An Epic Construct
by Dawn Cutler-Tran
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Pub Date 25 Feb 2023 | Archive Date Not set
Is a LGBTQ+ friendly dating app the answer to all of Penelope's dating woes? Her ex-girlfriend turned asexual best friend and roommate sure thinks so.
Within a few minutes of swiping, Penelope matches with the mysterious, yet charming Riley, who identifies as queer, but is slow to open up about his sexuality... and everything else.
As Penelope explores dating again, she gets the opportunity to MC a drag brunch, in full drag king regalia. For a long time, Penelope has had suspected she might be nonbinary, but that feels like something she'll sort out on her own eventually... right?
The drag brunch is a smashing success, and she meets a beautiful woman in the audience named Taylor. They begin forming a deep connection in their queerness and Taylor supports Penelope as she finally begins to explore her gender identity.
Penelope begins to notice similarities between Riley and Taylor, in the way they think, the way they talk, and most importantly in the way they make her feel. What if the two people she's falling for are more than just amazing, what if they're her soul mate?
Follow Penelope's journey as she navigates the ups and downs of dating, self-discovery, and the search for love and acceptance in a hilariously complicated and ultimately satisfying, queer love story.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 17 members
I can already tell this is going to be one of my favourites for 2023.
An Epic Construct follows Penelope as she navigates a new queer dating app as she tries to find love in her late 20's. What follows this is an incredible journey of friendship, love, sexuality, gender, consent, boundaries, communication, self discovery and acceptance. This book has so much depth but is presented in a way that's light-hearted and funny which made it such an enjoyable read.
The characters in this book have my entire heart, although the book primarily centres around Penelope, Riley and Taylor, there were so many incredible side characters who also had amazing representation and diversity. I find with books I sometimes get overwhelmed when there are so many pointless side characters, but each side character in An Epic Construct had a clear purpose and added so much more depth to the storyline and I could imagine the book without them.
I don't think my review could ever show how much I loved this book but I'll be recommending this book to everyone who will listen. An easy 5 Stars and an incredible debut from Dawn Cutler-Tran.
Thank you so much to The Paper House & NetGalley for providing me with this e-ARC in exchange for a voluntary honest review.
Wow. What a fantastic book! I wasn't even halfway through and I was already recommending this book to friends.
This book is a beautiful exploration of sexuality, gender, friendship, and romance. While the book centres around the characters of Penelope, Riley, and Taylor, we are also introduced to their close friends and family, all of whom are incredibly supportive, compassionate, kind, and with the exception of one straight character, are part of LGBTQPI+ community. Penelope, Riley, and Taylor are each on a journey of coming into their best and favourite selves, something I think so many of us are trying to do. In the case of these characters, it is largely concerning their gender and sexuality, but also how to be one's favourite self in a relationship, especially when it's new, tentative, and trust is slowly growing. I also love how the characters are trying new things, for example, Penelope hosting a drag brunch as a drag king. As she steps outside of her comfort zone, she is able to become more in tune with who she is and who she/they want to be.
The relationships that Penelope, Riley, and Taylor have with their friends are beautiful and, I think, something that we all deserve to have. Friends who love us, care for us, support, challenge us, cheer us on and cheer us up, who want the best for us. This book shows how powerful friendships can be, how important they are for our health and happiness.
This is a romance, so I would be remiss if I didn't speak to this element of the book. Well, the romance is extraordinarily well done, and even comes with a bit of a twist! While I clued in on the twist fairly early on, doing so only made me appreciate the writing of the book even more, the details and clues that are present.
Something I was so impressed with is how consent is approached in this book. It is explicit. It is often. There are discussions about boundaries, about needs, about preferences. And the characters are respectful, listen, and change their behaviours accordingly. When a character makes a mistake, even inadvertently, they own it and apologize.
Overall, I love this book. It is fantastic and I will happily recommend it to others. To note, while the characters are in their late 20s, I do think this is a book that people in their late teens could read and enjoy.
I understand there will be a second book and I will happily read it when it becomes available!
Thanks to NetGalley, The Paper House and the author for an e-ARC of the book. Opinions are entirely my own.
A beautifully written story about finding yourself, and finding love. This is one of most diverse casts I’ve ever seen in a book, with characters of various races, genders, ages, sexualities, and backgrounds. The representation was very well-done - this book clearly made the distinction that its characters weren’t stereotypes, but characters will full lives of their own, and for all identities that I can speak for (I’m nonbinary and asexual), I must say that the representation was respectful and relatable. I loved seeing Penelope meet Riley and the two of them work on each other and themselves through the course of the narrative. Penelope’s conversations with Taylor were something that I haven’t often seen - characters talking about their queerness so frankly and in such depths - and it was really well done. Each POV felt distinctive, the characters were likeable and if not relatable written to be understandable. The plot moved forward naturally as did the relationships - I never once found myself bored. The author has a lovely writing style that seamlessly blends dialogue, thoughts, and actions, and it was a joy to read. I will say, though, that you definitely have to be reading with a keen eye! I skimmed some parts of the earlier chapters when I was in a hurry and suffered a little for that later. Take the time to read this one - it’s definitely worth it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes romance novels and wants to learn more about the LGBTQ community, and anyone who is in the community - you’ll surely find yourself or a friend in some characters, or see how their experiences are different to yours.