This is not your average love story.
Ben Easton is not your average romantic hero. He’s a tattooed, badass, wannabe rock star, working in a perfectly horrible dive bar in Camden Town. His life is good, and he’s totally unprepared for how one man will turn it upside down.
Stan isn’t your average heroine. As a gender-fluid man, he proudly wears his blond hair long, his heels sky-high, and his makeup perfectly executed. A fashion industry prodigy, Stan is in London after stints working in Italy and New York City, and he quickly falls for Ben’s devil-may-care attitude and the warm, soft heart Ben hides behind it.
Beneath the perfect, elegant exterior, Stan has plenty of scars from teenage battles with anorexia. And it only takes the slightest slip for his demons to rush back in while Ben is away touring with his band. With the band on the brink of a breakthrough, Ben is forced to find a way to balance the opportunity of a lifetime with caring for his beautiful boyfriend.
What a perfect book to end one year and start the next. Gorgeous story telling. Characters that felt so real. I was absolutely captivated from the moment I picked it up.
Stanislav Novikov is a beautiful beautiful gender-fluid man. He wears makeup and feminine clothing and has long silky hair. He's a boy. He's a girl. He's Stan, and Ben loves all of him. Stan is a fashion writer, but he could easily be a model. However, Stan has battled anorexia since he was a young teen and he does not want anyone to idealize that. Plus, he's trying to live a more healthy lifestyle and modeling would likely put him smack in the middle of his eating disorder.
Ben Easton bartends and tutors and plays in a band. Ben doesn't exactly conform, either, having a mohawk, tattoos and wearing black, ripped up clothing. Ben is the kind of guy that wants to be who he is and also wants others to be who they are. He's a nurturer, through and through and Stan is beautiful and gorgeous and perfect to Ben, from the very start.
Ben and Stan's romance was gorgeous. It wasn't typical and there wasn't a bunch of unnecessary drama and angst. They're an ordinary couple who love quiet nights at home, cuddles on the couch, making love and just being with one another. That said, it wasn't always an easy read. Stan's anorexia is a serious issue and it's something he'll likely fight for the rest of his life. It isn't glossed over and it isn't treated flippantly, at all. And that is part of what makes The Impossible Boy just so good.
Also, In a year where gender identity has hit a high in the media, The Impossible Boy explores a different aspect of gender identity than what we commonly see. When Stan explains what being gender-fluid means to him, how it can be confusing, and not only learning how to express it, but also to accept and embrace it, we see another piece of the gender identity puzzle come into play. And never does it feel preachy or trite.
And I know it is a little early in the year to say this, but I will be shocked if The Impossible Boy doesn't make my top 10 of 2017.
ARC of The Impossible Boy was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
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