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 Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding 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 B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charli Meadows Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens Deonn Tracy D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller 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 Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez