Love defies the categories and labels of gender identity and desire in this new-adult romance between two people looking for happily-ever-after.
Running late to class one day, broke graduate student Nick Fraser is knocked back, literally and figuratively, by a woman on his university campus. What would be a standard meet-cute in straight romance raises questions for Nick, who has always identified as gay. When he bumps into Katie Miller on a bus again and then decides to accept her invitation to a concert, he can no longer deny that he’s attracted to her. He’s thrown another curve when Katie explains that she is a transwoman who has previously dated female-identified people as well as male. While Nick is ready to go all in on exploring their attraction after some initial hesitation, he’s also dealing with financial stress at the University of Waterloo and a bruised heart from a past relationship that dismissed his need for romantic couplehood. Katie, a former concert roadie and working artist, is willing to see where they end up but knows that transphobia and the complexity of trans people’s lives makes for daily challenges for her and others in her orbit. Gideon (Black Market Blood, 2017, etc.) mixes long discussions on trans identity and experience with scenes unabashedly modeled on rom-coms and sprinkled with references to alternative and punk rock music. What the novel lacks in terms of stylistic power or substantial secondary characters, it makes up for in its earnest desire to express the truths of trans lives.
A timely queer romance that has a little bit for everyone—John Hughes references, quotes from Hegel and Marx, and obnoxious friends who turn out to be nice Canadians after all.