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I’m making an effort to read more books written by and/or about black and LGBT+ individuals, and what better place to start than Felix Ever After? Both main character Felix and author Kacen Callender tick both boxes. This is a YA Contemporary fiction about a black, trans, bi boy named Felix and his very eventful last high school summer. It deals with transphobia, deadnaming, online bullying, teen love, LGBT+ relationships, race and biracial issues, learning to love and to accept love, and the existential angst of teens figuring out what they’re going to do with their lives after high school.
I rated this book five stars!
Here’s my BookTube video talking about this book, or you can read on for a copy of the review I left on Goodreads.
I finally got to this one on my reading pile this weekend, and oh my goodness, I couldn’t put it down! This is a charming, raw, beautiful story about a trans individual named Felix and his rather eventful summer arts program leading into his senior year of high school. About halfway through I realized I was getting a bit of Perks of Being a Wallflower vibes, but updated to this decade and not so white. I swear, it’s not just because of the gay best friend named Ezra, either! (If you’re confused because Wallflower’s gay friend is Patrick, the actor in the film adaptation is an Ezra.)
Felix has a lot of learning, growing, and figuring out to do this summer. He’s trying to get a good portfolio ready for his application to art school at Brown, but starting is intimidating him, and he hasn’t been inspired by a theme yet. (I get that!) He’s struggling with his father-son relationship, and hasn’t resolved his feelings about his mother walking out on their little family. He’s struggling with his gender identity. He’s struggling with finding and accepting love. And right at the beginning of it all, someone outs him as trans in a public way, complete with his deadname.
This book presents and unpacks a lot, and I think it will help a lot of people both young and old who are struggling with some of these issues themselves and don’t know where to start. I think it could also be helpful to the parents, siblings, family, and friends of people struggling with these issues. As a mother, I will absolutely be giving this book to my daughter when she’s reading at this level.
I appreciate the fact that even though Felix is deadnamed several times in this book, we the readers never find out what that name is. It’s none of our business! Every other book I’ve read or show I’ve watched that deals with deadnaming reveal the name, which I feel gives the wrong impression to non-trans individuals that this is information they’re entitled to.
All in all, an excellent novel, will read again!