Confession: I have a hard time reading transgender fiction. It’s not because I’m a bigot and or that I don’t think trans authors don’t have a right to the table. I have loudly and enthusiastically advocated for trans authors. I will fight anyone who is a transphobe. I just have a hard time reading trans fiction, because I’m still dealing with my acceptance of being non-binary. I have a hard time reading things that are a little too close to home. See my issues with WLW (F/F) Romance.
For me, I need a certain amount of distance from my real life to be comfortable.
However, fate is a funny thing and when the club I founded ‘The Rainbow Riot Book Club’ voted for ‘Felix Ever After’ by Kacen Callender the club’s first books of the month. I knew this was the time to push myself out of my comfort zone. Reflecting on it, this book showed me I’m capable of pushing past my initial discomfort (hey dysphoria) to read this book. “Felix Ever After’ for me was like looking in a mirror about my recent journey to discovering my gender as an agender non-binary person.
‘Felix Ever After for me is a beautiful, emotional, and heartfelt journey. I’m so glad that I read and thanks to this book I plan on reading more trans romance and young adult books.
What I loved about this book.
First, you guys know that I am a huge lover of a diverse cast of characters. The best way to win me over right off the bat is to give me diverse characters. They are so many races represented: Felix is black, Ezra is Indian, Marisol is Latinx. I honestly think there are only two or three white characters and the BIPOC in Felix Ever After outnumbers the white people. One of my pet peeves in the media is a setting that in real life has tons of different races and ethnicities that are erased in favor of all-white cast. ‘Sex in the City’ is the most famous example of this. Both are set in New York City, but the differences in how this setting and the characters are represented are very different.
With Felix Ever After, Kacen has an ability to make New York City come alive. It was almost like I was there alongside Felix and Ezra. And again, the cast reflected the diversity of the city itself.
Another thing, that I really loved, that it is clear from the very beginning that as much as we love Felix, he was an unreliable narrator. We can clearly see his biases and blind spots, even though Felix was oblivious to it. I was happy that Felix could be a mess. I am so used to the traditional romance book that I forget that a protagonist.
Felix lashed out and was downright mean at times. Kacen allowed Felix to be a 17-year-old boy who was going through some stuff. I think for adults reading YA; we seem to forget that these are kids. I know damn well I was just a tad less messy than Felix at that age. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but now looking back I realize this was important, that it allowed me to bump my head. It made me a stronger person in the end.
I also really love that as Felix goes through this journey of his own self-discovery and the trauma of being outed that he gets consequences for his actions. He almost loses his best friend, he loses another love interest, he constantly gets called out by the narrative for his shitty actions. Felix ends up realizing that he is being a shitty person and goes forward to atone for it, even though he may never get complete forgiveness for it. I honestly that is an important lesson to tell kids is that you can apologize or atone even if you never ever get forgiveness.
I think the biggest emotional part for me is when Felix realizes that he is a demi-boy and that feeling of euphoria. It’s the same feeling I felt the day I realized that I was agender. I almost cried then.
“Everyone else has had years to figure themselves out already. They probably don’t question anything about themselves anymore. No annoying niggling thoughts about their identity. How did they know, finally, if they were a gay man, or a trans woman? How did they figure out their answers?”
” “It’s like every identity I have . . . the more different I am from everyone else . . . the less interested people are. The less . . . lovable I feel, I guess. The love interests in books, or in movies or TV shows, are always white, cis, straight, blond hair, blue eyes. Chris Evans, Jennifer Lawrence. It becomes a little hard, I guess, to convince myself I deserve the kind of love you see on movie screens.”
” “Gay cis men, especially white men—it’s like they’re one identity away from being what they’d consider normal, so they hold that identity over us, enjoy their privilege and power in their little elitist group, try to push the rest of us away.” “\
” Being trans brings me love. It brings me happiness. It gives me power.”
Where Can I Buy It
You can buy Felix Ever After on Amazon, Barnes, and Noble, and support Indie bookstores buying this book on Indiebound. Check out more books from Kacen by going to their website or follow them on Twitter or Instagram. UPDATE: Amazon studios are adapting ‘Felix Ever After’ into a tv show. Yes, that noise you are hearing is my squeeing all the way from Texas.