Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Sci-Fi, Gender Bending
Published: 1/20/14 (first pubbed 6/17/11)
Reviewed by Anne
Imagine a world where some people can shift into the opposite gender. And just like the werewolf shifter romances I've read, these shifters consider each of their forms/genders a part of them. It's a setup I couldn't refuse! Then you add in a society only starting to accept shifters, and you've really got an interesting world.
Damon has been dating his girlfriend Alex for two years. Her relationship with her parents is very strained. When he doesn't hear from her after a visit home, he goes looking for her and discovers that she's a shifter, and due to some surgery her parents forced on her, she's now stuck in her male form.
I didn't want to put this book down! It made me think about gender and sexuality and it was a sweet romance to boot! The world building was easy to understand, and the shifting was no harder to accept than any kind of animal shifter. The re-developing romance was realistic and easy to read. The process by which Damon fell in love with Alex again was slow, not immediate, and that read very true to me. It also involved Alex accepting that someone could love him in whichever form he was in. That made for a slow paced romance, but it was realistic. There were times they were on the verge of having a conversation that got put off. When they finally got around to it I could see that it was a good thing they had waited - they'd each grown over the course of the story to the point that they could discuss it without hurting each other as much. That's some good writing!
I highly recommend this book - it's going on my best of the year list and it was one of my most interesting reads as well! In the past year I've really enjoyed some other reads that have made me think about gender and what it means. I recommend Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight and Wallflower by Heidi Belleau. I also found the blog Raising My Rainbow about a family raising their gender non-conformist son. The blog and books have all made me think, and I hope they've made me a more accepting person. How about you? Any stories about gender bending sexuality and stereotypes you would recommend?