Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, August 4 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
HarperCollins / Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
ISBN: 978-0062820273

Felix, a high school senior who is trans, is enrolled in an elite summer art program in New York City. When an unknown classmate hangs pictures of Felix in their school’s lobby–personal, pre-transition photos, captioned with his deadname–Felix is devastated. Reeling with anger, he sets up a catfishing scheme to get back at the person who he thinks is responsible. In the process of uncovering the truth, Felix is pulled into a love triangle and grapples with feelings of being unworthy of love.

Reluctant readers will be hooked by the inciting incident and will continue reading in order to see how the catfishing revenge scheme plays out. The messy, dramatic social dynamics of high school feel realistic, while complicated relationships with Felix’s semi-accepting dad and absentee mother add depth. Most characters are queer people of color and questions of identity are explored thoughtfully, in detail, and from multiple vantage points. Felix is an emotionally honest and vulnerable protagonist that teens will care deeply about, and many queer teens will find refreshing realism in the ways in which Felix’s understanding and labeling of his own identity continues to evolve over the course of the book. Despite experiences of harassment, Felix Ever After is ultimately a hopeful and affirming read and will appeal to readers who long for queer characters of color to get happier endings in media.

An emotionally vibrant and compulsively readable pick for fans of Meredith Russo’s Birthday, Mason Deaver’s I Wish You All the Best, or Camryn Garrett’s Full Disclosure.

–Elizabeth Giles

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.