This historical coming-of-age story set in Elizabethan London is a unique mix of fairytale atmosphere and the harsh reality for an outcast gender-fluid country boy. It was beautiful and poignant, desperate and hopeful at the same time, and with intriguing glimpses into Shakespeare’s world.
The story follows the young country boy John, who’s never fit into his village. Not only is he gender-fluid and often mistaken for a girl, he also sees magical creatures like faeries and hobglobins. Accused of causing his sister’s and mother’s deaths, he’s driven from his village to try and find a new life for himself in London. There he meets the fast-talking pickpocket Black Jack, who takes him under his wings. And when he first sees Shakespeare’s wondrous Globe theatre, John becomes convinced that this is where he truly belongs. But evil people have other plans for the ‘Fair One’ as they call the naïve John, and can Black Jack really be trusted to not give him up for money before John has made it to the theatre?
This story is completely unique. It’s something of a magical apparition of Shakespearean London and a historical and paranormal coming-of-age story full of adventure and feisty characters. I loved the dreamy atmosphere and the fairytale style, and the gender-fluid main character. I especially appreciated the discussion about labels and how hard it is when you don’t fit into any of them.
“But how can you be… something… if other people don’t recognize you’re… something? Don’t you just end up being nothing?”
I have to admit though that I struggled a bit with this story. Some parts were really confusing, and I never fully understood if some scenes actually happened or were just in John’s mind. There were also a lot of characters to keep track of and it was very unclear at times what or who they were and the role they played in the story.
But all in all, it was an enjoyable and beautifully written story about finding yourself and your purpose with a unique and interesting magical touch.
So, 3.5 stars rounding up to 4 for the uniqueness and great representation.
Thank you BookSirens for the free review copy. All opinions are my own and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
3.5 stars rounding up to 4
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alwyn Hamilton Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Mackenzi Lee Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally M. Tasia Nancy Garden Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Yamile Saied Méndez