hard to read at times, but it was so hopeful. (4.5) trigger warnings: transphobia, misgendering, deadnaming, homophobia, racism

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Wow. I normally am not a fan of character driven novels, but my emotional connection to these characters is what kept me hooked the entire time I was reading this. Felix's story was so emotional and he was just...confused. Which is something a lot of people go through, especially teenagers. I think that the conversations Felix had with people and with himself were just so raw and real and I really appreciated them. The romance in this book was so sweet and so surprising and I loved how messy the Wow. I normally am not a fan of character driven novels, but my emotional connection to these characters is what kept me hooked the entire time I was reading this. Felix's story was so emotional and he was just...confused. Which is something a lot of people go through, especially teenagers. I think that the conversations Felix had with people and with himself were just so raw and real and I really appreciated them. The romance in this book was so sweet and so surprising and I loved how messy the relationships were. Felix didn't know what or who he wanted and was just trying to figure it out. There aren't a lot of romances like that and I enjoyed how Felix tried to explore things and still didn't completely understand what he wanted. This book just felt so real and is something that I think everyone needs to read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest FELIX EVER AFTER was a really, really good book. It's a story about questioning your identity, writing secret letters, first loves, secret cruelties, calling out harassment and bigotry, and educating loved ones-- oh, and art, New York, and coming of age. Basically, it's a hodge-podge of everything I love about YA, handled really maturely, and with a really great message to boot. Felix is a trans boy who has never been in love but would li Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest FELIX EVER AFTER was a really, really good book. It's a story about questioning your identity, writing secret letters, first loves, secret cruelties, calling out harassment and bigotry, and educating loved ones-- oh, and art, New York, and coming of age. Basically, it's a hodge-podge of everything I love about YA, handled really maturely, and with a really great message to boot. Felix is a trans boy who has never been in love but would like to be. He's also an art student with big dreams, and a group of friends who he mostly likes, although they can be annoying. In liberal New York, he's mostly accepted but he still runs into bigots-- like his TERF "friend" who says he's a misogynist for transitioning from "female" to male and giving into the patriarchy, or the bigot who deadnames him and posts a gallery of photos from his Instagram taken pre-transition. The secret bigot harasses him on Instagram, trying to tell him that he's a girl and damage his self-worth. The things the bully says are incredibly cruel and Felix is understandably devastated and enraged, and he decides he's going to figure out who they are and ruin them. He already has one suspect, the ex-boyfriend of his BFF who inexplicably seems to hate both their guts. But the more that Felix talks to him, under an assumed identity, the more he actually -gulp- starts to like him. I don't want to say too much more because I don't want to spoil things, but I liked that I never knew what was going to happen. I also liked that Felix started out as really prickly, but as the story progresses we get to know the real him as he figures himself out. I liked the message about how even loved ones can screw up and it's important to forgive even as you hold them accountable, and how bigots should be called out so they can't continue to harass on the sly. I loved the message that you can continue to question your whole life, and how identity is this ever-evolving thing that belongs to you alone, and the power that naming yourself gives you when you find a label that is you. There's a lot of YA that condescends to its audience so I'm always really excited when I find a mature work that deals out realistic problems with realistic people and dialogue that sounds like real teens speaking. Real teens make mistakes and sometimes do reckless things, but real teens can also surprise you with their insightfulness and their passions. When I was a teenager, I definitely saw myself as a very ~mature~ individual, and I think a lot of teens probably feel the same way and like to see reflections of their almost-adult self in fiction. FELIX EVER AFTER perfectly captures what it means to be growing up and having everything change, caught mid-glide on that journey of endless possibility. 4 to 4.5 stars

  15. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his)

    I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review! CW: outing, transphobia, TERF character, homophobia, being kicked out for being gay (minor character), deceiving someone online about who you are, and parental abandonment (MC and minor character) When I saw this book on Edelweiss, I got so excited. I need more books featuring trans characters in my life! Especially since this is written by someone on the spectrum. This is the kind of queer content that we need in 2020. This isn' I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review! CW: outing, transphobia, TERF character, homophobia, being kicked out for being gay (minor character), deceiving someone online about who you are, and parental abandonment (MC and minor character) When I saw this book on Edelweiss, I got so excited. I need more books featuring trans characters in my life! Especially since this is written by someone on the spectrum. This is the kind of queer content that we need in 2020. This isn't exactly a light read, although I will say that, overall, it is pretty light and it's got a happy ending, which Kacen tweeted about. I just loved that this book shows the fluidity of gender identity and how even though we have 10x the language that older generations have, there is still a language gap to define how one is. And that as one gets more language, their identity can change. I'm 24. I've identified as a transman since I was 15 and been out to family/friends for that long. I've been on hormones since I was 18. I loved how Felix was able to explore his identity more and realize that he's somewhere on the non-binary spectrum. (And, anyone, please correct me with Felix's pronouns because I don't think they changed at the end, but I could be wrong! I do miss things when I read.) I think that I connected with that sub-plot because I totally get that questioning. It's almost been 10 years for me at the time of writing this review, but sometimes I still wonder if "transman" is the term that fits me best! I always come back to transman fitting, although I'd never rule out demi-man or non-binary since I'm still learning more about it. So, this book was good. It was damn good. The characters were so rich and I loved the different perspective of a queer, trans, and black MC. Again, I want more queer diversity and I got this so much in this book! There were so many different voices in this book besides Felix that it was lovely. Absolutely gorgeous. I think the only "con" is the revenge/outing plot. It is dark, but I feel like it got buried by the other things in the book, like Felix figuring out his identity and navigating romance at the same time. I also come at it from an adult mindset, one that is informed by my privilege of being white. I kept thinking to myself about how Felix should do x, y, and z to stop this person -- like, delete his Instagram account and create a new one, talk to the police or someone with greater authority about the harassment, block and stop responding to that transphobic asshole in his DMs, etc. But then I had to check myself because what Felix did is such a teenage thing to do. And I'm sure that his reluctance to bring in authority figures is somewhat related to racism, homophobia, and transphobia that exists in the powers that are set up to help people... so long as they're white, cis, and straight. Overall, a fantastic book. I highly recommend this! I feel so blessed and lucky that I was able to get an ARC and I can't wait until it's out in the world for everyone else to read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Connor

    [4.5 Stars] My Video Review: https://youtu.be/56qw8NPxTu8 [4.5 Stars] My Video Review: https://youtu.be/56qw8NPxTu8

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lea ♞ That_Bookdragon

    5/5 ⭐️ Thank you so much to HarperCollins for providing me with a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion! "It's kind of amazing, that there's a word that explains exactly how I feel, that takes away all of my confusion and questioning and hesitation-a word that let's me know there are others out there who feel exactly the same way as I do." Before we start this review, there are two things I need to say. First, HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO THIS WONDERFUL BOOK!!! Second, I a 5/5 ⭐️ Thank you so much to HarperCollins for providing me with a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion! "It's kind of amazing, that there's a word that explains exactly how I feel, that takes away all of my confusion and questioning and hesitation-a word that let's me know there are others out there who feel exactly the same way as I do." Before we start this review, there are two things I need to say. First, HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO THIS WONDERFUL BOOK!!! Second, I always like to put a quote at the beginning of my reviews. I feel like it adds something to it and may give you, wonderful person reading this review, a glimpse into the novel and the author's writing. Well, I must admit that it took my a very long time to choose one quote that needed to stand out from the others. Choosing only one quote that marked me above all the others was tough because this novel itself marked me. It is such an important story that needs to be read by so many people, that deserves to be read by so many people. But I will go into more details about why this book is so important later on. Actually, scratch that, there are three things I need to say right off the bat. Have you looked at this cover? Like, have you really looked at it from up close? I cannot even describe how fantastic this cover is, how magnificent it is. This cover makes me happy. Yes, that's the word. For those of you who know me, I'm a totally unashamed cover-buyer so when I saw the design, the details of this cover, I knew deep down that this book was going to be one of the most important books I was going to read this year. And it was. Alright, let's jump right into it. This book follows Felix, a young teenager who has never been in love, which is kinda ironic because his full name is Felix Love (his words, not mine). Felix craves to know what being in love feels like and he struggles to understand why it is so hard for him to find his soulmate when everybody else around him seems to find their significant other so easily. However, Felix is also scared. Scared that he will never be in a relationship because he's black, queer and transgender. And one day, the worst thing that could ever happen to him happens and Felix starts being cyberbullied by an anonymous student that sends him transphobic messages after they publicly exposed Felix before he transitioned. This part happens at the beginning of the story and let me tell you guys, I was so mad. So mad that people can be stupid enough to do this kind of thing knowing perfectly well how much it will hurt the person on the receiving end. I will never understand how cruel people have to be to do this kind of thing and I was beyond disgusted by this behavior. This book attacks transphobia and just any kind of homophobic views extremely well. The way these characters fought against discrimination made me want to cry. This story is a tale of friendship, love and support. I have seen someone say that they could relate to Felix because his voice was so raw and genuine and I must agree. Felix, as you may have guessed by now, is a fantastic character. He is flawed, but he also has so much to offer to the world. Reading about Felix felt like reading about a real person, their struggle and their daily lives. The LGBTQ+ as a whole has it hard, but this book made me open my eyes even more to what Felix, a black, queer and transgender teenager, has to face every single day. Parts of why this book is so important is the way it talks about this. The author addresses issues black, queer and transgender people have to face on a daily basis without shying away from anything. It was at times both beautiful and frustrating to read about because the world can be both a wonderful and a disgusting place. Felix's story is a tale about finding his identity, finding out who he really is and what he deserves in life. God I feel like I will never be able to express how grateful I am for such a story to exist. Felix is lucky to be surrounded by amazing people such as Ezra and Leah, and I want to give a huge shout out to both because damn, they are friendship goals and I love them with absolutely all my heart for the support they gave Felix. A huge part of this book relates to identity and finding out about your own identity. Felix's quest, if I can say so, is wonderfully talked about because the author shows that it's okay to be questioning who you are and I absolutely loved the way Kacen Callender addressed this topic. I believe many readers, me included, will feel seen in this story. I think this is where I will stop for this review because I really need you to discover by yourself this wonderful story that surprised me even more than I was expecting it to. It will make you root for Felix, it will make you sad, it will make you happy but trust me, this book is worth your time. It is a really empowering and validating novel that needs to be read by as many people as possible. I am quite ready to beg you to pick up your own copy and go on this journey of self-discovery alongside Felix. It was for me an eye-opening experience and I'm really grateful I got to experience it. It is definitely not one to be missed. My Bookstagram

  18. 5 out of 5

    menna

    this is so fucking beautiful??? im in love with everything about it

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tyler J Gray

    After Reading it May 2020! CW: Dysphoria My long book review (and some personal information as well). Can also be found on my book blog here https://wickedjr89sbookblog.blogspot.... I don't even know where to begin! And to begin i'm going to need to talk about myself a lot. I am bisexual and have known that since I was 13 (am now 31). I struggled with my gender my entire life but growing up, I didn't have the words like non-binary and I also thought being LGBTQ+ in any way was a sin, so upon reali After Reading it May 2020! CW: Dysphoria My long book review (and some personal information as well). Can also be found on my book blog here https://wickedjr89sbookblog.blogspot.... I don't even know where to begin! And to begin i'm going to need to talk about myself a lot. I am bisexual and have known that since I was 13 (am now 31). I struggled with my gender my entire life but growing up, I didn't have the words like non-binary and I also thought being LGBTQ+ in any way was a sin, so upon realizing I was bi it took me years and a lot of tears to come to terms with that and be ok with it. I knew of transgender people or I should say trans women. There was never any talk of trans men and non-binary didn't exist in my vocabulary. I'm afab (assigned female at birth) and girl, never felt right. But I had to assume I just didn't know how to "girl" properly, like it's a damn verb or something. Because of my pain and confusion I looked down on many girls, that whole "i'm not like other girls" thing. Doing it out of pain does NOT make it ok. There is nothing wrong with girls, girls are awesome, women are awesome, and come in many varieties. I'm just not one. Though i'm also physically disabled and a medical nightmare. I'd love to have top surgery one day but who knows when or if that'll ever happen. I'm not sure I can go on T because of certain medical reasons, though i'm not entirely sure i'd want to but maybe it's just too painful to look into something I may not be able to do. That's to say, while I do have really short hair (FINALLY!), I still LOOK like a cis woman. I'm not one, but I look like one to many people and there-for get treated like one. Life is complicated. I hated my boobs, and hips...since they appeared. I thought i'd grow out of it. I never did. I don't just hate the fact that they are big, I hate the fact I have them at all. Hell in school I was so confused as to why girls were jealous of my big boobs when I was so jealous of their small ones. I couldn't understand why anyone even liked having boobs at all. Now i'm like, oh that was you dysphoria. They don't feel like they belong to me. I thought of trying to find some ways to bind growing up but I didn't know how and didn't think it was possible with how big mine are (and could've damaged myself trying. If you are going to bind PLEASE look up how to do it safely!) Now I don't want to hurt myself as I already live in chronic pain from various medical issues and binding improperly can actually make any chance of top surgery go out the window. So, my boobs are here. Hopefully not forever, but if they are...well i'm still here aren't I? I didn't know the word dysphoria growing up either. Now I know and can see that I have, and always have had, dysphoria. I wanted to be a boy so badly growing up. I didn't know I could be one. Especially when full on boy didn't quite seem right all the time either. But girl or boy, those are the only options, right? That's what I thought. In my mid 20s I heard the term non-binary but was terrified to look into it. I was too old, it was too little too late and I couldn't shake up my life now. Not when I need help just to live because of my physical disabilities. I couldn't risk it. At 30 it came to a mental breakdown, and I had to realize I am non-binary. Eventually finding the term demiboy. I know who I am and I FINALLY have the words to say it. Words to explain how i've ALWAYS felt even when I didn't have the words. I don't look how i'd like, and I might never, but i've lived this long and through so much shit that I refuse to let that stop me from being who I am anymore. I've been suicidal for about 20 years. It's not easy and some days are harder than others, but damn it if i'm going to hide who I am. I can't do that anymore. That's where I draw the line. You don't have to understand, I just ask you to respect me as who I am. At least my name, Tyler, and my pronouns (They/He). So...back to the book. Felix feels like he is one marginalization too many as black queer and trans, and I can relate. I am not black but I am disabled. Obviously those are entirely different (though not mutually exclusive of course) but that is the same amount of marginalization's (i'm aslo queer and trans-even if I don't "look" like it, though spoiler alert, queer and trans don't have a look) and i've felt that "too much" a lot. I'm also fat now and am mentally ill and neurodiverse in more ways than one. I'm not trying to make it a competition i'm just explaining how I get that "too much" feeling. Felix feels so real. He makes mistakes, he isn't perfect, he struggles with his identity. We get to see him fuck up, like people do. He felt like a real person and a real teenager, which is a good thing! He's going through life and trying to figure so much out and having been so hurt by things. He thinks that he isn't worthy of love (at least in part because of parental abandonment), and even pushes people away because of it, but eventually learns that he IS worthy of love and respect. I also loved the friendships in here, and the romance. The writing, the story, all of it. And I related a lot to it. At times it did hurt because I thought "I wish I had that when I was younger" or "I wish I had that privilege" but that isn't a knock on the book. Different people have different privileges and hard ships and I know I have privilege's that others don't too. I'm SO GLAD this book exists now. This book tackles so many things and does it wonderfully. It's real, honest, raw. I don't know what else to say. I just want to shout about it and how much I loved it! -------- (Before it was even out) I found out about this book here https://lgbtqreads.com/2019/12/23/lgb... and it says "Callender is having a monster of a publication year, having released both an adult fantasy (Queen of the Conquered) and a queer Middle Grade contemporary (King and the Dragonflies) in the last six months. Now they’re capping it off with this extraordinary trans YA about a boy (usually, which is another part of the story, and one that I will happily spoil results in trad-pubbed YA having it’s first on-page demiboy) named Felix who’s hell-bent on getting revenge against a transphobe at school, only to find the person he assumed was the culprit might actually be the exact person he needed in his life." DEMIBOY. Like me. I've only recently came out about it, this year (2019). "Trad-pubbed YA having it's first on-page Demiboy." I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    I finished this book hours ago and can't stop thinking about how much I loved it. Felix Ever After is my favorite kind of YA. It's messy and complicated and human-- the characters fuck up, and don't always do the right thing, and hurt each other, and have to apologize, and learn to do better. And it's so much more realistic and relatable because of all of that. Great discussions on identity and intersections and struggling with where you belong both within and outside of the queer community, too I finished this book hours ago and can't stop thinking about how much I loved it. Felix Ever After is my favorite kind of YA. It's messy and complicated and human-- the characters fuck up, and don't always do the right thing, and hurt each other, and have to apologize, and learn to do better. And it's so much more realistic and relatable because of all of that. Great discussions on identity and intersections and struggling with where you belong both within and outside of the queer community, too. Plus, I loved the way the romance developed. I have a feeling I'll be thinking about this story for a long time, and it's one I'll be recommending to everyone!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy (libraryofamy)

    UPDATE: Changing my rating from a 4 to a 5 because this book just fucking deserves it. I want to put this book into the hands of every LGBTQ+ teenager ever. --------- “I’m not flaunting anything. I’m just existing. This is me. I can’t hide myself. I can’t disappear. And even if I could, I don’t fucking want to. I have the same right to be here. I have the same right to exist.” Content Warning: transphobia, outing, misgendering, harrassment, homophobia, abandonment God damn, all the YA contemporar UPDATE: Changing my rating from a 4 to a 5 because this book just fucking deserves it. I want to put this book into the hands of every LGBTQ+ teenager ever. --------- “I’m not flaunting anything. I’m just existing. This is me. I can’t hide myself. I can’t disappear. And even if I could, I don’t fucking want to. I have the same right to be here. I have the same right to exist.” Content Warning: transphobia, outing, misgendering, harrassment, homophobia, abandonment God damn, all the YA contemporary 2020 releases I've read so far are just fantastic. Felix Ever After is no exception. This was a beautiful story. The trans rep was powerful. The discussions about gender, sexuality, identity, privilege, and race were eloquent and insightful. I have never read a character like Felix before -- seeing a trans individual still questioning their identity is so important. The continuous message weaved throughout this book is that you don't have to have yourself figured out, you don't have to prove yourself to anybody, all you need to do is embrace who you are and what you feel and everything else will fall into place. I loved that. This book is so important and I'm so thankful that it's out into the world. Felix is such a well-written character that I know so many people will resonate with. This book is special in all the ways that count. However, I didn't love the main plot of the book. I felt like Felix's actions regarding the whole catfishing situation just made me unnecessarily annoyed with him. It seemed like that part of the story brought out a lot of negative traits in Felix: immaturity, stubbornness, meanness. That's not really who I think he is, but sometimes it made Felix an unlikable character. I've also just seen Catfish enough to know how the story will end. I wish that part of the book had been executed differently. I also wasn't 100% invested in the romance, despite the fact that the main love interest is one of the best, most supportive, most lovely characters I've read in a long while. I think my main issue was that we were in Felix's head a lot, focused on his struggles, and we didn't really get to see his personality in the same way we saw side characters'. We don't see Felix explore his emotions beyond what is directly affecting him at the moment. Because of that, though I knew Felix and the L.I.'s relationship was strong, I wasn't sure I was entirely convinced on my own. It wasn't until the end that Felix decided to explore that part of his life. It seemed one-sided sometimes and like Felix wasn't as invested as the L.I. was, while the L.I. was clearly invested throughout the entire book. Yes, Felix recognizes he was oblivious, but I don't know. I just wanted more. Okay, I definitely loved Felix Ever After, I promise you. The only reason it seems like I'm critiquing this book more than I'm praising it is because it's easier to point out specific things I didn't like rather than how much I enjoyed the thing altogether. Overall, I thought Felix Ever After was wonderful! I know this will change lives for the teenagers who need a story like this, and that makes my heart swell with happiness. Seeing a queer, trans, black boy with top surgery scars on a book cover is so beautiful. Reading about him was even better.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Adri

    CWs: Incurred homophobia and transphobia, public outing, deadnaming and misgendering (both intentional and unintentional, and without ever mentioning Felix's deadname on the page), online harassment/bullying, confronting TERF ideologies from supporting characters, underage drinking and drug use, experiences with absentee parent YOOOOOOOOO, KACEN CALLENDER REALLY DID THAT. *deep breath* Okay, wow. I really love this book and I have no idea where to start. Far and away my favorite thing about Fe CWs: Incurred homophobia and transphobia, public outing, deadnaming and misgendering (both intentional and unintentional, and without ever mentioning Felix's deadname on the page), online harassment/bullying, confronting TERF ideologies from supporting characters, underage drinking and drug use, experiences with absentee parent YOOOOOOOOO, KACEN CALLENDER REALLY DID THAT. *deep breath* Okay, wow. I really love this book and I have no idea where to start. Far and away my favorite thing about Felix Ever After is that Felix is just allowed the space to be messy and lost and confused. He judges other people, he holds himself to unrealistic standards, he doubts himself, and he expresses his emotions in unproductive ways. He bottles stuff up and gives into the urge to hurt the world the way he's been hurt his whole life, and he doesn't know what to make of any of it. This story comes from such a close and unfiltered place, and it spoke so much to the doubts and struggles I've had as a QTPOC myself. We put so much pressure on young folks to know exactly who they are and have their whole lives planned out by the age of 18, which is not only unhealthy but also unrealistic. Felix lives in those doubts. As a Black trans demiboy who's still figuring himself out, he struggles with feeling real enough. In a world where the "I've-always-known" narrative is the most commonly told story in queer communities, Felix is almost weirdly jealous of people who realized they were trans early on. People who changed their names and presentation at a young age, got on hormone blockers, began their social transition, what have you, when it took him almost his entire life to realize he was trans. And when that's your situation, you feel like everything that came before was a lie, when in reality it's an indication of how spectacularly society fails up-and-coming generations in equipping them with the words, language, vocabulary, and knowledge to explore their identities earlier in life. And there's so many fantastic parallels between Felix struggling with his art portfolio, creating a fake Instagram account to catfish his arch nemesis, and still trying to figure out where he falls on the trans spectrum. All of these things relate back to this deeply ingrained doubt that trans folks have that they have to "get it exactly right" the first time or else they will lose their validity and legitimacy in society's eyes. Felix struggles to move forward with all these things, because he's terrified of getting it wrong, and he's afraid that if he gets it wrong, he won't be afforded another chance. That's a HUGE thing for trans folx, especially in relation to changing their names or presentation, or even settling on a label. We get so boxed into one idea of ourselves, and we convince ourselves that one transition was already "enough of a burden" to the people around us that we don't allow ourselves space to evolve—which is wild, because your identity and sense of self is never stagnant; it's always evolving. Another part of this story that hit me so hard is the way Felix consciously and unconsciously leans towards things and people he knows will hurt him, because QTPOC are taught so early on to connect with their pain over their own joy. You see this in his non-relationship with his estranged mom, what's going on with the catfishing scheme, and even the way he keeps himself from working on his college portfolio because he doesn't really believe that he deserves happiness and success. We learn how to self-sabotage, factor ourselves out of the equation, and actively keep ourselves away from joy and hope, because the world tries to teach us over and over again that there is only pain, failure, and exclusion in store for us. This is not true. It's the great lie society tries to feed QTPOC youth, and Felix Ever After challenges that head on. It's a story of discovering hope, discovering self-love, discovering the power of self-determination, and allowing yourself to work through the challenges and the messiness to get to what's on the other side. It's about how you can't change everyone, and you shouldn't have to; the best you can do is lean into the things you can control and the things that bring you joy. It's about reclaiming your space, your power, your time, your sense of self, and realizing that the only person who grant you those things is you. There's an amazing queer friend group, an incredibly well-balanced love triangle and endgame romance, and a tremendous background discussion about the importance of family and community. I loved everything about it and everything about it just works. Every time I picked this book back up, it felt like listening to a friend telling me about their day and their experiences, and I never wanted it to end. I hope I've done some kind of justice to this story here, because this is a truly, truly extraordinary book that's going to affirm and bolster so many people. Hands down one of the best books of 2020 and possibly ever.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Corina

    THIS WAS SO GOOD!!!!! 4.5 stars After I stalked the author I found this on his Twitter page and thought it describes perfectly what this book is all about. 🖤full of self-love & queer pride 🤎chaotic bi MC set on revenge ❤️art summer camp in NYC 🧡rivals/enemies to lovers 💛slow burn, mutual pining 💚protective cin. roll LI 💙trans & enby MC 💜happy ending The book, and especially the audiobook was wonderfully adorable, cute, and sweet, but also thought provoking, eye opening, and educational. A real MUST READ! Fe THIS WAS SO GOOD!!!!! 4.5 stars After I stalked the author I found this on his Twitter page and thought it describes perfectly what this book is all about. 🖤full of self-love & queer pride 🤎chaotic bi MC set on revenge ❤️art summer camp in NYC 🧡rivals/enemies to lovers 💛slow burn, mutual pining 💚protective cin. roll LI 💙trans & enby MC 💜happy ending The book, and especially the audiobook was wonderfully adorable, cute, and sweet, but also thought provoking, eye opening, and educational. A real MUST READ! Felix Ever After was a fun and adorable YA romance. Beautifully written, and fantastically narrated. I was hooked within 30 min of listening. And immediately fell in love with the narration, the characters voices, and the tone and atmosphere of the book. This story is all about self discovery, and love. It has an adorable love story. Characters that are incredibly likable. And a story that delivers. Besides that, I learned about discrimination within the LGBTQ community, and gender identity. Overall, the book is so much more than just a wonderful YA story. Similar to THUG, the book does the educational part very well, as well as being captivating, and utterly enthralling. Subsequently, I can only recommend it to anyone – audiobook or regular book – it’s a double thumbs up kind of book. ___________________________________ Find more reviews and book recommendations on my blog Follow me on Bookstagram

  24. 4 out of 5

    Enne (they/them)

    i hope someday i will find the words to express what this book means to me. But for now, I will just say this is a book that was written for trans and nonbinary kids, and especially for trans and nonbinary kids of color. It made me feel safe and it made me feel seen. It tells trans kids that they deserve to be respected, they deserve to be loved, and they don't have to prove anything to anyone.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Drewthereader20

    Wow! This was my first book by the author and it was really good! I loved it so much that I found a new favorite author. RTC!(:

  26. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    absolutely stunning Blog • Twitter • Instagram • The Book Depository absolutely stunning Blog • Twitter • Instagram • The Book Depository

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lily Herman

    Hi hello, it appears that I've used up all my feels in reading this book, and I don't know if I'll ever recover??? What's so incredible about Kacen Callender's Felix Ever After is that it's not just a beautiful and heartbreaking story about Felix Love, a Black trans teenager dealing with transphobic abuse from an anonymous classmate. It's also a universal tale of a young person trying to find himself, just like every other adolescent is attempting to do, regardless of their identity. It's about w Hi hello, it appears that I've used up all my feels in reading this book, and I don't know if I'll ever recover??? What's so incredible about Kacen Callender's Felix Ever After is that it's not just a beautiful and heartbreaking story about Felix Love, a Black trans teenager dealing with transphobic abuse from an anonymous classmate. It's also a universal tale of a young person trying to find himself, just like every other adolescent is attempting to do, regardless of their identity. It's about wanting to know what love is when you've never experienced it before. And it's about taking risks, hoping they work out, steeling yourself when they don't, and learning how to fight another day. Kacen Callender has created a force of a novel, one that I legitimately couldn't put down until I finished it. I'm excited to see what else Callender has in store, and I find myself still rooting for Felix, even though I finished his story a day ago.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Monte Price

    I'm going to hold off publishing this review until after the coverwhores live show. But I definitely have thoughts, lots of conflicting emotions. Lots of thinking about how marginalized authors should get to play with certain tropes and how my feelings for those tropes might be clouding the general picture.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Acqua

    There's nothing as powerful as reading books involving Pride in June. Felix Ever After is a story about love. It's a love story just as much as it is one about how love can be difficult to accept, especially when you're a Black trans person and so much of the world seems to want to tear you down. Felix's arc in regard to recognizing and accepting love instead of chasing the approval of people who hate him was wonderful to read. Felix Ever After is also about questioning. There isn't much questioni There's nothing as powerful as reading books involving Pride in June. Felix Ever After is a story about love. It's a love story just as much as it is one about how love can be difficult to accept, especially when you're a Black trans person and so much of the world seems to want to tear you down. Felix's arc in regard to recognizing and accepting love instead of chasing the approval of people who hate him was wonderful to read. Felix Ever After is also about questioning. There isn't much questioning representation out there that isn't specifically about a character first discovering they're queer, but like coming out, questioning is usually a process. I loved how both the internet and the people at the LGBT discussion group were important to Felix's journey - who at the beginning of the book identifies as a trans boy (and has already transitioned) and then discovers that demiboy fits him better. By the way, it's great to read an all-queer friend group in which various people have different opinions on labels, parades and LGBT spaces (many love them! Many find them overwhelming, in different ways.) Like many other queer YA books, this has a plotline involving outing, and yet it's handled in a way I hadn't seen before, one that felt completely different. From the beginning, the emotional impact of it is never brushed off. Other characters, the ones portrayed as supportive, don't make it about themselves. And, most importantly, the question hanging in the air isn't whether people will accept Felix, this story grapples with outsider approval in a completely different way. What matters to this book is that the main character gets to reclaim what was taken from him - in this case, with his art (Felix is a painter). It doesn't just feel different, it is different, which is why ownvoices reinterpretations of "tired tropes" are vital. While we're on this topic: this book has a love triangle, as the main character is in love with and loved by two boys. One of the two relationships works out, the other doesn't; I still really appreciated how this book talked about loving multiple people at the same time, true love doesn't need to be one. Let's get to the... not exactly complaints, let's say complicated points. I'm in awe of how much this book is doing, and not only in the sense of representation - so many things are discussed: the many forms privilege can take & their consequences, marginalized people's relationship with outsider approval, queer intra-community dynamics, unsupportive parents, labels and their limits, the role of morality in art (and many others I would tell you about if not for the fact that I can't highlight an audiobook). And here's the thing: this is very unsubtle and sometimes its dialogue and introspection sound like a repurposed twitter thread, disclaimers included. However, I don't think that lack of subtlety is necessarily a bad thing when it comes to difficult topics in YA, and we've seen that being subtler and allowing teens to be messier on-page can have consequences, especially for queer authors of color, so let's move on. Overall, I loved this and think this is how quality YA contemporary looks like. There's a mystery aspect that isn't obvious and yet isn't exactly the center of the story, there are not one but two romance dynamics to explore (one friends to lovers, one enemies to lovers), supportive friendships and friendships that have to end, all inside an queer friend group (glad this book knows that's realistic)... and I'm just realizing now that this is shorter than 400 pages. How.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alexx

    Felix Ever After is a story that needs to be heard, a story that needs to be amplified. It’s honest and raw, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s absolutely beautiful. tw: bullying/harassment, misgendering, deadnaming, forced outing, transphobia, racism ~ This book is just so good from start to finish. The writing style is great and there’s something poetic and mellow about it that provokes emotion and thoughts out of the reader. I loved the characters, especially Felix! He's so precious and talented and pa Felix Ever After is a story that needs to be heard, a story that needs to be amplified. It’s honest and raw, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s absolutely beautiful. tw: bullying/harassment, misgendering, deadnaming, forced outing, transphobia, racism ~ This book is just so good from start to finish. The writing style is great and there’s something poetic and mellow about it that provokes emotion and thoughts out of the reader. I loved the characters, especially Felix! He's so precious and talented and passionate, but he's insecure and confused about a lot of things. And though we seem him make mistakes, we also see him go through everything and learn and grow. I liked Ezra and his friendship with Felix. And in a weird way, I liked Declan, too. However, Leah has got to be my favorite. She is the absolute best and I’m so glad Felix has a friend like her. The plot is relatively simple, and I almost thought it was going to be predictable. However, I have to applaud the author as they did a really good job telling the story. There were little details and plot twists that really managed to get through me (and the fact that I never saw them coming is just so great!). As a whole, it was also a journey of self-discovery, of self-love, and learning to realize and accept that you deserve something good as well. I loved that. I also loved how family is a big part of the story, and that it talked about exploring and questioning one’s gender identity and/or sexuality (so awesome and wholesome!). I also particularly loved how Felix and Leah cuts off a few toxic “friends” out of their lives, because this is how it should be. Callender also said in the Author’s Note that this book is very personal to them. And I can see it, I can feel it all throughout the book. It’s so heartfelt and deeply moving (and if I cried in some parts of the book, no one needs to know). This is the story of many Black trans and queer youth out there, and we need to listen to them and support them, rather than bring them down and make them think they’re not a real person. Overall, Felix Ever After is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read. Now I’m going to need someone to turn it into a movie (please) because this is a masterpiece. (This review was first published on Enthralled Bookworm.)

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