Felix Ever After (Hardcover)
Balzer + Bray, 9780062820259, 368pp.
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
From Stonewall and Lambda Award–winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.
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.
Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.
"Felix is attending an ultracompetitive arts summer program to have a better shot at a full scholarship to Brown when someone posts Felix’s dead name beside photos of him, pre-transition, in the school’s lobby. Felix’s plot to get revenge throws him onto the path of love and self-discovery." (Publishers Weekly, "An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List")
About the Author
Kacen Callender is originally from Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Kacen has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from the New School’s writing for children program. They are also the author of the young adult novel This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story and the middle grade novel Hurricane Child, winner of the Stonewall Book Award and Lambda Literary Award. They can be found online at www.kacencallender.com.
Praise For Felix Ever After…
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“From its stunning cover art to the rich, messy, nuanced narrative at its heart, this is an unforgettable story of friendship, heartbreak, forgiveness, and self-discovery, crafted by an author whose obvious respect for teen readers radiates from every page.”
— ALA Booklist (starred review)
“Felix explores love, friendship, and possibly retribution in this powerful #OwnVoices story of identity and self-worth… Full of warmth, love, and support, this is an important story and an essential purchase.”
— School Library Journal (starred review)
“The writing is smart and engaging, and #OwnVoices author Callender includes sound information and responsible psychological guidance without bogging down the storytelling. Felix does ultimately find love in this sweet and tender trans romance, but his hardest-won victory is in the fight to validate his self-worth.”
— Horn Book Magazine
"Full of nuanced looks at how relationships can be both toxic and supportive, loving and confusing, and exciting but brief, this is definitely not a book to be missed."
“An intricate love story for the ages.”
— CNN Underscored
“Felix is an open, warm, engaging character who extends far off the page. He’s easy to relate to regardless of reader identity, which makes this book a great candidate for school libraries and summer book report lists.”
“This is a story about friendships, finding first loves, and continuing to discover yourself even after you thought you had all the answers. I can’t talk about my love for this book enough--it’s going to change lives.”
— Mason Deaver, bestselling author of I Wish You All the Best
“From effervescent characters that I still can’t get out of my head to the sizzling backdrop of a New York City summer, Callender brings vibrance to a story that desperately needed to be told.”
— Jackson Bird, author of Sorted: Growing Up, Coming Out, and Finding My Place
"There are stories that are vital and there are stories that are brilliantly crafted. Callender delivers both in this beautiful exploration of friendship, new love, and self."
— justin a. reynolds, author of Opposite of Always
"A firecracker of a book from an author with a powerful point of view, Felix Ever After is refreshingly real—full of queer kids who live and breathe and swear and love and make messy mistakes. Teens need this one."
— Casey McQuiston, bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue
“I’ve never read a book that more perfectly balances hardship, hope and happiness. This story shines a spotlight on the one thing that transcends all differences: a desire to be loved and to love in return."
— Nic Stone, bestselling author of Dear Martin
“Felix Ever After never shies away from the beautiful, messy complexity of love in all its forms. This book is a gift, from start to finish.”
— Becky Albertalli, bestselling author of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. When the Instagram troll starts sending Felix transphobic messages, Felix responds by saying “you [don’t] get to say who I am and who I’m not. You don’t have that power. Only I [do]” (pg. 144). Why is this true? What parts of ourselves do only we have the power to define? How does this power relate to other areas of Felix’s identity and sense of self where others’ views seem to matter more—the quality of his art, getting into Brown, being lovable?
2. Felix has a complicated relationship with his parents. His dad has made efforts to support Felix’s transition and art aspirations, yet he won’t use Felix’s name and even deadnames him sometimes. Felix’s mother is entirely absent, having left Felix behind for a new life and family, but Felix writes her hundreds of unsent emails about the very things he cannot talk about with anyone else. How do you see Felix’s parents or his relationship with them impacting his choices and the way he sees himself? What about other characters and their parents? How do parents or parental figures influence you and how you make decisions?
3. What role do money and wealth—both access to it and lack of it—play in the novel? Felix calls out both friends and enemies on the privilege that wealth affords them; he tells Ezra that he’s wasting the opportunities that wealth and talent afford him, and he tells Declan that he is selfish to apply for a scholarship when he already has money. Do you agree with Felix? How might Felix’s angst about worthiness connect to money and class?
4. What are some of the ways it appears in the novel? What are some of Felix’s communities? Does he feel like he belongs in all of them? Why or why not? Think about the communities in your own life. Did you choose to be a part of them? What impact do they have on you? What does it mean for a community to be supportive?
5. When the group is discussing their sexual identities, Ezra says he doesn’t care much about labels but acknowledges that they might be important to others. He wonders “if there were no straight people, no violence or abuse or homophobia or anything, would we even need labels…?” (pg. 81) What do labels offer people in the face of discrimination and violence? Why might they matter? What are some of the labels that feature in the book, and why are they important for Felix and other characters? How do you use labels in your own life? Which are the most important to you and why?