Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker (2017)

felix yzThis unusual story with an LGBTQA+ diverse cast is both humorous and thought-provoking.

Recommended grade level: 6-8

Pages: 283 (for ISBN 9780425288504)

Genre(s) and keywords: science fiction, humor, LGBTQA+, diverse

Tone/Style: epistolary, conversational

Pace: moderate to fast

Topics: aliens, accidents, impending surgery, crushes

Themes: death, family, being different 

Summary: Felix is thirteen. When he was three, because of a science experiment gone wrong, he was fused with a fourth-dimensional being named Zyx, who communicates by using Felix’s fingers to type. Counting down to a risky procedure to separate them again, Felix blogs about a boy at school he likes, a bully, his mom’s annoying boyfriend, the threeness of things, and more, and we meet an Estonian chess grandmaster, Felix’s piano genius sister, his gender-switching grandparent, the denizens of the House on Harmony Street, and many other quirky and fascinating folks. (Source)

Who will like this book?: Those who read a lot and are tired of the same old thing will find this refeshingly new. It provides lots to ponder and some colorful characters. Many  readers will appreciate the plethora of LGBTQA+ characters and the fact that the book addresses the topic of gender fluidity.

Who won’t like this book?: This book is weird. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the reader. Those who like action and a lot of plot may find it is lacking in those things. Social conservatives will not like its progressive ideas on gender and sexuality.

Other comments: This book strikes an unusual balance between funny and serious. It also plays with language in interesting ways through Zyx. It is one of the most LBTQA+ diverse books I have ever read: Felix is gay, his mom is bi, and he has a gender fluid grandparent.

Sequel(s): n/a

Readalikes: This is a hard one. The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm is similar in its weird scientific scenario and focus on family relations.  Readers looking for funny stories that normalize LGBTQA+ matters should try Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan.

-Kylie Peters

Image credit: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32078786-felix-yz

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