Welcome to my stop of the Princess of Baker Street blog tour.
I'd been looking forward to reading this book for quite some time and I'm excited to finally share my review with you!
Big thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate.
Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
“Always wear your imaginary crown” is Joey Kinkaid’s motto. For years, Joey, assigned male at birth, led the Baker Street kids in daring and imaginative fantasy adventures, but now that they’re teenagers, being a princess is no longer quite so cool. Especially for a child who is seen by the world as a boy.
Eric Sinclair has always been Joey’s best friend and admirer—Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel—but middle school puts major distance between them. As Eric’s own life takes a dangerous turn for the worse, he stands by and watches as Joey—who persists in dressing and acting too much like a Disney princess for anybody’s comfort—gets bullied. Eric doesn’t like turning his back on Joey, but he’s learned that the secret to teenage survival, especially with and absent mother, is to fly under the radar.
But when Joey finally accepts who she is and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies make her life such a misery that she decides to end it all. Eric, in turn, must decide who he really is and what side he wants to stand on… though no matter what he chooses, the consequences with be profound for both teens, and they’ll face them for years to come.
Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?
Trigger warnings: Transphobia, suicide, parental abandonment.
I'm going to start by saying that I can't comment on how well this book represents trans issues/the trans community and that I am still myself learning more about the different genders and sexuality.
From the synopsis, it's clear that this is in no way an easy, fluffy read, and it features some incredibly heavy and hard to deal with themes.
It actually surprised me that the story was told from Eric's perspective, when, given the synopsis, I expected it to have been from Joey's.
Eric is an extremely complex character. He's living alone following his mother's abandonment, he's trying his hardest stay under the radar so that no one finds out and in his attempts he loses a part of himself, the part that cares for his best friend.
Joey is a truly beautiful soul. She wants to live her own life by being true to who she is, and the view, through Eric's eyes, of her struggles and challenges is more than traumatic.
"Are you the roadkill or the vulture?" I ask. "I'm the one who's getting ripped into pieces."
Personally, I struggled a little with the writing. I'm not sure if it was because of mistakes exactly, or the style itself, I just felt as though it jolted me out of the story a few times. But, saying that, the pace and character development was fantastic!
"Even through my coat, the weight of her hand feels good because I been so lonely in my cold house this week, but the panic in her expression rips the good away."
Whilst there is a lot of pain and torment in this novel, I do think that it's important for young people, especially those who are trans to know that they're not alone, and also for non-trans teens so that they can better understand the challenges faced by their peers and how just being a good friend can make all the difference.
"I flop back on the bed and say the only important thing left. "Just tell Joey I'm sorry."
Through all of the pain and heartache, I feel that at the very heart of this story is a strong message about being true to yourself, standing up for what's right and important, and the real power of friendship.
"But you're the princess of Baker Street."
Click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card! The giveaway is open internationally so everyone can enter and it's hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.
Don't forget to click the banner at the top to follow the rest of the tour and feel free to leave your comments below :)
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Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
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