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Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
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Felix Ever After (original 2020; edition 2020)

by Kacen Callender (Author)

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1906105,581 (4.26)2
Member:TerraLaurel
Title:Felix Ever After
Authors:Kacen Callender (Author)
Info:Balzer Bray (2020), 368 pages
Collections:Your library
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Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (2020)

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Forgot how I heard of this book exactly, but it's gotten a lot of press and I thought it would be a good read for LGBTQ+ History Month. Felix is a trans man of color who is also queer. He's in school, trying to navigate his way through dealing with a family who doesn't accept him (a mom who he hasn't spoken to and a dad who, while has done things like help pay for Felix's transition has also used Felix's deadname) to romance to harassment, transphobia and racism.

A fellow student posts Felix's pictures from before his transition while also using his deadname, leading Felix to hatch a plan to "catfish" the person in order to find out who they are, why they did it and to get revenge. Along the way, Felix ends up in a somewhat complicated love triangle and deals with friends drama, too.

I really wanted to like this book. Felix's journey was painful and emotional and probably not unlike journeys happening all around us. But he finds happiness in the end (without getting too spoiler-y) and that was nice. I also thought Felix's actual "voice" was strong as a character, even though, as many point out, Felix himself isn't very likeable.

There's a lot of criticism of this book that has support. The book seemed to be marketed as a happier story and I was not prepared for the transphobia, racism, etc. that came his way. Which is not to say it doesn't happen, but several other reviewers pointed out they wanted a story without all of that and it's not hard to understand why.

Felix isn't likeable. The catfishing at first seemed understandable but I got uncomfortable with how it led to the love triangle (from both the catfishing angle and how it led me to believe this was going to go in a direction I wasn't happy with). And while I thought Felix had been given a great "voice" I can understand why people thought he was too self-centered, too selfish, etc.

I also agree the ending seemed abrupt and perhaps, upon reflection, this was a book that tried to cram in too many things and didn't quite accomplish what it might have hoped for. It was still a good read in its own way, though, and I'll definitely consider reading other works by the author, too. So overall I'd say 2.5 is really my rating.

Library borrow for me and that was best. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Oct 2, 2020 |
Talented artist Felix wants a lot of things - a loving relationship, a scholarship to Brown, his father to acknowledge him, and grandequeen69 to stop trolling him. As a Black, transgender, queer teen he struggles to fit in. But what if the person who needs to accept him most of all is himself? Felix Ever After is a raw, affecting novel about the power of being open and authentic. ( )
  SGKowalski | Aug 25, 2020 |
"Self portraits are empowering. They force you to see yourself in a way that's different than just looking in a mirror, or snapping a picture on your phone. Painting a self portrait makes you recognize and accept yourself, both on the outside and within- your beauty, your intricacies, even your flaws. It isn't easy, by any means. But, anything that reveals you- the real you- isn't easy."

This quote perfectly captures Felix's journey throughout this book. From the opening pages Felix is painting us pictures of who he is, who he wants to be and who the world says he is throughout the story. I loved that I got to view the world through Felix's eyes & gained a new perspective about what it means to just be.

What stuck out to me the most after reading this book is the importance of representation and validation. This book is ripe with representation: biracial, transgender, non-binary, privileged, poor, feminist, lesbian, gay, queer and religious. The teenage years are usually the most confusing but most pivotal for shaping & forming identity. Feeling validation is also crucial because when you feel seen, it is easier to gain self acceptance, self confidence and self love. Representation many times leads to validation. It was refreshing to see Felix's character develop self love through his own inner dialogue. Although he was questioning and doubting himself, he held on to the idea that he deserved to exist and he never gave up trying to become who he defined as "happy".

Felix Ever After is so important because it reminds people that they are not alone in this world. There are others just like them who may going through the same things. It reminds us of the importance of being open and being vulnerable in order to grow into our true selves. It also reminds us that no one can define who we are or who we are meant to be. Only through taking the journey do we reach our full potential. People need to be able to see themselves not only in others but in the things all around us. Every life is valid, is worthy of love and is deserving to exist. It is never ok to dehumanize an individual because of your own fear or ignorance. This book needs to be everywhere.

I loved the writing style of this story. I felt like I was with Felix rather than looking at Felix through an exterior lens. There was a great balance between the romance and the tension. The characters were unique and well developed. I've worked with the trans and LGBTQIA+ community and live in NY so the description of certain places was very familiar. I think it was very smart writing to include safe places and resources for trans youth within the story. I simply just love Felix and will continue to recommend this one over and over again. This bookdragon rates it 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥. ( )
  Booklover217 | Aug 15, 2020 |
4.5 stars

this book has utterly and completely destroyed me emotionally. i'm a mess. I have no words. I'm broken. ( )
  irisssssssss | Jun 17, 2020 |
This book has left a lasting impression on me. I love YA books, and I think that the market is expanding to include a lot of books with diverse characters written by own-voices authors. This book is wonderful, because while it focuses on one individual who is exploring their own gender identity ... it contains messages that can speak to so many people.

When the book opens, the reader meets Felix who is black, queer and transgender. He has his best friend, Ezra and he has art school, and he has hundreds of emails in his draft folder that are written to the Mom who left when he was young.

Everything in this book is about finding out who you are. Callender has done a wonderful job of writing a character that will appeal to all kinds of people. That doesn't at ALL negate the fact that this character... Felix is trans... and a demiboy. I have never read a book before in which a character claimed the label of demiboy and it was such a great feeling! I'm so glad that young adult fiction has reached a place at which we are able to read about such a diverse group of people! There are real issues in this book, and it's important that this book will be out in the world for young people to read. I wish I'd been able to read something like this when I was a teenager.

Felix is SUCH a great character! He just wants to be loved and in love... and don't we all when it comes down to it? He's a sweetheart, but sometimes he says and does things that are hurtful because he's human and he's a bit lost throughout much of this novel. He's complex and I loved being lost in his thoughts for a while. I feel as though I came away with a better understanding of what it must be like to try and discover your own gender identity. The hurt and pain that Felix feels when he is deadnamed... and faces a gallery of old images of him... is so visceral I teared up. I couldn't help but understand it because of how well it was written. The thing is... and this is what I really loved... in no way did I feel sorry for Felix... ever. I felt empathy for Felix and I felt terrible about some of the things that happened to him, but he was such a great character... strong and resilient.

Ezra was a fantastic character too. As Felix's best friend, he was loving and gentle, kind and empathetic. I hope that every person out there who might be struggling with something in their life will find a friend like Ezra! The dynamic between the two main characters was beautiful. I don't want to give too much away... but again, Callender wove a tale around two characters that drew me in.

The slightly rocky relationship that Felix had with his father was lovely to read. It wasn't perfect - relationships aren't - but Callender did a great job of writing the father in a way that I could sympathize with him and yet still feel the hurt that Felix felt. It's not often that an author conveys emotion so well.

Everyone should read this book. I am a cisgender, white woman... so I can't speak to the authenticity of this book. But you know who can? Kacen Callender can. This is a book written by an "own voices" author... and if you read it, you'll certainly understand why books like this, and authors like Callender are important.

Thank you, Kacen Callender, for a book that I could learn from, love, and see a bit of myself in. ( )
  KinzieThings | Jun 16, 2020 |
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