I read 153 books this year in a 50/50 split between audiobooks and other formats. Being unemployed helped that along, didn’t do much for me in terms of my mental health. But there were so many good reads consumed and published this year, I had to make two lists. Enjoy!
Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult LGBT+ Contemporary
Year Release: May 2020
Source: Edelweiss eARC
Read an ARC granted through Edelweiss
This book captures so many energies and experiences into one beautiful narrative about a Black queer trans teen’s first love, which includes a mystery of who would go so far as to publish Felix’s dead name and pictures of him pre-transition.
What really stuck out to me is just how much care had been taken to depict a group of queer kids of various identities and sexualities, especially those who are still questioning. Identity is not a static thing, and the way Felix has the space to explore his on page felt authentic and brutally honest. What came as a welcome surprse was the way the book also addressed bigotry and prejudices within the LGBT+ Community, especially around Pride when the novel takes place. While there is a clear villain, there were opportunities for characters to make mistakes, take ownership, and work together to move forward. That space for forgiveness made my heart swell, even as I rode with Felix from the lowest lows to the highest highs.
In addition, Callender beautifully captures the atmosphere and energy of a summer in New York City, in boroughs other than Manhattan. The little details sprinkled throughout felt really immersive, from the “show time” guys to the descriptions of outfits that hipsters wear in the city.
Felix Ever After tugs at the heartstrings in all the best ways, a perfect read for summer and for any queer person who wants to feel reassured of their beauty and sense of belonging just as they are.
Shelter-in-place continues through May in Illinois. Halfway through this month, I’m going to slowly start making a plan regarding employment and read these fine reads in the mean time. Things with a * are from last month’s TBR.
The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
Bent Heavens by Daniel Kraus*
The Never-Tilting World by Rin Chupeco*
Out of Body by Jeffrey Ford (ARC)
Scapegracers by H.A. Clarke (ARC)*
The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant (ARC)
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (ARC)
Flotsam (Peridot Shift #1) by R.J. Theodore*
The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer (ARC)*
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (ARC)*
The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy (ARC)
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (ARC)
The Unconquered City by K.A. Doore (ARC)
Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin*
Blood Countess by Lana Popovic
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Highfire by Eoin Colfer
Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
My own novel is still with alpha readers, so I’m returning the favor and also doing some beta reading this month.