Title: Felix Ever After
Author: Kacen Callender
Release date: May 5, 2020
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: young adult, contemporary, LGBTQ+
My Rating: ★★★★★
This review has no spoilers.
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.
[ This synopsis was taken directly from Goodreads. ]
I received an ARC copy at the North Texas Teen Book Festival. All of the thoughts in this review are my own.
I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like Felix Ever After since it’s a contemporary novel, but I’m super glad I picked it up. This book touches up on a lot of things, including but not limited to gender identity, sexual orientation, and relationships (familial, friends, romantic partners, and with oneself).
At the time I’m writing this review, I am finishing up my human sexuality class, and one of our units was on gender identity and sexual orientation. It was interesting to see what Felix was going through and understand the reasons behind why he could feel that way. It was also disheartening to see all the judgement his peers gave him, especially since the things they said to Felix and about transgender people are hurtful myths. It’s not a stretch in the imagination that many members of the LGBTQ+ community face the same kinds of judgements in their everyday lives.
It’s an emotional roller coaster, this book. There’s a scene towards the end of the story where Felix has a conversation with his dad, and I cried a little when I read it. The transphobia directed towards Felix was disheartening, but seeing his friends support him gave me a little hope.
One thing I love about this story is that no one is perfect. The distinction between protagonist and antagonist is not black and white. Many of Felix’s peers have their good and bad moments, including Felix himself. He makes a lot of mistakes and says things he probably shouldn’t say just like everyone else. It makes the book more real, in my mind, when I see characters act human.
I also liked how the author brought the story into a full circle. It was satisfying to see events from the beginning make an appearance in the conclusion as well. On top of all that goodness, it’s amazing to see underrepresented groups featured in a young adult novel. Out of all the books I’ve read over the years, I can only think of one series with a transgender character, and she was a minor character at that. My lack of knowledge of books with transgender characters might be because of my genre preferences, but I also believe that there just isn’t a lot of books in the reading market with transgender characters. I’m glad that now there’s something in YA where people who are transgender have a protagonist they can relate to.
Overall, this was a fantastic book that I hope everyone will check out when it’s released. You don’t have to like contemporary books to enjoy Felix Ever After. Trust me. It is well worth your time. I read the last 2/3rds of it in one sitting because it was that good. It’s hard to put down, and you can’t help but laugh, cry, yell, and feel everything in between.
Felix Love is capable of being loved, aight? I don’t care what anyone else says.
Ezra is probably the greatest friend anyone could ask for.
Leah is pretty cool, I guess.
Declan is a butt hole.
Marisol is an even bigger butt hole, just saying.
I don’t have a graphic for it, but I give Felix Ever After 5 / 5 stars! It is worth a read, and I hope this review has convinced you that you need this book in your life because I’m certainly glad I have it in mine.
Until next time….