1 Positive Review, 1 Negative Review, 2 Book Bloggers Candidly Discuss Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}

One of the interesting aspects of being a book blogger is when you have feelings on a book you’ve read, you read another blogger’s thoughts on the same book…and you discover that they had a completely different takeaway than you did. I actually love when this happens because I find it so interesting to see others’ viewpoints which are so different than my own. Clearly this was the case when Melissa Amster and I both read Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After. One of us has a very positive review while the other one of us…unfortunately has a negative review.

Like everything else in life, people will always form opinions on books they’ve read. What may positively resonate with one reader may have the opposite effect on another reader. I love discussing books, and I REALLY love discussing opposing views on books. How boring would life be if everyone shared the same opinions all the time? Our opinions, thoughts, and viewpoints are makes make us unique.

I’m so happy to welcome back Melissa Amster from Chick Lit Central to do a guest book review with me today! This is the 3rd book that Melissa and I have collaborated on reviewing but the first where our reviews are on opposite sides of the review spectrum.

Goodreads Synopsis of Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}:

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.

Jenny Share’s Review of Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}:

I really, really, REALLY wanted to love this book. Sadly…I did not.

It starts off SLOOOOOWLY, like, 200 pages slowly. Around page 200 was when I felt it start to pick up and then I enjoyed the last 150ish pages significantly more than the previous 200.

The biggest issue that I had with this book was its dialogue. I felt that most of what was said between characters was so unrealistic and WORDY. Not every dialogue needs to include a lengthy monologue! I hate when authors do this, it’s so completely unrealistic and takes away from the actual story.

This whole book felt like I was reading one long therapy session. I’m all for being interspective but these characters literally spent what felt like each second analyzing and reflecting on EVERYTHING. Yes, the main theme of this book is looking within and living your authentic self but it was all just too interspective for me.

Did you ever watch Dawson’s Creek? I kept thinking of comparisons to that show while reading. Great characters, great storylines, but HORRIBLE delivery! Every conversation on Dawson’s Creek included long monologues, insane dialogues, ridiculous words that real life teenagers would never use, SO much interspection, and certain situations that would be unrealistic for teenagers to be in. Exactly how this book is! The only difference being that despite all of that, I loved Dawson’s Creek and I did not love Felix Ever After.

Let me clarify that statement. While I did NOT love this book, I DID love the idea behind the story of Felix Ever After. Knowing and accepting your authentic self is a beautiful and complicated thing. I DO have a few positive things that I will say about this book.

First and foremost, I will always support ANY book which brings awareness to topics that may otherwise not receive the attention they deserve. This book is a perfect example. It’s such an important book with such beautiful messages of acceptance of complicated topics. Also, I love that it has the ability to reach such a broad audience in terms of age range. Finally, many (not all) of the storylines were wonderful and can absolutely educate people on so many different levels. I can definitely see how somebody going through the same emotions as Felix would feel such a powerful connection and understanding to this book.

However even with these few positive aspects, I just can’t recommend the actual writing or it’s delivery in this book. Nope.

Melissa Amster’s Review of Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}:

I had bought Felix Ever After on Amazon a while back because it looked interesting to me. Then I shelved it on my Kindle for a while. When Jenny said she was reading it, I decided to give it a try, since it was something we could easily review together at her blog. 

I liked this story a lot. It was edgier than most LGBTQ novels I’ve read. There was more grit and intensity to it. It hurt me to read the transphobic messages that Felix was receiving. I know some people who are transgender and it sucks that someone would say such horrible things about anyone like that. I appreciated Felix questioning their identity throughout the story; that gender is a construct in this day and age and not everything is black and white. The story made me think of a friend who just came out as male-to-female transgender and how I had no idea they felt that way about their gender identity when they were younger.  I’m glad books like these are available for teenagers (and adults), as you never know who might pick it up one day and be able to relate. 

Kacen Callender’s use of description and details to bring the story to life made me feel like I was watching everything happen right in front of me. The emotional levels were really strong too.

 I have been watching Degrassi the Next Generation and was impressed by how they handled the topic of transgender on that show. So I was pleasantly surprised to see it referenced in the author’s note at the end of the book. I even got emotional from reading that part. Some character names made me think of the show (Declan–Keane and Coyne sound similar–and Marisol, basically), so it was on my mind while reading it. 

I look forward to reading more of Kacen’s novels and recommend this to anyone looking for a thoughtful story.

Book Coffee Happy Bottom Line :

Sooooo clearly some people love this book while others clearly do not (worst bottom line on a book review blog that’s ever been written, lol).

So…there you have it. 1 book, 2 bloggers, 2 completely different book reviews.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today, Melissa! I loved working with you, can’t wait to work with you again soon.

Have you read Felix Ever After? Do you agree with Melissa or myself? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

You can read the other collaborations that Melissa and I have worked on together HERE and HERE.

*If you are a blogger interested in a possible future collaboration with Book Coffee Happy, I’d love to talk! Send me an email to bookcoffeehappy@gmail.com*

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2 thoughts on “1 Positive Review, 1 Negative Review, 2 Book Bloggers Candidly Discuss Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}

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