BAD BOY by Elliot Wake
Atria Books Hardcover | ISBN: 9781501115011 | On sale: December 6, 2016 | 256 pages | US $24.00
eBook: Atria Books | ISBN: 9781501115028 | On sale: December 6, 2016 | 256 pages | US $9.99
Vlog star Renard Grant has nothing to prove: he’s got a pretty face, chiseled body, and two million adoring video subscribers. Plus the scars on his chest and a prescription for testosterone. Because Ren is transgender: assigned female at birth, living now as male. He films his transition and shares it bravely with the world; his fans love his honesty and positivity.
But Ren has been living a double life.
Off-camera, he’s Cane, the muscle-bound enforcer for social justice vigilante group Black Iris. As Cane, he lets his dark side loose. Hurts those who prey on the disempowered. Indulges in the ugly side of masculinity. And his new partner, Tamsin Baylor, is a girl as rough and relentless as him. Together, they terrorize the trolls into silence.
But when a routine Black Iris job goes south, Ren is put in the crosshairs. Someone is out to ruin his life. He’s a bad boy, they say, guilty of what he punishes others for.
Just like every other guy: at heart, he’s a monster, too.
Now Ren’s got everything to prove. He has to clear his name, and show the world he’s a good man. But that requires facing demons he’s locked away for years. And it might mean discovering he’s not such a good guy after all.
Even though I've been intrigued by this author's other books I hadn't read any until, Bad Boy. The synopsis really jumped out at me, so I decided to take the plunge because I've read some of the rave reviews about Elliot Wake's writing. My thoughts are still little jumbled, so here it goes.
Ren is transgender and trying to live his life as a man, I say trying because it seems like not everyone is ready accept him this way. Yes, he was born in a woman's body, but he knew he wasn't meant to be a woman and did something about it. This story just got to me from the beginning! Ren can be hard to love sometimes, but it's not because he just wants to be angry and depressed. He wants people to love him and accept him! I think anyone can understand that. He's part of the Black Iris group and from the beginning he is being kept out of the loop, and he wants, no needs to figure out why! Why would his closest friends keep him in silence. When he meets Tam there is something between them from the beginning. At first it's just them lashing out at each other but it grows to something more, something tangle, something fierce! And she's the only one he can really trust when accusations arise.
Everyone in this story has either been hurt or has hurt someone in the past. Being part of Black Iris has been part of who they are, but they can never fully heal that way. Tam and Ren's relationship is so passionate. I could feel that passion jumping out of the pages, it made my heartbeat accelerate and my arms tingle. Tam is just what Ren needs! She never treated him different because he's transgender, she always saw him as a man.
This story delves into some hard issues, and at times can be heart wrenching to read. It's jam packed with that dire urge for revenge, but it's also about learning to love yourself. Finding out who your true friends are is important. Surrounding yourself with the people who love you and accept you as you are, and finally being happy. Bad Boy is a perfectly written story!
* A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Elliot Wake Elliot Wake (formerly known as Leah Raeder) is a transgender author of four novels: Unteachable, Black Iris, Cam Girl, and Bad Boy. Aside from reading his brains out, Elliot enjoys video games, weightlifting, and perfecting his dapper style. He lives with his partner in Chicago.