Tuesday 25 May 2021

REVIEW: Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Genre:  Contemporary
Release Date: May 18th 2021
TW: Transphobia, Drug Use
Buy the Book: Book Depository

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 marginalisation 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 recognising the love you deserve. 

We join Felix at the summer art classes he’s taking in preparation to apply for the college of his dreams. But one morning he discovers that someone has printed out old pictures from his private Instagram account and hung them up around the school for everyone to see, revealing his deadname to his classmates.

With his best friend Ezra, Felix becomes determined to discover who was behind the gallery, all whilst trying to figure out the confusion he’s been feeling over his identity, and the changing feelings he’s having towards certain people in his life.

Felix is a character who people will be able to see themselves in, especially people who are struggling with similar identity issues. Each person has their own unique journey when it comes to discovering who they are, but there are feelings and experiences that many people will be able to relate to. He’s a character who is far from perfect, but his mistakes are completely normal and only make him more endearing.

Whilst I adore the bond between Felix and Ezra, I’m glad that Felix was able to open up to more people over the course of the story, rather than staying within the bubble of safety that Ezra provided. His interactions with others, like Declan and Leah, were exciting to read. I was also grateful for the relationship between Felix and his father. Things aren’t perfect, but both of them are trying.

I will say there’s a bit of a love triangle in this book. We all know I’m not a huge fan of The Triangle™️, but I think it worked in this case. I was torn on who to root for though, which was probably down to my own preference of certain tropes.

  • A celebration of identity. This book is all about discovering and celebrating who you are. There are a lot of labels out there. Some people will find one that calls out to them, that feels right. Some people might never find one that seems to fit, and that’s okay.     
  • Realistic romance. Felix has never been in a relationship before and finds himself confused over his feelings. The reality is that romance is complicated, especially between people who have already established specific relationships with each other.
  • Important conversations. This story does a perfect job of inserting conversations we need to be having. We need to be calling out the abuse that trans people have to deal with on a regular basis.

Felix Ever After warmed my heart as much as it broke it. We absolutely need more Own Voices stories like this in YA, more characters for people to see themselves represented in. It reminds readers that it’s okay to be confused and question identity, even after we think we’ve got it all figured out.  

Royal Rating:

1 comment:

  1. I’ve never seen a bad review of this book. It sounds amazing! I’m impatiently waiting for cheap used copies to start showing up online so I can read it. The library waitlist is too long!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!


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