Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 13 to 18
- Grade: 8 to 12
- Reading age: 13 to 18
Set in a small BC town, this is not a typical LGBTQ+ romance. Seventeen-year-old Lucien has a supportive family and community in Toronto but wants to make a new start somewhere nobody knows him. Going to stay with his aunt in Vernon, BC, presents challenges to fitting in — he is not comfortable with his hockey-watching, hard-partying cousins or the other kids at school. Eventually, Lucien finds a community of creative teens and meets the mysterious Alder. As Lucien finds out who Alder really is, he is able to find what is worthy of love in himself. Focusing on romance and speaking one’s truth rather than issues of gender identity, this story is a tender, light-hearted tale of finding love in unexpected places.
About the author
MARKUS HARWOOD-JONES is a writer, visual artist and documentary filmmaker. He has self-published the short story collections Confessions of a Teenage Transsexual Whore and Everything & All at Once; his feature film, Mosaic, tells the story of his journey across Canada and the United States to learn more about the trans community. He is author of the Lorimer Real Love teen romances, Just Julian and Romeo for Real. Markus lives in Toronto, Ontario.
"This story isn’t just about teen romance, but also gives subtle insights into the angst of many trans kids...Harwood-Jones has done a great job of characterizing the real emotions and anxieties of trans teens...This is a wonderfully hopeful story, and I can’t wait to put a copy in my junior high classroom library."
This brief read with a simplified style intended for reluctant and struggling teen readers, provides much-needed queer representation for this format.
Every teenager could identify with the need or want to start afresh where no one knows you, especially after a life-changing experience. Nonetheless, young LGBTQ+ youth will easily be able to see themselves reflected within the story.
CM Review of Materials