This book had a really interesting premise about a world in which some people are shifters, meaning they can shift their bodies between male and female. And the story is about what happens when Alex gets stuck in his male form and reveals to his straight boyfriend that he is a shifter.
As someone who has been understanding and exploring my own genderqueerness/thoughts on gender lately and looking for more books about genderqueer and nonbinary characters, this book was the perfect find at the perfect time. It was refreshing and thought-provoking, and I appreciated it. There was so much in this book that I could relate to, as well as things I’ve just randomly pondered about in regards to gender and sexuality.
I felt like the author handled everything about the premise so well. The book explored so much about gender and even sexuality, like how it feels to be genderfluid and/or stuck in one gendered body, how each shifter feels different and handles their gender differently, how every relationship with a shifter is different, how sexuality and gender are completely separate things, how people can’t help who or what they’re attracted to, gender roles and stereotypes, and more. There was also the whole thing about Damon, a straight man, suddenly finding himself in a relationship with someone who was not a woman. I liked that his reaction wasn’t overly perfect but also not bigoted. He still loved Alex, but he simply wasn’t attracted to his male form, and that wasn’t something that he could just snap his fingers and change. *SPOILER* He did eventually realize that Alex was still Alex on the inside, and he found himself attracted to him/her in all his/her forms. *END SPOILER* The only thing that wasn’t really explored was non-binary genders, in the sense that the word ‘non-binary’ was never used, they/them pronouns were never mentioned, and there was no mention of any genders aside from male and female. But keep in mind that this book was written years ago when info and understanding of these words probably weren’t as easily found.
All of the characters’ actions and reactions felt very realistic and believable. Even the difficulties and complications involved with the legal and medical situations seemed realistic.
Also important was the relationship between Alex and Damon. It was an established relationship but also kinda like a new romance in a way. They obviously had a lot to discuss and figure out. Their relationship was so real and sincere and good that it made me emotional reading about it. And aside from Alex keeping the fact that he was a shifter secret, something that was understandable when you learned his reasons, their relationship was a pretty healthy one.
Honestly, this book was mostly characters’ thoughts, feelings, and discussions, as opposed to plot action, but I didn’t mind at all. I enjoyed every minute of it. The characters and their relationship and all the exploration of gender and sexuality kept me completely invested.
And of course the narration was fantastic and so natural. Michael Ferraiuolo’s narration always is.
Overall, this was a low-key kinda book with a lot of realism, a very healthy and sweet relationship, and a lot of great exploration of gender and sexuality, and I loved it!
Anyone who likes explorations of gender and sexuality, nonbinary characters, and sweet, healthy relationships.