Book Review: Felix Ever After

Kacen+Callender%27s+novel%2C+Felix+Ever+After.+Felix+is+wearing+a+flower+crown+and+a+shirt+that+shows+his+top+surgery+scars.

Ryann Jorgensen

Kacen Callender’s novel, Felix Ever After. Felix is wearing a flower crown and a shirt that shows his top surgery scars.

“For trans and nonbinary youth: You’re beautiful. You’re important. You’re valid. You’re perfect.” These are the words on the dedication page of the novel Felix Ever After, written by the author Kacen Callender, who is trans and uses he/they pronouns. Felix Ever After is a story about identity, self-discovery, and young love.

Felix Love is a 17-year-old black gay transgender man, living part-time with his dad and his best friend in New York City. He goes to a summer art program at Brown University with his best friend Ezra, who is also 17 and gay, as well as his other friends, some of whom are much less supportive of him. This includes Declan Keane.

The first major conflict begins when an unknown individual hacks into Felix’s Instagram account, prints out his old pictures from before his transition, and posts it as a gallery in the hallway of the summer art school with a plaque that says his deadname (a deadname is the birth name of a transgender person who has since changed their name to better fit their gender identity). The culprit continues his harassment by sending Felix hateful messages on Instagram throughout the story. He immediately suspects Declan as the culprit and hatches a revenge plot. He plans to catfish Declan on Instagram to get him to spill all his darkest secrets, but Felix did not plan on the ensuing love triangle and the problems associated with it.

Another major theme is Felix’s inner conflict with his identity. Although he has identified as a man for a few years, he is now starting to see that his identity might not fit strictly in the gender binary of male or female. He visits his local LGBT center and researches on his computer in an attempt to figure himself out, and he eventually stumbles upon the word “demiboy”, defined in the book as “a person who identifies as mostly or partly male.” With a new identifier, the conflict shifts from finding a label to telling people about said label, even when those people are unsupportive.

Unsupportive loved ones are a consistent theme in the book, with his father frequently dead-naming him (calling him by his birth name), and a “friend” who believes being a trans guy means he is misogynistic because “you can’t be a feminist and decide you don’t want to be a woman anymore,” (Callender 30). 

Felix Ever After is a drama-filled story about love, self-discovery, and acceptance. This book is recommended for teens and older, mostly due to the not-kid-appropriate language used throughout and some adult themes. The author uses very casual slang language that makes the story feel more real, almost like the reader is observing the events in real-time. All in all, Felix Ever After is a great book that tackled difficult themes with determination and pride.