Felix Love has never been in love. Felix feels like he never really fits in, being black, queer, and transgender alongside attending a prestigious school and coming from a working class family. Between receiving transphobic messages, his father struggling to accept his transition and his mother fleeing, Felix is confronted with the complexities of gender labels. Callender bravely explores definitions of gender while also raising awareness about never assuming anything.
The relationships Felix holds become important in discovering who he might be. His friends question and debate the automatic rules of gender, its conflicts and realities. Callender creates a space for readers to learn, question and grow through the people in Felix’s life, whether they stand with him or against him.
Callender also confronts Felix’s struggle to belong in a school of higher status as he follows his love for art. The link between his self-portraits and self-acceptance becomes a metaphor: the more Felix can learn to love himself, the more depth is added to his art. Each painting contains the layers that make Felix Love, each stroke a label, an identity, an awareness of who he really is. As he wades his way through the questioning of his identity, he also must brave the crushing force of teenage-hood: a period where he learns the true meaning of love in all forms of the word.
This story was raw, open and breathtakingly real.