Seventeen-year-old Callie Canter knows all about screwing up—and being screwed over. After her so-called boyfriend publicly humiliated her senior year, taking a fifth year of high school at Beaufort Hills Academy is her second chance to leave behind a painful past. But her need for social acceptance follows, and going along with the in-crowd is the difference between survival and becoming a target. Staying off the radar is top priority. So, falling for an outsider is the last thing on Callie’s “to-do” list. Too bad her heart didn’t get the memo.
With his strict, religious upbringing and former identity far away in Florida, Jayden Morrissey can finally be true to himself at Beaufort Hills Academy. But life as a trans man means keeping secrets, and keeping secrets means not getting too close to anyone. If he can just get through his fifth year unnoticed, maybe a future living as the person he was born to be is possible. Yet love is love, and when you fall hard enough, intentions crumble, plans detour, and secrets are revealed.
From multi-award-winning author Mia Kerick, comes a powerful, timely, and life-changing novel, which follows two teenagers nursing broken hearts and seeking acceptance, and who together realize running away isn’t always the answer.
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son, heading off to college. (Yes, the nest is finally empty.) She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing scholarship essays. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it’s a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled people in complex relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for Young Adult e-book Fiction, among other awards.
Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology. Contact Mia at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit at www.miakerickya.com to see what is going on in Mia’s world.
After grabbing coffee at Central Campus Cafe, Lauren and I gravitate to our usual seat in Post Grad Advanced Psychology class in the Tremont Building.
All Boy by Mia Kerick
I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started reading All Boy. I wasn’t expecting a book that hit me right in the feels. I didn’t expect a book that made me cry, get angry, and then cry again. I didn’t expect a book that made me think about it long after I finished it.
I rarely do this, but I want to let everyone know about the triggers upfront. They would be bullying (viral, transphobic, homophobic), body image issues, emotional abuse, stalking, and assault. So, if any of these triggers you, then I suggest finding another book. If not, then read my review and determine if this book interests you enough to read.
There are two main storylines in All Boy before its merges into the main one. The first storyline is all about Callie. Callie is a hot mess when the book starts. She is at Beaufort Hills to repeat her senior year of high school. But, she seems to be hell-bent on repeating her mistakes from the previous year. Jayden is also at Beaufort Hills to repeat his senior year. Jayden is hoping that living at Beaufort Hills will ease his transition into living as a trans man. The only thing, he has to keep his trans status secret, which he has no problem doing until he meets Callie. As his relationship with Callie amps up, Jayden’s secrets become harder to tell her. Then something awful happens. Something that tests Callie and Jayden’s relationship. What will happen? Can they overcome it?
Even though I didn’t like Callie, I did feel bad for her. She was a hot mess when she came to Beaufort Hills. I was expecting her to repeat the mistakes from her senior year, and it looked like she was heading that way. By the middle of the book, I despised her. She couldn’t see past herself. She had no clue how her reactions to Jayden after the assault affected him. All she could think of was herself and how she was affected. But, after her talk with Lauren, I saw her character shift. She became someone who I wouldn’t have recognized at the beginning of the book. By the end of the book, I still didn’t like her, but I did respect her. Her actions in MA and Florida earned her my respect.
I loved Jayden. My heart hurt for him when he was explaining his backstory. No one should live with the level of anxiety that he did. I got his interest in Callie. I also got why he was playing it safe. He didn’t know how she would react if she found out that he was a trans man. I understood why he left Beaufort Hills after the assault. I also realized why he went home. I will say that I was glad that he had his sister to support him. He needed it. It hurt me to see how vulnerable he was, how hurt and scared when Callie showed up. My heart broke for him.
The end of All Boy had me alternately smiling and crying. I loved that Shawn and his group got what they deserved. I loved what happened between Jayden and Callie. I loved that there was somewhat of a happy ending.
I would give All Boy an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.
I would reread All Boy I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**