Review: Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child.
Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and 12-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She’s hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won’t stop following her, and — worst of all — Caroline’s mother left home one day and never came back.
But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline’s luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline’s first and only friend — and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush.
Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline’s missing mother — before Caroline loses her forever.

I absolutely loved Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, so when I found that they also write middle grade I knew I wanted to pick one up. I’ve heard such good things about their other middle grade book King of the Dragonflies and this one was really enjoyable too!

Clocking in at just over 200 pages, this one was a super easy read and I flew threw it. With this one being a middle grade as well, I found it very easy to read – but don’t be fooled. This book does include some very important and deep topics, especially for a middle grade read.

The idea of not being alone — of having someone who sees me, same way I see the things that no one else can see, makes me feel like I’m real.

We follow Caroline, a 12 year old girl who was born in a hurricane. She lives in the small island of St Thomas, and her mother has disappeared. I really like how this book didn’t shy away from difficult topics and introduced them as part of the main plot. There are going to be so many children out there going through similar things to Caroline, and I think it’s so important we don’t keep stories from them, because it may make them feel less alone to see characters having similar experiences to them.

This book also included some discussions of sexuality, which I really loved. I feel like we definitely don’t see enough of these discussions in middle grade yet again, but it was portrayed in a really innocent way and I feel like it will be really accessible and relatable for young teens and tweens. We also see some discussions of sexuality in relation to religion, which I really liked.

Like I deserve to exist on this planet alongside everyone else. That I get to be here because there’s someone else who wants me here too.

Overall, this was a super enjoyable read and I loved how it didn’t shy away from the discussions it had. This book is quite short so I didn’t feel a really strong connection to the characters, but I did enjoy it a lot.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

51931067

Goodreads

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.

So, going from I Wish You All the Best to this was a ride. I was not prepared for this much emotion, and once again, I don’t know if I can put into words how I feel about this book.

Felix is a trans boy who is still questioning his identity. He has a best friend called Ezra and goes to art school. And his story captured my heart. The thing about this book is it really allows the characters to be messy and real. Felix was far from perfect, and he made me angry at times. But I couldn’t help but forgive him because he was so soft and just trying to work out how he could be himself, in his own body.

I’m not flaunting anything. I’m just existing. This is me. I can’t hide myself. I can’t disappear. 

This book is about revenge. It’s about love. It’s about questioning your identity and coming to terms with yourself. It’s about family and friends and relationships. It’s freaking beautiful. Felix is constantly being bullied and struggling daily because of the negative way people treat him because he’s queer, Black and trans. And sometimes, he messes up. And the people around him mess up. But this book teaches so much about forgiveness, about being angry and being able to stand up for yourself and those around you.

I got through this so quickly, in just over 24 hours! I’ve been reading quickly at the moment anyway, but with this being over 350 pages, I thought it would take me a bit longer. But as soon as I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. It was so cleverly written, with a revenge plot and mystery thrown in too, that didn’t feel unrealistic or like it was forced in. It felt natural and I couldn’t help but be hooked by the story, I just wanted to find out what was going to happen.

And even if I could, I don’t f**king want to. I have the same right to be here. I have the same right to exist.

I had full body shivers/goosebumps at some parts of this book, especially at times that really meant a lot to Felix (I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say any more than that!). I had tears in my eyes multiple times. Again, this book is just so needed right now. It was raw and honest and vulnerable. It will change lives.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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