Title: Felix Ever After
Author: Kacen Callender
Published: July 2021
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Readership: Young Adult
Content warnings: transphobia, dead naming, cat fishing, cyber-bullying, public outing, misgendering, drug use, parental abandonment
I received a copy of Felix Ever After from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
From 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.
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.
Felix Ever After is a powerful story about the complexities of being a teen, made even more challenging by the intersectionality of being transgender, queer and Black. Its most powerful storytelling comes through Felix dealing being publicly outed and dead named in his school, and in working through his relationship with his father who struggles with his new name and gender constantly. It’s all messy and complicated in the way young adulthood is and that comes through in the writing.
Felix is desperate to fall in love and all the roadblocks that stand in his way lead him to making some decisions that have huge ramifications for him. While I appreciated the complex relationships between Felix, his best friend, his enemies, his father and the friends he has at school, at times things got a little out of hand, especially when it came to the romantic relationships Felix cultivates. It’s constantly jumping around which could be hard to follow at times.
This is an important book, and it celebrates all of the identities Felix has and I loved every moment of reading that. It’s incredible that books like this are available for teens.