BOOK REVIEWS

Reading Challenge Series: March

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March, being the Women’s History Month, is a special time to spotlight books by female authors and read about women who have pushed boundaries, affected change, redefined roles, and who have created a new understanding of what it means to be powerful. Every month I recommend a new book to read, while reviewing the previous month’s book, so if this is of interest to you, then join in the reading challenge!

This reading challenge is all about reading together each month, I then review the novel before going on to recommend a new one with either a genre or a theme in mind, that way, we can discover new books together that may or may not always be within our comfort zone. The best part about this challenge series is that you can join in whenever you want.

If you are interested in the reading challenge series from inception, then click HERE, and if you would like to check out the previous month’s reading challenge, then click HERE.

You will find a book review of the previous book that we read first, before going on to choose another book for the current month; alternatively, if readers prefer to find their own book, I assign a specific genre or a theme to help you start somewhere when choosing which book you could be reading next with everyone else.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Plot:

“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 marginalization 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.”

This game-changing book is a queer contemporary story about a Black, queer, trans, and teen artist named Felix Love. He attends an art-focused high school in New York and is always afraid that when people look at him, they see someone who is “too much work”, leading him to feel like he can never find love or happiness. One great aspect to note in Felix’s character is the fact that there is space and acceptance in making mistakes and being messy, which I felt made the novel a thrill to read and very real.

The story addresses various topics, specifically homophobia, and makes it a great read for those looking to understand more on interpretations and feelings through different types of harmful, both intention and unintentional, interactions. There is a lot of learning and questioning involved, in which Felix makes so many mistakes throughout but that never means that he is unloved or can never find happiness. The novel celebrates second chances, which I found to be one of the most appealing features of this book.

While not being able to relate to the character completely in terms of being queer or Black, I found that I still connected and really felt how the character may be feeling through the use of the author’s expressive writing style, as well as Felix’s in-depth development and personality. Overall, I would rate this book a five out of five because it is something I would read again and find new thoughts to delve on.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

During the month of March, our next book to read will be dedicated to International Women’s Day, which is on the 8th of March; it is also Women’s History Month in March, so when choosing my next novel, I made sure to pick an under-represented female author to shine a well-deserved spotlight on. If you would like to join in, then add ‘A Map Is Only One Story’ to your basket and begin reading! This book is by 20 writers on immigration, family, and the meaning of home, and is edited by Nicole Chung and Mensah Demary. The theme this month is immigration, so find you book soon and start reading when you can.

Description:

“From rediscovering an ancestral village in China to experiencing the realities of American life as a Nigerian, the search for belonging crosses borders and generations. Selected from the archives of Catapult magazine, the essays in A Map Is Only One Story highlight the human side of immigration policies and polarized rhetoric, as twenty writers share provocative personal stories of existing between languages and cultures. Victoria Blanco relates how those with family in both El Paso and Ciudad Juárez experience life on the border. Nina Li Coomes recalls the heroines of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and what they taught her about her bicultural identity. Nur Nasreen Ibrahim details her grandfather’s crossing of the India-Pakistan border sixty years after Partition. Krystal A. Sital writes of how undocumented status in the United States can impact love and relationships. Porochista Khakpour describes the challenges in writing (and rewriting) Iranian America. Through the power of personal narratives, as told by both emerging and established writers, A Map Is Only One Story offers a new definition of home in the twenty-first century.”