Cover Image: Belle Révolte

Belle Révolte

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Member Reviews

In this magical YA Fantasy story, we are thrown into a world of swapped places and charged rebellions. The two main characters want different lives for themselves and strive for self discovery while also battling through the war outside. 

This book dives into gender roles through diverse scenerios, so if you love stories that have a strong focus on these traits, you will absolutely love this one! And the world building creates a fantasy world you can't put down.

I gave this one a solid 4 out of 5 stars. It was fairly entertaining and encompasses a unique, strong story!
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This was a 2 star for me. I enjoyed the story, but there were so many times I wanted to put the book down. The writing and characters were just meh for me.
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An enjoyable read that kept me hooked. It's well written, the cast of characters is interesting and the magical system amazing.
I strongly recommend it.
I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.
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Belle Révolte is a story with two interesting main characters told from their points of view. Emilie is a comtesse, and her mother wants her to study the magic of divination and scrying, when she only wants to become a physician. When she sees a peasant girl, Annette, that looks similar to her, she discovers her chance: Annette takes her place at the divination school, while Emilie goes off to pursue her dream of becoming a physician, even if it means hiding her noble background for a while.

I love how the main character takes control of her own destiny. Also, the world they inhabit is going through a tough time, ruled by a wicked king. Emilie, Annette, and some friends and work to overthrow the kingdom, making it better. I love stories like this.

Althought I enjoyed the story, some of the execution seemed to be lacking. There were some grammatical points that weren't caught in editing, and at times I had a hard time visualizing what was going on. I could overlook this, generally, because I liked the characters and premise.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, although it wasn't without some minor problems.
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3.25/5

The magic system in the story was interesting and very detailed. It was by far the strongest point to this story. The overall story was really interesting, although the catalyst for the narrative (the initial swap between the two girls) was ludicrously unbelievable. Given how much detail was invested into the rest of the story, this part felt very lacking.

Unfortunately the pacing also felt a bit off for me. The time jumps and transitions often felt abrupt. I also had trouble differentiating between the two main characters for the majority of the book. They sounded far too similar and I would often forget whose perspective I was reading from. And I really didn’t warm to any of the characters until near the end, which was a real pity because I could see the potential in the characters, they just felt a little flat. I did really like the different relationships that the author was trying to develop. I really appreciate stories that focus on strong friendships. 

Overall, I could see a lot of potential in this story but it just didn’t deliver what I was hoping for.
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A fantastic read featuring  a sapphic lead while another lead has a trans love interest. The romances, familial relationships and everything in between was a bit flawed and complex but it made for a more rounded story. It takes a great author to incorporate a story filled with magic and a new world while showcasing characters that can appeal to a wider audience. Well worth the read.
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I enjoyed this enough after reading only a chapter or 2 that I bought the book!! The magic system and the daughter-mother dynamics are fascinating. Excited to follow the rest of Emilie’s journey. Also, I am here for tired Ace rep.
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Well, this book was interesting. A very lilting story telling. With scenes kind of flowing in a weird, non stop pattern. We go from one action scene to the next without much in between. It wouldn't be a bad thing, it just had me confused more often than not. The magic system was very different (I liked that) but oh so confusing with a lot of different parts moving. Especially since there are two different paths, with branches going off each one. It was alot to comprehend especially when mostly it is shown in the fight scenes. 

The characters themselves were very very diverse. I loved all the different representation - not just choices in gender, but sexuallity as well. The different races mentioned as well - all kinds of different skin colors. All this diversity was mentioned slyly, without making a big deal about it. Especially the genedr/sexuality. Romance wasn't the leading notion for the actions of these characters. They had other incentives to act the way they do. Whether it was for the love of their family, people, or just the right moral choices in general. It was refreshing to say the least.

Overall if it wasn't for a slow build up of the story and the confusing magic system, I'd be more into this book.
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This book is built on coincidences that stretch my suspension of disbelief, and there are no characters I want to root for. The magic system is a retread without anything new. It's a passable YA fantasy but I wish it were more than that.
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As always, a copy of this book was provided by the authors in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. 

Part of me wants someone to pinch me because I cannot believe I finally read Belle Révolte. What I mean to say is, this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 and I'm just genuinely surprised I was able to read the ARC? Belle Révolte promised to be an indulgent fantasy, with twists and turns and solid representation. And, obviously, that is 100% my BRAND. But, I couldn't help but to feel a bit letdown by the novel itself.

My issues with Belle Révolte revolve mostly around a couple of things. I didn't feel much towards the characters and it took me a very long time to actually get into it. This isn't me knocking down Linsey Miller's writing abilities--it's just one of those books that, at the end of the day, wasn't fully for me. And that is okay. Belle Révolte is still worthy of a read.

While I did enjoy Belle Révolte to a degree, I struggled. I really found myself drifting in and out of focus for the first half of the novel. Especially the first quarter. There were times when I debated whether or not I wanted to continue reading or DNF it because it just wasn't connecting with me. I didn't know what to think.

Still, in a fit of optimism, I stuck with Belle Révolte. So here are some basics on what I did like about Belle Révolte: the magical system, although a bit confusing at first, was one of the best parts. Miller's worldbuilding was rich and complex; exactly what I hoped for in a fantasy. While they didn't always rub me the right way, I thought that the characters were all solid and well-written.

What I will say is that once Miller got into her grove, the story flowed a lot easier and I kept turning the pages. Belle Révolte's second act was far superior to the first and I honestly feel like I would have adored it, if the beginning had felt more like the ending. Belle Révolte truly shined in the end and I was fully captivated--that final half was what I had hoped, truly, from the rest of the novel.

Ultimately, I had some issues with this one, but didn't hate it by any means.
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This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. 

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication. 

#SourcebooksFire

𝑺𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆𝒔, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒔𝒕 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆𝒔, 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒉𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒆𝒏 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆’𝒔 𝒏𝒐 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒐 𝒊𝒕 𝒂𝒕 𝒂𝒍𝒍, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒆 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒏𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒂 𝒑𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒇𝒖𝒍𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝒂𝒔𝒉 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒅 𝒇𝒖𝒍𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝒎𝒆𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒘𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒏𝒅. - 𝑳𝒊𝒏𝒔𝒆𝒚 𝑴𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒓, 𝑩𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒆 𝑹𝒆𝒗𝒐𝒍𝒕𝒆

#bellerevolte

Belle Révolte by Lindsey Miller is a YA LGBT Fantasy novel about a noble who switches places with a commoner to follow their true desires! 

Belle Revolte is a spellbinding mystical realism tale, cleverly set in a French inspired world. Where the magic that is used is known as the noonday arts and the midnight arts. 
Emilie a noble born girl who has a deep desire to become a physician’s day use the dark noonday arts, but sadly only men can aspire to that profession. A chance encounter with a young girl who could be her Identical twin, she decide to switch places with this young commoner Annette. 

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her daunting family, wants more from life than her retched humble beginnings and will do anything in desperation to be trained in magic. When oddly strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime... what is a girl to do...of course accepts.

Both girls go against what has been preconceived for them in their gender and social classes and change their destiny. A rebellion is growing in their kingdom and the tides of change are in the horizon. 
All in all this was a fast paced Ya fantasy with captivating characters and vibrant fantasy world building. 

**There is trans and ace (asexual) representation in this book and honestly, One of my the first time reading a young adult fantasy, that actually had asexual representation! There is some romance in the book, but this story is not romance driven, which I was glad of. **
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The Prince & The Pauper meets a fantasy France with a unique magic system in Belle Revolte. I had some trouble getting into the novel, but once I learned more about Emilie and Annette's journey, I was 100% committed. This fast-paced fantasy is a standalone, but a part of me wants to return to the world already.
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Belle Révolte is a French-inspired fantasy that mixes magic, medical care and revolution in a really great way. I loved it.


Belle Revolte CoverEmilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.
Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.


 
Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a frivolous war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies. (Goodreads) 
Goodreads

I received an ARC of Belle Révolte from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
It’s no secret that I loved Linsey Miller’s Mask of Shadows series, so I was very excited when Belle Révolte was announced, especially because of the ace rep. When I learned I would be getting a physical copy from the publisher, I was over the moon.

It does need trigger warnings for sibling deaths (on and off the page), on page but not gory executions (beheading), references to child neglect and abuse, discussions of drowning, violence, murder, gore, medical neglect, abuse, and violence.

Annette, one of our main characters, is an asexual biromantic woman. Y’all know I love some ace rep. Her romance was a great relief from all of the super high stakes stuff going on around them, and I loved the way the hidden identity changed things

Miller made it clear that the nation they live in a binary society, but there are still nonbinary people and trans people in it. None of them are ever misgendered and there is no trans-focused violence. There is one coming out scene from a trans man side character but it was handled really well.

I won’t say a lot about the plot, but I will say it was rather on-the-nose to be reading this at the same time as the American government assassinated Qasem Soleimani. I loved the way Miller dealt with medical ethics and revolution, and I hope more fantasy books deal with medical practice in the future.

Overall, I loved it. if you couldn’t tell. You might, too. Pick up a copy for yourself from Amazon, Indiebound or Book Depository through our affiliate links!
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Emilie des Marais comes from a noble family. She is expected to learn the more ‘delicate’ midnight arts rather than follow her true dream of serving her country as a physician and practising the noonday arts, but it is deemed too gruesome work for a noble lady to partake in. Annette Boucher is desperate to be trained in magic – midnight arts in particular. She comes from a humble background but is often overlooked and overworked by her family. Desperate to escape her noble roots, Emile approaches Annette and has a solution to both their problems. Emile suggests swapping lives-Annette attends school as a noble lady to be trained in the midnight arts, while Emilie becomes a physician’s assistant. Soon, a war breaks out, and both Emile and Annette must help the rebellion to end a war.


I’ve had my eye on Belle Révolte for a little while now, it was mainly the cover that initially drew my attention because it is absolutely stunning. But, I also heard that it had a f/f romance and was full of magic. I had already read one of her previous novels Mask of Shadows which I also really enjoyed. The two books are worlds apart as Belle Révolte is a more slow and drawn out novel with much more focus on her world and her characters relationships. I adored it.

Belle Révolte features a binary gendered magic system with one deemed more powerful than the other. The noonday arts, primarily practiced by men, are deemed to be the stronger magic – it is used in medicine and it is used on the battlefield. The midnight arts is traditionally practiced by women. It involves divination, scrying, and illusions. But magic has a cost – a sacrifice. It wears the user down, deteriorates their body until the user either dies or can no longer use magic. Which is where the class system comes in. Poor and common people are often used as ‘hacks’ by the ruling elite who often channel their own magic through the ‘hacks’ so they themselves don’t have to bear the consequences. I thought it was a really developed magic system and I really loved how throughout the book you learned that the binary system that has been enforced is complete bullshit – magic is not as confined to the strict binary system as believed.

The characters were the best and most well developed aspect of the novel in my opinion. Belle Révolte follows two different characters – Annette and Emilie. It is really hard to pick a favourite as both characters were great and I equally adored their own respective storylines. Emilie was fierce and sharp. Throught the novel she goes through some really great character development and really learns to understand her priviledge.

‘”All power has a cost,” she said as the carriage slowed to a stop, “and you were born with power-yourtitle, your wealth, your magic. This is your cost, Emilies des Marais and it is your duty to pay it. Power demands sacrifice.”

Emilie’s story also featured a m/f rivals to lovers romance and it was glorious. Annette is equally deserving of adoration. She is determined and kind and she struggles to fit in at the finishing school for obvious reason – the food, the glamour, and the wealth. For Annette it is all too much. Annette is also sapphic and asexual and there is a lovely f/f romance with a baker/alchemist!

I also really enjoyed the rebellion and revolt and I loved how both Annette and Emilie each got involved in the rebellion for their own reasons. I also loved how in the rebellion everyone was ‘Laurel’.

If you love rebellions, magic, and found family – then Belle Révolte is the book for you.
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Belle Revolte by Linsey Miller is such a good book. The story sucks you in right away and it is so hard to put the book down. The characters were so wonderful. I fell in love with them right away. I am so happy I was given the chance to meet Emilie and Annette. They are forever going to be dear to my heart. 

The magic system in Bell Revolte is very interesting. The society has broken the magic down by gender. Males are to become physicians and hacks. Females are supposed to focus on the midnight arts like scyring. Both you come to find out this is a farse. Male or female can be blessed with either type of magic. It is just the society trying to control the magic. This magic had some major consequences. It really costed each individual a lot to use their magic.

I found that I really enjoyed all the characters. They each had their own motive as to why they made the choices that they did but it was amazing to watch as their team work grew and how they all ended up working together for the same goals. Annette thought she would never get a chance to study the midnight arts but there she was. Emilie was told over and over that she couldn't be a physician or a hack but she found a way. I loved their determination and their friendship with each other. It was so amazing to have two amazing female leads.

The writing. People the WRITING! There are so many amazing quotes you can take from this book. I absolutely loved them all. I shared some above. Definitely pick up this book and discover them for yourself.

I think the only constructive feedback I have is I wish there was more. I feel like this story and world could have had more. It was so disappointing when it ended because I wanted more from these beautiful characters. Really this is just me complaining about wanting more from this fabulous book.
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Once I finally got to this book I didn’t want to put it down. The twisting of almost 2 possibly separate books was just fantastic. I want to know more about Annette and Emilie on their own as well as  after their friendship but Miller gave you enough to be satisfied as well. Might be one of my favourites doe 2020.
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This gave off  "Reverie" vibes and I wasn't feeling it. There were just too many similarities and I just had a hard time engrossing myself in the read. Maybe it's my reading slump or just the novel itself, I just couldn't connect with lead characters Emilie and Annette nor the storyline despite loving the LGBT concept. It's not you, it's me I swear!
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This book felt incredibly relevant in moments. Considering it's very much historical fantasy, the societal power struggles could have been drawn word for word from current events. It made the plot even more impactful, and added so many depths to it that I've been hungering to re-read it since I finished the last page. Reading all of my saved quotes for this review made me want to read it all over again (and honestly I'd saved dozens of quotes, so choosing one or two was nearly impossible, I even broke my rule for how many I use in a review). I'm absolutely certain that this is one of those books that will only get better the more times I read it, and once my TBR has been wrangled, I'm going to pick it back up again.

I'm usually a very fast reader, but I savoured this one. Sometimes I felt a little slowed down by all the names. I haven't read a lot of historical fiction, it's a genre I've only recently fallen in love with. Belle Révolte isn't actually historical fiction, it's definitely fantasy, but it has that historical fantasy air to in the way that the characters and settings are described. It felt very French revolution to me, which I adored, but it also meant that everyone had a million titles and that slowed me down as I occasionally got confused between character names. This was definitely a me thing and not a book thing, and I figured it out once I plugged my brain in. I will say that I found the end a smidge rushed. It felt like there was a lot of time and detail put into the beginning of the book and then suddenly it was over and done with all at once. The pacing was generally good, I just could have had another ten or twenty pages during the final act, rather than hitting 'the end' so abruptly.

Privilege and how it's used is a huge theme throughout the book. It seemed to leap off every page for me, and I absolutely loved that. It didn't feel lecture-y, it was threaded into every page of the story beautifully. Emilie was hugely, hugely privileged. She's a comtess, rich and well-educated and off to study at a highly prestigious school. It's not what she wants, but that doesn't send her into the YA-character trap of being ungrateful for her opportunities and dismissing the crazy amount of privilege she has. Instead, Emilie spends the entire book acknowledging her privilege and the way that it has blinded her. It was really motivating to see Emilie acknowledging her privilege and Annette, using Emilie's name and status, mobilising it. Annette used Emilie's family money and status with absolutely no regret to tackle aspects of inequality that she was able to impact, like pay for workers and lower-class members of society, and ultimately to support the rebellion. She is willing to cut ties without mercy if her friends won't stand up for what's right and I love her. Annette Boucher would eat the rich and I would help her.

They're not selfless all the way through, and I'm glad for that. Both girls developed so authentically and beautifully. Initially, Emilie wants to be a hero. She wants people to know her name. Annette, always told she couldn't, wants to revenge-succeed and prove them wrong. It's completely authentic YA selfishness. I spent most of my teenage years daydreaming about fame and renown, so I can't throw stones. By the end of their character arcs, they're seeing a picture bigger than themselves and acting as part of a larger motion. They want to do good, instead of be known for good, and it's a shift that makes them so empowering to read about. I want to be like Annette and Emilie.

The greater picture they become part of is that rebellion against the absolutely monstrous monarchy. But Belle Révolte doesn't hide behind safety nets and protect characters from death. It doesn't hide the realities of conflict against a power far greater than your own. Innocents die, and they die in miserable ways. Characters you will absolutely love are martyred, and it's all done with complete self-awareness. To win a war, good people have to die, and everyone in the rebellion was willing to give up everything to save their nation. The high-stakes rebellion was so tense to read, especially in the early sections of the book where I didn't know who the girls could trust any better than they did, so every time they revealed their allegiances my heart was in my throat wondering if they were making a mistake in telling the truth. It was intense.

The representation in this book hit me like a brick. I knew it had ace-spec rep, so I was waiting for that, but I wasn't expecting the power the scene had. I'm aro, not ace, but I always say they're sibling-sexualities. When one of the characters described her asexuality, it was done in a way that I'd never seen before. I won't spoil the specific way it's described, but I've borrowed Linsey Miller's beautiful words since to explain my aromanticism to people who don't quite understand it. It's described in a way that completely rejects the idea that aro/ace-spec people are 'missing' or 'broken', and it was so beautiful I immediately tracked down my ace-spec best friend to read her the passage. I can't personally speak to the trans-rep, but it felt respectful from an outside perspective and it wasn't used as a plot twist (I fucking hate that) while still highlighting how hard it is to come out and how transitioning isn't the end of coming out for a lot of people. There were just queer girls and queer boys everywhere and I was so happy to see all of them.
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Disclaimer: I received a Netgalley arc of this book from the publisher and a physical arc from @littleshopofstories! Thanks guys! All opinions are my own.

Book: Belle Revolte

Author: Linsey Miller

Book Series: Standalone so far

Rating: 3.5/5

Diversity: Asexual lesbian main character, trans men, lesbian representation, this book is just full of representation!

Publication Date: February 4, 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 14+ (some gore, some violence, parent trap escapades, and some love)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Pages: 384

Amazon Link

Synopsis: Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a frivolous war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies.

Review: For the most part, this book was very enjoyable. The book had a complex and unique magic system that was so cool and the characters were very likable. The book is also full of French influence and is an exciting read filled with twists and turns.

However, I had some issues reading this book. I felt like the book was really hard to get into in the beginning. The beginning was really rocky and disconnected from the rest of the book. The magic system was fully explained in my opinion and that made for a somewhat of a confusing read. I think the book could have done better at explaining the magic and the first few chapters could be smoothed out to flow better and slide the reader better into this world.

Verdict: An exciting read, but somewhat confusing at the beginning.
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“We were all nothing but lightning in a bloody bottle.”

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the advance copy in exchange for my review.

This book is about two girls who switch places so that one can get the education she wants in the midnight arts and the other can follow her dream of training in the noonday arts and becoming a physician. And then they get involved in the revolution. 

I thought this book was so much fun to read! The magic system was super interesting. I’m always a big fan of “magic training” books, especially if we get to see different types of magic in the universe. I think it’s fun to see how the characters grow into their powers and how it develops the storyline along the way. The different things they were trained to do and how the training different along their chosen magical field was pretty cool to see. 

I loved all these characters. Everyone, even the side characters, were so interesting. And you have to love a really good found family story. I simple adore seeing a cast of characters band together and fight for each other. We could have so easily seen Annette and Emilie simply treat their relationship as a business transaction and instead we got a lovely friendship and a whole lot of them looking out for one another throughout a war. 

There’s a lot of diversity in regards to sexuality and gender in this story. Annette is asexual and she has explicit conversations about what this means for her. Another of our side/main characters is a lesbian and many characters we meet are transgender or nonbinary and many use they/them pronouns.

I really adored everything about this book and while I think the story ended wonderfully, I think this is the first time I’ve been sad that something isn’t a series.
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