Steve is student at a rural Montana high school who is taking twelfth grade for the second time. There he meets Heather and Gretchen, two elves in a relationship who are outcasts just like him.
Though elvish kingdoms are formally recognized by the federal government, the Supreme Court doesn’t see elves as human, so they don’t benefit from the same basic rights that others do. Steve is transgendered, and can empathize with the elves’ plight. Friendships are forged between him and the elves when they realize all three have had problems with a bully named Melvin and the jocks at school, who are known to sexually assault elves.
Despite his age, Steve lives alone, and has to produce a “parent” for parent/teacher day. He enlists the help of his elvish friends to hire an adult, but their scheme backfires when they’re caught soliciting an undercover policewoman named Sara Raimi. However, with their newfound connection to Sara, they look for a way to catch Melvin and his cohorts.
OK, so I’ll be honest. I really didn’t know what to expect from this book. Its very different from anything I generally read, but what the heck! Expand your horizons! So I read it.
Straight away, Berger”s style of writing for Steve is at odds with the fact that he is a boy. In my opinion, this is really very clever and adds to the character’s depth. You are thrust straight into his life at school and pulled along through the train of events with him. A world where elves are real, but less than human; where rape and abuse are commonplace, but the law is unable or unwilling to help. Where pupils deal with issues even adults may run away and hide from.
There are difficult issues in this story. The fact that the race being subject to the abuse are Elves makes it only slightly easier to read, but still sad. The sense of resignation and hopelessness from Heather and Gretchen resonates throughout the story.
However, ultimately this is a touching story of friendship. What one boy will do to stop a bully. What one boy will do to to help his friends.
I was not in my comfort zone with this book. I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying it. I hope you do too. I give this book a solid B-.
George can be reached on twitter (twitter.com/@mendacities)
This book is due to be released on 18th May on Queerteen Press. I received and Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.