Katherine Wyvern - A Muse to Live For
A Muse to Live For
"A beautifully written romance with characters you can't help loving. Nathaniel is a brilliant artist suffering from depression and unable to paint until one night he sees Gabrielle under a street lamp. The world sees her as a whore, Nathaniel considers her his muse and knows he not only must paint her, he must love her. Even when he discovers that Gabrielle is in fact, Gabriel, his love does not waver. Rescuing him from a life of poverty and abuse becomes Nathaniel's goal in life. Together, and with the help of an old friend of Nathaniel's, they escape to Europe. Nathaniel's paintings of only Gabrielle are a small sensation in the art world. Could it be that at last Gabriel has found a way to live his life as he wishes, or will the artist tire of his muse and return him to the seedy streets of London? As I said, beautifully written with prose and dialogue that will alternately chill and delight you. Excellent."
"A beautiful and unusual love story, with a character who is not so much trans as truly androgynous. It seems as though it could be genuinely historical – though the 'historical footnote' and book/author quoted at the end turn up no internet search hits. It's a credit to the author that I did try to find out if that book was real."
"This was such a beautiful read, a wonderful romance about a sad young painter and the lady of the night who becomes his muse. Wyvern's story is a work of art about the creation of art, one that perfectly evokes an era, reading like a rediscovered Victorian manuscript that she has simply given a polish for a contemporary audience."
Dorian Graves - Bones and Bourbon
Bones and Bourbon
"This is a great story that wraps you up in its story. The author does a wonderful job in creating a world that we know, but is completely new. The characters are charming, relatable and intelligent. If you are looking for a fun read this is it."
"Graves takes the reader on an unimaginable and creative quest with killer unicorns, huldras and furaribis. The story's landscape is surreal and otherworldly just like Alice's tumble through the rabbit hole. If you're looking for action, adventure and a story about the Fae that is completely different, you have to put this on your reading list. Remarkable!"
Mia Kerick - The Princess of Baker Street
The Princess of Baker Street
"I found this book compelling from the first age and I could not put it down until I'd finished. It's not an easy light fluffy read, I had tears streaming down my face. I really felt for the characters and for real people I've known who at times have been Eric and his friend. Thankfully all the characters get the correct ending for their stories. Note: I read the book without reading the blurb. I see the first paragraph in the blurb would imply this is primarily the story of a trans girl and readers expecting that may be disappointed. Although some of her story does emerge told through Eric's point of view, the book is not her story. The story is more about how other people in school react to her, firstly as a boy who doesn't conform to gender expectations and later as an out trans girl. I'd say this book is primarily about bullying and surviving school through that adolescent period. It sits well with other books that combine LGBT themes and bullying, such as James Howe's Misfits series. The bullying is severe and there is a suicide attempt. And it is Eric's story of survival both at school and at home, where he suffers neglect. It is a story that is very real, I can imagine there are kids living something similar in every school. Eric's thirteen years of age and navigating his way through life at a tricky age. From his point of view, all other kids around him could potentially ruin his life. He tries to fit in and avoid drawing attention to himself. To fit in and not be bullied. He's an average kid. Part of survival means not associating with the kid who doesn't fit in. I would recommend this book to young readers in general. I'd be happy for my children to read it. However, I would say it is targeted at general readers not specifically trans youth."
Books in the top 25% rate range
Mia Kerick - All Boy
"An intriguing story with well-developed characters that takes a realistic and touching look at issues involving friendship, bullying and identity."
"I'm not a big fan of YA, but All Boy is exceptionally well written and had me engrossed from beginning to end. Jayden and Callie are excellent characters, so warm and understanding of each others complex differences. Highly recommended."
Carla Grant - Uncommon Girls
"I give this memoir a score of 40. I hesitate to give a perfect score, but the book is captivating from page one and continues powerfully till the end. The basic story is a mother learning her son is trans and their journeys (they are separate ones in many regards) as he becomes she. I appreciated the POV of the mother, since so many accounts are through the eyes of the trans person. And I liked that the mother was a complex, intelligent, well-meaning, and terribly flawed individual. Grant tells the story not only of her trans daughter but also how that overwhelming aspect of her life still had to compete with plenty of other parts, her alcoholism, her remarriage, other children, rescue dogs, her daughter's self-harm, and multiple mental health issues. As if the story wasn't complex enough, we learn early on that the trans daughter is also on the autism spectrum, adding multiple additional stresses. It's all fascinating and at times even funny. Grant uses a variety of clever literary techniques to keep the reader interested. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's excellent."
"Wow, this was not what I expected, and I almost gave up on it in the early going (what with the focus on mom's dating misadventures), but then it came to Eliot's written proposal to wear high heels to school . . . and suddenly I found myself loving this kid. On the surface, it really does seems like it is going to be too much - an autistic child who identifies as transgender, with a recovering alcoholic single parent telling their story - but it is actually beautiful and funny and heartwarming, even as they deal with the challenges of Canadian education and healthcare. Mom's whole "fluid concept of womanhood" is perfect, and Ella is . . . well, I am going to go all out and call her a hero. She is amazing."
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