It's probably a little weird to compare this book to Game of Thrones, but I'm going to because I think they're similar in key ways. Game of Thrones is a bloody, grimdark second world fantasy, and FELIX EVER AFTER is a colorful, angsty contemporary YA. But both are full of complex, morally gray characters who are impulsive, driven by fear and pride, deceitful--and yet at the same time deeply relatable, lovable characters.
FELIX was a difficult book for me in some ways. I have little patience for the perseverations of anxious people, and Felix Love is an *anxious* person, constantly second-guessing and doubting both himself and everyone he knows. He's also kind of mean! Mostly because he's anxious, but tbh I think that's a reason not an excuse.
About a third of the way through the book, I almost put it down, because it was making me feel grumpy and old--old in the way of queer culture, where so much has changed so quickly that people who grew up in the 90s had a vastly different experience of the world than people who grew up in the 00s/10s. Felix fears that his father doesn't quite accept him because sometimes his father gets tangled up saying Felix's name; is this a sign that his father is secretly, in spite of negotiating years of insurance bullshit to get his son's medical transition taken care of and continually asking thoughtful questions to show his engagement with the process, so transphobic that he doesn't love his son at all?
I, a queer whose parents have never directly acknowledged my queerness out loud, wanted to scream. Kids these days don't know how good they have it! Why, back in my day, we had to walk uphill both ways, in the snow, three times a week to a church where a large yelling man told us God didn't want us and so we were going to be tortured forever!
Yeah. There was a point early in the book where Felix accuses one of his friends of being privileged because his family is 'hold a gala in our penthouse' rich, and I was like... kid, you go to a private art school in New York City and are probably going to get into an Ivy League university on the strength of the portfolio of paintings you made under the tutelage of a talented, engaged teacher who actually knows you well enough to have insight into your creative work. Fuck! off! with your crying about how hard you have it!
So, yeah, FELIX is like Game of Thrones in that I was very emotionally engaged with the characters in spite of feeling pretty salty about them, because they're so well constructed that they feel like actual humans making actual human mistakes. FELIX is unlike GoT in that the plot is tightly constructed, well-paced, and makes sense. This feels like the kind of book that could be adapted for the screen; it has all the elements on the right amounts, at the right places, to keep audiences glued to their seats. Readers, too--I finished it in only two sittings.
10/10, would purchase this book with my own money, read it, and then pass it on to friends to make them read it too