Reviews for Already Published Books

Review: Hopeless Romantic by Francis Gideon

SUMMARY

34013488Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: April 10, 2017
Received From: NetGalley

Nick Fraser is a true romantic. He wants the guy instead of the girl, but other than that, he wants everything his favorite rom-coms depict: the courtship, the passionate first kiss, the fairy-tale wedding. But after breaking up with the love of his life, Nick wonders if anything fairy-tale will ever happen for him.

Then he meets Katie, who’s just like a rom-com heroine. She’s sharp, funny, sweet, and as into music and punk culture as Nick is. What’s more, he’s incredibly attracted to her—even though she’s a woman. Nick has never considered that he might be bisexual, but his feelings for Katie are definitely real.

When Katie reveals that she’s transgender, Nick starts to see how much he doesn’t understand about the world, queer identity, and himself. He is hopelessly in love with Katie, but this isn’t a fairy tale, and Nick’s friends and family may not accept his new relationship. If he wants it all, he has to have the courage to make his fantasy a reality.

GENDER SEXUALITY PAIRINGS

GENDER: transgender, cisgender
SEXUALITY: bisexual, queer
PAIRING: M/F

TAGS TROPES WARNINGS

TROPES: college life, out for you
TAGS: contemporary, adult, coming out, queer romance
WARNINGS: transphobia, fatphobia, ableism, aphobia / acephobia, toxic masculinity, biphobia, misogyny

Please see the publisher’s website for other tags and warnings for the rest I didn’t read. 

REVIEW

DNF @ ~45%

For a book written by a nonbinary author, this is one of the most transphobic novels I have ever had the misfortune of reading. I don’t know if this was written with a cis lense on, or if the author just has a lot of internalized transphobia to work through, but this book is a mess. I’m honestly not sure how I made it through as much as I did.

Massive trigger warnings for transphobia below, because I’m basically just going to list a lot of the instances that occurred within the first 45%, including Katie’s coming out and after.

  • The author was painfully obvious with coding Katie as trans before Nick knew:
    • her voice pitched low with horror
    • her palms were large in Nick’s, but her skin was soft
    • he realized that Katie wore no heels but was still as tall as him. When they sat down, Katie seemed smaller only when she crossed her legs
    • Katie said, her voice cracking a little
    • Katie’s voice had cracked more than once when she’d spoken too long
  • Right after Katie comes out to Nick:
    • “Oh.” The realization hit nick in the gut. Oh. Oh. Oh. He should have figured this out by now. Everything made so much more sense. Katie had been born a dude. Nick’s attention, his sudden desire to kiss her, even the weird safety protocols she had–everything suddenly made sense to him. He let out a low breath.
      “Does this change things?” Katie asked, her voice quiet. “I honestly thought you already knew.”
      “That you were a dude? I didn’t. I had no clue.”
      “I’m not a dude.” Her voice hitched sharply.
  • Katie apologizes for not outing herself to a complete and utter stranger:
    • “I…should have told you sooner. Before we walked all the way here. I should–”
  • More of Nick being a dickhole during the coming out scene:
    • “No, because I thought you were a woman. And that was confusing as fuck because I’m gay.”
    • “But now it makes sense, in a way”
      Her face fell. Nick didn’t even know what he had done or said, but his heart sank. “No. No, don’t be sad. What did I do?”
      “You basically said that I wasn’t a woman. And that was why you were attracted to me.”
  • When they’re kissing:
    • Nick was so taken off guard, he almost forgot to close his eyes. When he did, everything became easier.
  • Afterwards:
    • Sometimes, it took Nick a moment to catch all Katie’s references to her former life. Before she changed into…this.
    • Nick’s heart sunk. She was cute here. But was she cute because he could see the stronger jawline–the jawlines he normally desired in men–or because he understood that she was trying to become Sheena from all those punk rock songs? Nick wasn’t sure, and the uncertainty made him close the window yet again, without even reading the message.
    • she was trans, and he had no experience with that
  • When Nick tells his roommate that he’s been researching:
    • “Should I be calling you something else?”
      “No, no. Not for me. Really?” Nick made a face half caught between shocked and offended.
    • “It’s not that weird to me, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
      “It’s not?”
    • “But if I say I’m gay and only attracted to men, then Katie isn’t considered a woman.”
  • A few days later when they’re at her friend’s house:
    • She was soft in his hands, and yet still rough around her chin and jaw.
    • “Orchiectomy.”
      Nick made a face as soon as he remembered what that surgery term was. He squeezed his legs together, as if his balls had been cut.
      Katie sighed, her tone sad. “I’m serious, Nick.”
      “So am I. I didn’t mean to be offensive. I just–”
    • “Transphobia or whatever we want to call it is not something you are, it’s something that you accidentally do because it’s everywhere.” (This is such a fucking lie, and I am personally offended and disgusted that the trans character in this novel is making so light of transphobia. It ridicules and negates the horrible pain and suffering trans people go through.)
    • “It’s kind of like the best of both worlds right now.”\
    • If she wanted to be viewed as a woman

All of this was just in the first 45% percent of the book, so I can only imagine what is in the last 55%.

In addition to the transphobia, the book was full of fatphobia, biphobia, aphobia, ableism, and misogyny. I’m not going to list the specific instances because, frankly, we’ve all suffered enough at this point, but they are so unnecessarily harmful. Not to mention, everything about this book was so binary, it left little to no room for anything outside of binary genders and sexualities.

And finally, a lot of it was just fucking boring. The whole first chapter is the most boring interaction between Nick and his roommate about his car, which was clearly a setup for how he meets Katie, but was so long and boring that I started skimming it. The dialogue and “banter” was horrible and a huge snooze fest when it wasn’t being downright offensive. And, I could have completely done without the section where Nick was “confused” about the precautions Katie had to take when going off alone with him. I give zero fucks about what cis men think about how women protect themselves and their friends.

This book is a fucking train wreck and a mess of offensive garbage, and I would never ever recommend this to anyone. Especially not queer people, and specifically trans people.

RATING

DID NOT FINISH

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

12802910_10153609290558422_4660716197415616186_nFrancis Gideon is a nonbinary writer who dabbles in romance, mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal genres. Francis credits music, along with being an only child to a single mother, as why they write so much now. Long nights at home were either spent memorizing lyrics to pop-punk bands or reading voraciously. Add a couple of formative experiences in university, a network of weird artist friends, and after years of writing stories Francis never showed to anyone, they now have books to their name.

After receiving an MA in English literature, Francis wanted to do something a bit more fun. They soon found the LGBTQ romance community and fell in love on the spot. Since then, Francis has attempted to balance writing romances with as many different types of couples as possible while also attending school for their PhD. When not writing fiction or teaching university classes, Francis works on scholarly articles on everything from character deaths in the TV show Hannibal, the online archive of Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, and transgender representation on YouTube. Francis is a middle name, used to keep students from Googling their teacher and asking far too many questions.

Francis lives in Canada with their partner, Travis, where they often spend nights disagreeing about what TV show to watch and making bad puns whenever possible. Travis receives dedications in Francis’s novels because he tolerates Francis’s long hours and listens to random story ideas late into the night. Francis also might be a bit of a hopeless romantic—as if you didn’t already guess.

Connect with Francis:

REVIEW BY LEAH

One thought on “Review: Hopeless Romantic by Francis Gideon

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