I realize that when this book was written, mobile phones weren't really a thing.
Although it is set in our future, it is already desperately out of date. So much of the tension is created around trying to locate people or waiting for phone calls. Things easily fixed through a quick text message.
Despite that, it is a very good book.
I seem to be in the minority with my assessment of this story. I liked it well enough, I suppose, and I was impressed with the author creating a trans (F2M) character in a historical setting. I liked the inclusion of a fantasy element with Banyn, a fae, and his backstory.
I think this book would have worked better for me if it had been a longer story. While the author created a nice timeline, there seemed to be big jumps in time, that especially in the later years of John's story would have perhaps rounded his character out a bit more. We're told of his struggles, the binding of his chest, the monthly bleeding, and the constant fears of being found out, but we're not shown much of it. The story is written with flashback scenes, while John is on the run, bleeding from a wound, and we get to see the beginning of his relationship with Banyn, the progression of their love, and how he ended up in a penal colony on an island off Australia.
There's a melancholy undertone to the book, befitting the story, and I thought it was perhaps a bit too depressing to be a Christmas story, even if John gets his wish and his HEA.
I also quite liked the epilogue - that was a fitting ending to this story.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **
There be spoilers. I'm pretty pissed off at the moment. What a waste of time this was.
CW: Homophobia, racism, cheating, and sexual assault.
I only liked Holden. And even he was an idiot. But I could empathize with this struggles - coming to terms with his feelings for another boy, figuring out that he's bi-sexual (though I'm not sure why he'd think that, since he hasn't even had a girlfriend), and dealing with being bullied at school, on top of living with an asshole father and a doormat mother, unable to live up to his Golden Boy older brother, who was much less an asshole than I expected based on how his character was initially set up. Holden's best friend of 14 years (Tiffany) is abandoning him for a boy, though I'm honestly not even sure why Holden thought of her as his friend in the first place - she was nothing but a bitch to him.
All the characters in his book are one-dimensional card board cutouts. You have the rich boy jerkface who thinks he can throw his daddy's money in everyone's face, the bitchy-only female, the pedophile principal (ew, ew, ew, what the fuck was that shit, touching Holden inappropriately, talking about blow jobs to make a record go away, and then comparing his dick to Aaron's whose dick he presumably knows NOTHING about), and the cheating daddy fucking Holden's best friend, who's - you guessed it - suddenly pregnant.
None of the characters, including Aaron, the love interest, made any fucking sense with their actions. Not a single one. Not Holden thinking he can just go to the city and enroll in college, and find a job that will pay him enough to cover his cost of living, not Aaron, whose pillow talk was the most ridiculous thing I've ever read in a romance novel, not Jeff, the jerkface, not Tiffany, the bitch, not the principal (what the FUCK was that shit), and not Holden's parents.
At one point Aaron's father leaves for a conference of some sort in Seattle - which, super convenient, amirite, so Aaron and Holden can have a sleepover and sex it up (virgin ass and all), and we're supposed to believe that a small town mechanic goes to a conference, leaving no one to work on the cars in the shop?
This book was an utter mess, and I don't just mean the stilted, unrealistic dialogue and ridiculous plot. The editor was MIA, and the proof-reader took a vacation, I guess. Grammar seemed optional.
Men don't have a g-spot. A virgin like Holden, never having even CONSIDERED gay sex, has likely not heard of the prostrate. And he sure as fuck wouldn't call it a g-spot.
At one point, Aaron says "Open Says Me". I suppose the author meant OPEN SESAME. How was that not caught? Then a few pages later, Aaron opens the condom and puts it on, with HIS TEETH. On himself. Uhm, sure, whatever floats your boat. I guess you're super bendy. Never mind the holes you just made with your teeth, you moron, which sort of defeats the purpose of putting on a condom in the first place.
And to top off the editorial proof-reading fuckery, in one instance HOLDEN is called AARON.
And, and, and... there's no HEA, not even a HFN - the couple has broken up at book's end because Holden is leaving town and Aaron isn't. We get a "To Be Continued" as if that isn't something you should tell your readers up front.
Not recommended. Possibly the worst book I've read this year. JFC. Yeah, I know it's YA, but young adults would like to read good books. And this isn't a good book.
I'm so sorry, Secret Santa. I was swayed by the blurb and the positive reviews, and I now regret putting this book on my wishlist. I kind of hate that you wasted your money on this, even though I truly appreciate you getting it for me.
The New York Times and New Yorker illustrator Jillian Tamaki is best known for co-creating the award-winning young adult graphic novels Skim and This One Summer—moody and atmospheric bestsellers. SuperMutant Magic Academy, which she has been serializing online for the past four years, paints a teenaged world filled with just as much ennui and uncertainty, but also with a sharp dose of humor and irreverence. Tamaki deftly plays superhero and high-school Hollywood tropes against what adolescence is really like: The SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants and witches, but their paranormal abilities take a backseat to everyday teen concerns.
My first thought on this is that I am wayyyy too old to truly appreciate this graphic novel! I liked the idea of a school for mutants and witches and I’m pretty sure that this would have totally been my jam when I was in junior high school. Because, let’s face it, we all feel like mutants when we’re in junior high.
It was definitely a creative way to illustrate all the problems that we have at that age: where do we fit in? What are our talents? What will be do after graduation? Or even today after school? Do our marks matter? Does that cute boy/girl know that we exist?
I can still relate to some of it—don’t we all still feel like mutants some days? But those days are fewer and farther between the older that I get. I know that I can support myself and run my life successfully on the majority of days. If I could talk to my teenage self that would be my message: you’re going to be okay. Loosen up and enjoy things more. Too bad that wisdom only comes to us once we’re short on the energy to appreciate it fully.