Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Copyright Date: 2020
Reading Age: 14-17
Reading Level: Grades 9-12
Awards: Stonewall Book Awards
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Felix Love is attending one of the most competitive summer art programs in the country. His hope is that it will give him a better shot at a full scholarship to Brown University. Then he discovers that someone has posted images of himself pre-transition with his dead name. Being Black, queer, and transgender wasn't enough—now someone is trying to cause him harm, sending him transphobic messages. Felix decides to track the individual down and seek revenge, he discovers there is more to the story than he anticipated. This is a story of friendship, forgiveness, and heartbreak, and at the end, Felix may just learn how important self-love really is.
Felix Ever After is a story about representation. Felix is Black, queer, and transgender, and that intersectionality is scary for him. He grapples with issues such as being dead named and transphobia. This very real struggle may be an issue for some LGBTQ students who may feel too much attention is being focused on fear and not enough on the rest of the story. However, Felix is doing other things with his life. He is attending one of the most competitive summer art programs in the country. He has goals for a full scholarship to Brown University. This is a story about the potential for love and forgiveness, but some people may find the love triangle aspect of the tale to be trope-y and troublesome. Felix Love has never been in love, and yet, when he finds it, it is complicated in the manner of sitcoms. This is a multilayered book about self-acceptance with a main character that is Black, transgender, and queer. The fact that that intersectionality is a major aspect of the tale should not, perhaps, be that surprising. Its saving grace is that it is also a story of hope and empathy and realizing that loving yourself is even more important than being desired by others. That is a concept many teens struggle with, and it is good to have a story with different aspects of representation as well as that examination of self-love.
Felix Love has never been in love—yep, the irony is something else. When Felix discovers that someone has posted his dead name, trying to find who was involved will lead him down paths where he will need to live up to his name.
About the Author
Kacen Callender is a bestselling and award-winning author of multiple novels for children, teens, and adults, including the National Book Award-winning King and the Dragonflies and the bestselling novel Felix Ever After.
Kacen enjoys playing RPG video games, practicing their art, and focusing on healing and growth in their free time. They currently reside in St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, where they were born and raised.
(About the author and photo can be found here.)
Felix Ever After has an amazing cover. Talk about flower crowns as part of the booktalk.
Discuss the term dead name and how using someone's dead name can cause harm.
Challenge issues: LGBTQIA+, violence
Challenge Issue Resources:
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This is a multilayered book about self-acceptance with a main character that is Black, transgender, and queer. The story is full of hope and empathy. It is also about differentiating between being love and finding the love one deserves, which can be a very important lesson for teens.