About This Book:
Vlog star Renard Grant has nothing to prove: he’s got a pretty face, chiseled body, and two million adoring video subscribers. Plus the scars on his chest and a prescription for testosterone. Because Ren is transgender: assigned female at birth, living now as male. He films his transition and shares it bravely with the world; his fans love his honesty and positivity.
But Ren has been living a double life.
Off-camera, he’s Cane, the muscle-bound enforcer for social justice vigilante group Black Iris. As Cane, he lets his dark side loose. Hurts those who prey on the disempowered. Indulges in the ugly side of masculinity. And his new partner, Tamsin Baylor, is a girl as rough and relentless as him. Together, they terrorize the trolls into silence.
But when a routine Black Iris job goes south, Ren is put in the crosshairs. Someone is out to ruin his life. He’s a bad boy, they say, guilty of what he punishes others for.
Just like every other guy: at heart, he’s a monster, too.
Now Ren’s got everything to prove. He has to clear his name, and show the world he’s a good man. But that requires facing demons he’s locked away for years. And it might mean discovering he’s not such a good guy after all.
You’re probably thinking I should sort out my feelings for this book before writing a huge review right? Well, not gonna do that. Instead I’m gonna list out the things I liked and didn’t like.
Best Part of the book: THE PLOT TWIST. THE MINDFUCK. No one and I repeat that in capital letters NO ONE DOES IT BETTER THAN ELLIOT WAKE! (BAM! Exclamation mark.)
Now about our main character Ren. I have equally conflicting thoughts about him. When he talked about the struggles of being a transgender(the whole transition actually), shared his views, when I read about the time he was Sofie and how he felt, his relationship with Ingrid, it was all good. I was enjoying it, absorbing it all in. The newness of boyhood, becoming a man, the urges, the mentality, it gave me an insight into a man’s head and to be frank I loved it (apart from the times he was generalizing it because not all people are the same). But he was ughhh.. such a stoic sometimes. Like I’m a man. I don’t have to feel, I’m just gonna rub some more Testosterone. I didn’t like that but now that I’ve finished the book I understand the reason he was acting like that and I can’t even blame him. (How am I supposed to feel?)
And then there’s Tamsin. Our badass broken female character because every book needs one. I didn’t like her one bit. Because (a) For the major part of the book we know nothing about her except that she’s way too hot and good at fighting (b) Her insta-love (c) Even when I did get to know about her past, is still couldn’t convince myself to like her.
I feel like I would’ve loved this book a lot more if it was just Ren’s story and the Black Iris weren’t involved. And if it toned down the man-hating. Like I know we’re living in a misogynist society and it is important to educate and I like if that topic is explored (just don’t exploit it) because it did get annoying after a while. Like not every man is a psycho or a rapist, tone it down a little or at least give me a good male character (apart from Ren) just to balance everything out. Here’s some quotes from the book that I wanna share:
Margaret Atwood said the difference between men and women is that men fear that women will laugh at them, while women fear that men will kill them. Do you get that? I’m on the side that laughs. You’re switching to the side that kills.
Sometimes I think she’s fucking toxic. That she’d rather destroy us both than let me be happy without her. And sometimes, part of me want to let it happen. To self-destruct with her. What a couple of fuck-ups.
“What are you thinking about?” Blythe said.
“How you’re more of a lightning strike than a thunderstorm.”
So that is it folks. All my conflicted feelings about this book shared in a messy review. Do I recommend this book? If you’re a Leah Raeder fan, you’re definitely gonna pick it up no matter what I say, so sure.
If you’re going through the transition yourself or aren’t sure about it yet, pick it up.