Title: Felix Ever After
Author: Kacen Callender
Publisher: HarperCollins (Balzer + Bray)
Pub Date: 05/05/20
Genre: YA Contemporary
From Stonewall and Lambda Award-winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.
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.
“It’s almost like I was looking for the pain and the hurt, because it was easier to live with the idea that, even though I want love, I’m not the kind of person who deserves to be loved.”Felix Love
Y’all this book hit too close to home. Even that quote alone felt like Felix was living rent free in my head. The plot itself was compelling, and I found the glimpse of NYC and the art program to be really interesting. The characters were definitely the highlight of the book though, and the plot really helped you get a better understanding of all the characters, even the minor ones.
I loved Ezra so much. My favorite character hands down. And the way he checked Felix out of love while still acknowledging his own privilege but letting Felix know that his feelings were still valid and don’t mean that he can’t also struggle. It’s so important to understand privilege but to also know that it doesn’t negate hardship from still happening in your life. So, I loved that they had the type of relationship where they could talk to each other even if it wasn’t always positive. There were so many enablers in this story though, and Marisol was a whole villain so this is only mention she’s gonna get from me.
I wanted so badly for Felix to realize he didn’t need to explain his humanity to anyone or to make them believe that he was deserving of love and acceptance. So, I enjoyed seeing his character arc and his artistic journey throughout the book as his confidence in his art was intertwined with his confidence in himself. Felix isn’t a perfect main character, but I don’t want a book that has one. He’s realistic and lovable and that was more than enough for me.
This is one of those books where you love it so much you aren’t really sure what to say about it besides read it. I could go on and on about Felix’s realization that he shouldn’t settle and how at one point he was willing to accept so little because he didn’t realize he was worthy of more. Or I could talk about how I saw some of myself in many of the characters. This book really showed the importance of support systems and surrounding yourself with people who validate your existence and want the best for you. Not people who struggle to accept you for you or consistently spew microaggressions.
“Some people say we shouldn’t need labels. That we’re trying to box ourselves in too much. But I don’t know. It feels good to me, to know that I’m not alone. That someone else has felt the same way I’ve felt, experienced the same things I’ve experienced. It’s validating.”Felix Love
Born and raised in St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, Kacen Callender is the award-winning author of the middle-grade novels Hurricane Child and King and the Dragonflies, the young-adult novels This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story and Felix Ever After, and the adult novel Queen of the Conquered. Find them at their website, Twitter, or Instagram.
Where to Buy
Thanks so much for reading my review of Felix Ever After and I hope you check it out yourself!