Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Hopeless Romantic by Francis Gideon

Nick Fraser is a true romantic. He wants the guy instead of the girl, but other than that, he wants everything his favorite rom-coms depict: the courtship, the passionate first kiss, the fairy-tale wedding. But after breaking up with the love of his life, Nick wonders if anything fairy-tale will ever happen for him.

Then he meets Katie, who’s just like a rom-com heroine. She’s sharp, funny, sweet, and as into music and punk culture as Nick is. What’s more, he’s incredibly attracted to her—even though she’s a woman. Nick has never considered that he might be bisexual, but his feelings for Katie are definitely real.

When Katie reveals that she’s transgender, Nick starts to see how much he doesn’t understand about the world, queer identity, and himself. He is hopelessly in love with Katie, but this isn’t a fairy tale, and Nick’s friends and family may not accept his new relationship. If he wants it all, he has to have the courage to make his fantasy a reality.

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Riptide Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I really struggled with this story. The author attempts to explore complex ideas about gender and sexuality, but the result feels more like an ill-informed and not terribly sensitive sex-ed resource than an actual romance.

Starting with Nick’s ‘straight for you’ storyline. He doesn’t understand his attraction to Katie and as a reader, there was never anything that made me believe the connection between the two of them was special enough to make him fancy a woman. His awkward blunders with regards to Katie’s gender and sexuality are enough to make more intimate moments uncomfortable rather than sexy. I wasn’t ever convinced he really liked her girl bits.

Again, for a romance, Katie is too uncomfortable in her own skin. She delays sex with Nick like a virgin Christian teenager. The awkwardness between these two means that there was very little heat or chemistry – and a good romance needs both.

The romance and the connection between Nick and Katie focuses on their shared love of obscure punk bands and romantic films. Some of the banter between the two is entertaining, but it feels like the author was trying to use classic romantic film references to make up for the absence of any sort of genuine romantic emotions in this story.

Beyond the romance, Nick and Katie are 29 and 31 respectively. Yet they both live and act like teenagers. Pretentious hipsters and perpetual students, I had very little time for either character. It’s fun to follow obscure bands and live on ramen noodles at 18. Or even at 21. At 29, Nick accepting money from his affluent parents is awful. I really couldn’t take these two seriously.

I also struggled with the negative comments about Nick’s roommate’s Ace identity. In a book focusing on gender and sexuality, the Ace slights seem thoughtless and they go unchallenged.

This is the second book I’ve read by this author. I loved The Taste of Ink but I found myself disappointed by this one.

Francis Gideon is a nonbinary writer who dabbles in romance, mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal genres. Francis credits music, along with being an only child to a single mother, as why they write so much now. Long nights at home were either spent memorizing lyrics to pop-punk bands or reading voraciously. Add a couple of formative experiences in university, a network of weird artist friends, and after years of writing stories Francis never showed to anyone, they now have books to their name.

After receiving an MA in English literature, Francis wanted to do something a bit more fun. They soon found the LGBTQ romance community and fell in love on the spot. Since then, Francis has attempted to balance writing romances with as many different types of couples as possible while also attending school for their PhD. When not writing fiction or teaching university classes, Francis works on scholarly articles on everything from character deaths in the TV show Hannibal, the online archive of Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, and transgender representation on YouTube. Francis is a middle name, used to keep students from Googling their teacher and asking far too many questions.

Francis lives in Canada with their partner, Travis, where they often spend nights disagreeing about what TV show to watch and making bad puns whenever possible. Travis receives dedications in Francis’s novels because he tolerates Francis’s long hours and listens to random story ideas late into the night. Francis also might be a bit of a hopeless romantic—as if you didn’t already guess.

Connect with Francis

Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Blog  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Hopeless Romantic by Francis Gideon to read and review.

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