Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender – REVIEW
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 marginalisation 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 recognising the love you deserve.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Faber.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“It’s easier to accept hurt and pain, sometimes, than love and acceptance.”
I read Felix Ever After in one sitting as it was such an engaging story. Felix is seventeen years old with a passion for art. He’s also Black, queer and transgender, and worries this is one marginalisation too many. The story is Felix’s journey as he learns to love and accept himself, to give himself validation rather than seeking it from others. It’s an empowering tale and one that I think will resonate with many readers.
“I’m not flaunting anything. I’m just existing. This is me. I can’t hide myself. I can’t disappear. And even if I could, I don’t fucking want to. I have the same right to be here. I have the same right to exist.”
A lot of the action takes place at the private art school Felix attends (thanks to his dad working multiple jobs) alongside his best friend Ezra. Most of the other students are queer or openly accepting but one day an anonymous person displays photos of Felix pre-transition alongside his deadname. Felix then begins receiving transphobic messages, full of hateful sentiments. It’s sickening to read and I can only imagine how violating it must be for Felix.
“I want to be in love. I’ve never, you know—felt the kind of passion great artists talk about. I want that. I want to feel that level of intensity.”
Felix also questions the acceptance of his father who, despite paying for his hormones and top surgery, refuses to use his name and sometimes even uses his deadname. I thought their relationship was authentically portrayed and I was pleased with its resolution. But it’s the friendship with Ezra that shines through the story. Ezra is an amazing person and such a supportive friend. I don’t want to spoil anything that happens but it’s epic and a rollercoaster of emotions.
“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.”
Felix Ever After deserves a place in every school library as it might just save someone’s life. I hope my review encourages you to pick up this book but it’s the opinion of #ownvoices reviewers that really matters so please go check those out.