Felix Ever After is the coming-of-age story of Felix, black, transgender art student living in New York, and his time at an art summer program at St Catherine’s, one of the most prestigious private art schools in the city.
Felix Love is a teenager and, like most teens, is questioning his place in the world, his plans for the future and whether he will ever find love. It is summer and the city of New York is preparing for Pride. Felix aspires of going to Brown university to study illustration and attends St Catherine’s to work on his portfolio for the application. One day, Felix walks into St Catherine’s to find that someone has anonymously created a photographic display in the lobby of the school that exhibits pictures of him before his transition – outing and deadnaming him in front of the whole school. The story will follow Felix, his friends and his antagonists, and the quest to find who committed the crime. The journey will not only be an investigation on the transphobic harassment that Felix received, but also a reflection on his relationship with his absent mum and his overprotective dad, his antagonistic coursemate Declan, his first crush Marisol, the LGBTQ+ community of the city and his forever best friend Ezra.
This is a book, written by a queer authour, is a great story that does the important job of usualising the identity of a queer character: Felix is transgender, and the story does not pigeonhole him into that lable. Kacen Callender shines an educational light on the fact that everyone and anyone can and has the right to question their identity at any point in their lives. Throughout the story, Felix questions his identity and the validity of the labels that have been attached to him. The authour depicts the challenges of being a queer, transgender, black, working class young person who is trying to access a career that has very rarely welcomed anyone with any of those qualities.
Felix Love is a brave and inspirational character; many will identify with him and many will see their identity, battles and wins reflected in and validated by his story. Moreover, Felix’s story will also be educational to those who are not very familiar with transgender identities. The beauty of this book is that it simply depicts the complexity of the life of a teenager in New York.
Felix Ever After would be a brilliant novel for an LGBTQ+ book club. It would be great to read in class on the run up to Pride, to discuss all the reasons why Pride is a needed and essential celebration of LGBTQ+ lives and stories.
Stonewall Honour Book
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