After coming out as transgender, changing his name and physically transitioning, 17-year-old Felix Love got exactly what he wished for. So why does he still feel like something isn't right? Kacen Callender's second work for young adults is an enigmatic story of self-discovery featuring a dynamic cast of queer characters who are divided by their insecurities but secretly united by their desire to be loved.
Felix is a Black, trans, queer art student desperate for his own Cinderella story. Despite his surname, Felix admits, "It's like every identity I have... the more different I am than everyone else... the less... lovable I feel." As his friends pair off and fall in love, Felix watches from afar, feeling undeserving. Then his former identity is revealed in a very public way and he is harassed on social media. Felix decides anonymously to track down his bully and "destroy" him. But Felix's plan goes awry when, through his anonymous persona, he develops feelings for the target of his revenge. Now embroiled in a complicated love triangle, Felix fears he'll lose his chance at love once he reveals his true identity.
In Felix Ever After, Callender (a Stonewall and Lambda Award winner for Hurricane Child; This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story; King and the Dragonflies) adeptly weaves a poignant bildungsroman that builds suspense as, layer by layer, new dimensions of Felix's identity are unmasked with each failed attempt to identify his tormentor. In a society where the lines between in-person and social media interactions blur, Callender believably captures this interconnectivity with teenagers whose identities are shaped, dismantled and reconfigured by their social media use. Inevitably, Felix and his peers peel away their carefully constructed virtual facades to face their own painful truths and flawed selves. --Kieran Slattery, freelance reviewer, teacher, co-creator of Gender Inclusive Classrooms