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.
A book with a trans main character who wants to fall in love. That’s basically all I needed to know to be sold. Then the cover was released. A POC, with top surgery scars so visible, and it’s so bright and so full of life, it’s just really something to behold. Trigger warnings: transphobia, racism, misgendering,
I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love with a character as fast as I fell in love with Felix. I usually have to get to know a character to really feel a deep connection with them, even if they’re awesome. But Felix seems to pop into life, fully formed, and such a full character from the first page. I loved loving a character so much so fast and then falling even more in love as I got to know him.
Since Felix was so bright from the start, it was kind of hard for me to picture the side characters. They were sort of just there for awhile. Even when I got to know them and even really like them, I had a hard time picturing them. Ezra and Declan were easy to picture for me, though I would classify them as main characters even though they don’t have POVs. Despite this, I really did enjoy all the characters! Well, the ones that didn’t turn out to be completely horrible and make me want to punch them in the face. Ezra was a bit of a hot mess, but was completely lovable. Declan was complicated and guarded, though I think he has a heart of gold. Leah was so sweet, but was willing to fight anybody who was a jerk.
Emotions were so, so messy in this book. So, so complicated. Usually, this is such a great thing for me! I think it’s realistic and I love seeing characters try to move through life and everything that comes along with it. Though, I feel like this messiness verged on the line of confusing. I haven’t quite decided yet. I really loved all the confusing, sometimes messed up emotions Felix felt, all the things he was trying to sort through. His feelings about gender, his feelings about love, how he struggled with self love and worth. He makes mistakes, all the characters do, but that’s life. There’s apologies, sometimes they’re accepted and sometimes they’re not, but they have room to learn and grow. On the other hand, sometimes it felt like it was just one thing after another. It felt like it was one hot mess after another sometimes and not in a real life way, but a way that was just confusing.
The romance also followed the same lines as the emotional development. There’s a chance for best friends-to-lovers and a chance for enemies-to-lovers. I usually pick out the endgame couple pretty early on and I usually like the endgame couple the most. But with this one, I was so back and forth. I liked both of them and I thought both of them could work out. It’s like I was feeling what Felix was feeling, like I was going through it with him. Everything was so muddled and I couldn’t see what was going to happen next. Which I think I liked! I think I liked the back and forth and I think I liked the not knowing what was going to happen. I think it allowed me to understand Felix better and to really get a sense what he was going through. It made everything seem more real.
Felix seriously questions his identity throughout the book. While his feelings aren’t exactly the same as mine, they fall in the same realm. I just feel so grateful to be reading multiple books with trans main characters. They hold a special place in my heart.
This book felt a lot more NA than I thought it was going to. For a bit, I thought it would work better if it was an Adult book, but I don’t think it’s quite there. But, I feel like it doesn’t firmly fit into the YA category either. While the characters are 17, they seem older and the writing seems more mature. NA seriously needs to become a serious category.
Felix and his friends are artists and I wasn’t expecting to love that aspect as much as I did. I feel like it added more depth to the book. It added color and I kind of want to scream about the cover even more now haha (but that’s all I’m saying because kind of spoilers?).
I feel like when I’m finally able to hold this book in my hands, it’s going to burn. Not in a bad painful way, but in a way where this book is so full of life and so full of fire. That’s the best way I can think of to describe it. It blazes.
Thank you for reading!