Cover Image: A Furry Faux Paw

A Furry Faux Paw

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Member Reviews

There is so much that I could say about this book. I suppose I should start with: I DEVOURED this! Literally did not want to put it down. I am not a member of the furry community, and my mother is not a hoarder, but I REALLY resonated with Mauve and the relationship that she has with her mother. I loved the hopeful ending, and I loved LOVED seeing Mauve surrounded by such a fantastic group of friends. I could picture the con so vividly, too!! All the descriptions were so amazing, and it made me want to BE in the setting. Absolutely loved and adored this one!
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Maeve Stephens has a life online as MauveCat, an anthropomorphic cat who does excellent artwork. In real life, she navigates her mother's hoarding and tries to just make it through high school. As a present for missing graduation, her father gives her tickets and a room to Furlympia, the local furry convention in Olympia, Washington. Her mother doesn't approve, so she runs away there with her friend Jade. But the real world and the world with her furry friends can't stay separated forever. Can she let them in?

I feel like I'm reading a lot of YA so far this year that I appreciate but don't entirely understand. Like, I'm still not sure about this furry community although it seems pretty tame in this book. Just people who like dressing up like animals--not that far off from being a mascot. I really appreciated the look at hoarding in this book, as well as what it is to be someone who wants to be a people pleaser all the time and always be happy. I can relate to that a lot. Other relatable things about this book include learning to trust your friends with your own self, as well as what it's like to live with someone who has a mental illness (and when you have to make boundaries with that situation.)
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#AFurryFauxPaw #NetGalley
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher of this novel for the E-Arc copy. I am rating this book based on my own personal opinion and was not given anything in return. I am not leaving a entire review because I read so many at a time that I physically cannot right now.
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The representation in this story is sorely needed and much appreciated! Topics covered included hoarding and mental illness which is very rarely seen in YA. I don't know that I've ever read a book about furries either--this book is going to speak directly to a certain teen audience and it will end up being their lifeline.  I really loved the cover--I think it's fun and will be an easy sell to teens. 

Some parts of the novel felt a little repetitive, but it was a great look at Convention life and what it means to be authentic to yourself. It was a great message to see Maeve find her people and be accepted as she was. I'm excited to see what Kara comes out with next!
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“I don’t think I can save her. And I don’t think I can try anymore.”

I was really excited and interested to see furry repp in YA! Woohoo! Right away I was pulled in by the protagonist and her life with an agoraphobic hoarding mom. I love how they show the disconnect the mom has with her daughter. Too relatable. The situation is very compelling for why she’d have specifically a cat fursona. Fursonas sometimes can connect to one’s life experiences and be a coping mechanism (not all), so it’s interesting to see how the cat connects to living in a hoarder’s house.  I'm not a furry so I can’t speak for furries, but as an autistic con-goer/geek, the portrayal seemed authentic and very relatable. I appreciated how authentic and positive the portrayal of fandoms was, especially when there's a lot of false and negative info out there (especially for the furry community). 

Kara does a really great job conveying a con, as well as the tension one can feel being obligated to take care of those who should be taking care of them. I especially resonated with: "““It’s not your job,” he says, pointing firmly at me, “to take care of her.”/ “Someone has to,” I cry,"" and how easy it is to feel trapped in an unhealthy dynamic of taking care of someone who doesn't give back. I love the critical point about healthy relationships, and finding give/take dynamics instead of someone who only takes. It's a powerful journey of learning when and how to walk away. 

I also appreciated the acknowledgement/exploration of ace identity. The growing friendship with Paige, and seeing her more complexly as the novel progressed was so compelling and relatable. I really resonated with all these characters and how well-rounded they were on the page.

TDLR; I emotionally connected and resonated with several aspects of this book, and found the story well paced narratively. Maeve's struggles are compelling, and model a valuable lesson about setting healthy boundaries while still loving others. I really loved this book. I love how it shows how healing fandoms can be, an how critical fandom communities are. I hope people who aren’t in fandoms will read this and get a better appreciation for why fandoms are critical for identity and community.  Highly, highly recommended!
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Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for a review!

So, I didn’t know much about Furries up until this book, other than some memes that circulate around the Internet. I was very pleased to get this book and learn more about it.

The book learned me that it’s about bringing out your through self with the help of turning yourself into an animalistic character. It’s not about the weird stuff or bizarre things people sometimes mention.

Was this book great? Hmmm, I feel like it provided exactly what it said it was. It was a fun, cute read and I definitely feel like people who are in fandoms will like the convention scene a big part of the book takes place in. 
Maeve was an okay main character, although a bit winy from time to time. 

All in all, this book was definitely okay and I’m glad I was able to read it.
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This book is not meant for me, and I was never going to love it. I'm sure it will mean a lot to some teens, and I'm glad for them that they'll have that (as long as they take away a pro-therapy message from the end of the book). I definitely found the second half of the book to be much more enjoyable than the first half, despite how dramatic it got. I did find the ending a bit rushed though. I think Kara has a lot of promise as a writer, and I would definitely consider checking out future books by her if the subject was more of interest to me.
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This book handled the complexities of living in a hoarder's home very well--Maeve/Mauve's experience of feeling both miserable in her mom's house but also unable to leave her mom behind is written with sensitivity and nuance. Other than the hoarding aspect, the writing was perhaps *too* nuanced. There was wayyy too much detail given about every thought that passed through the narrator's head, making some parts exhausting to read. The verbiage of the book was odd at times--no noun went unaccompanied by an adjective, if not a long winded modifier. The book also seemed to have moments of virtue signaling about the good that furries do in society, which usually disrupted the flow of the book and felt almost like propaganda. I think 11-17-year-olds looking for fiction about the furry fandom will enjoy how thorough this book described this community, but other readers might find the pacing a bit slow and the premise a bit off-putting.
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I think the strongest part of this story is the relationship between Maeve/Mauve and her mom. The stress and fear and care there are very present and visceral throughout. Otherwise, the pacing is off (there's way too much about the order of performances at graduation, and what they all eat for dessert at the restaurant), and not much of a change in the energy throughout; it's mostly the day-in, day-out of going to a convention. I also think it's tonally much closer to a middle grade book despite the fact that the protagonist is 17-18. It is a quick read, though, and I hope it finds its audience.
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I had a… challenging time with this book. It’s not even about the book being about furries—swap that out for any other fandom, and it would still feel a bit shallow and one-dimensional. There are too many Hamilton references for my comfort, the gay best friend is constantly described the way you’d describe a love interest, there are way too many characters to keep track of, and the protagonist really doesn’t experience any growth until the epilogue. The narrative style itself also felt a bit childish and immature, to the point where I questioned if the protagonist was truly 18 years old. 

All of these factors considered, I won’t be reviewing this in my newspaper column or on TikTok! I prefer to keep things positive.
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