BAD BOY by Elliot Wake
Kirkus Star


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A transgender YouTube vlogger has a secret identity as a social justice vigilante.

With the help of gender-reassignment surgery and testosterone therapy, Renard Grant can outwardly pass as a man—a good-looking and ripped one at that—but his inner transformation is his greatest challenge as he navigates manhood while plotting revenge on the guy who raped him in his female form. Transcriptions of Ren’s videos serve as flashbacks to his transition, and the modern style is not just trendy; it shows how a trans character relies on the internet to find strength in numbers: “We’re all stranded on the desert islands of ourselves, sending missive after missive and hoping someone will find us, and reply: Message received.” Wake (Cam Girl, 2015, etc.), formerly known as Leah Raeder, writes with abandon and razor-sharp wit as he details the struggles and joys of being a “self-made man.” “I don’t hurt women,” Ren says, “because I know how it feels.” But his fluctuating testosterone levels fuel his hostility, and when a fan who seduces him claims he raped her, Ren worries that he might be transitioning into a monster. He can’t trust his vigilante group, Black Iris, which targets sexual predators and internet trolls, not to turn on him, too. He's torn between his ex-girlfriend and roommate, Ingrid Svensson, who loves him for the person he once was, and his partner in crime, Tamsin Baylor, who loves him for the person he has become. Having lived as both a man and a woman has both gifted and cursed him with perspective—a shifting dynamic that results in palpable emotional anguish, shocking twists, and scorching love scenes.

A fast-paced, mind-bending romantic thriller from an author with humor, heart, and big writing muscles.

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5011-1501-1
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2016


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