Miles devoted himself to helping Vivian share her stories with the world, but now that she’s gone, he must learn to live his own story again in Rutledge’s debut novel.
The 18-year-old white boy’s life stopped a year and a half ago when his girlfriend, Vivian, a black transgender woman, lapsed into a coma after attempting suicide. Although Vivian will never awaken, her religious parents keep her connected to life support. Now that she can no longer fight back, they cut her hair and her hormones, and they shut down her viral online magazine, Mixtape. When Vivian was by his side, Miles knew his purpose—they created art together. Without Vivian, he’s lost. Writing in a series of (sometimes very long) instant messages, Miles documents his monthlong adventure in Iceland, where he searches for a future he never imagined living without Vivian. In the company of Óskar, his endearing and snarky Icelandic concierge, Miles discovers a way to honor the woman he loved. While the book shares the perspective of a cisgender boy, Rutledge never treats Vivian’s identity as a problem, nor does she try to provide an easy explanation of Vivian’s attempted suicide. Miles’ exploration and questioning of his queer identity throughout the book is refreshingly unashamed. A brief list of support hotlines is appended.
A much-needed story about rediscovering identity after loss. (Fiction. 14-18)