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Showers, Flowers, and Fangs by Aidan Wayne Release Day Review

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Book Info

About the Author
Aidan Wayne lives with altogether too many houseplants on the seventh floor of an apartment building, and though the building has an elevator, Aidan refuses to acknowledge its existence. They’ve been in constant motion since before they were born (pity Aidan’s mom)—and being born didn’t change anything. When not moving Aidan is usually writing, so things tend to balance out. They mostly stick with contemporary romance (both adult and YA), but some soft sci-fi/fantasy has been known to sneak in as well, and they primarily write character-driven stories with happy endings. Because, dammit, queer people deserve happy endings too.
Author Website
Publication Date
December 11, 2018
Available Formats
epub, mobi, pdf
Pages
190
ISBN
978-1-64080-435-7
ASIN
B07H6NMBVP
Darren is your average half-human, half-fae trans teenager, busy figuring out his powers and puberty while trying to survive finals. When Vlad, a newly turned vampire, moves in with the witch down the street, he and Darren get off on the wrong foot. Darren is always one to give somebody a second chance, though, and as they become friends, he realizes Vlad is just lonely and struggling with his new powers. That’s something Darren can definitely relate to, and he’s happy to lend his support. But while he coaxes Vlad out of his shell, Darren ends up learning about Vlad’s past… and the danger Vlad is in. Darren only wants to help—help Vlad feel comfortable in his own skin and help him feel safe.

He hadn’t planned on falling in love.

Editor review

1 review
Excellent!
Overall
 
5.0
 ** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
 
 POV: 3rd person, one character
 Would I read it again?: Of course!
 Genre: LGBT, YA, Fae, Trans, Fantasy, MM, Paranormal, Vampire
 

 Ugh, this was just...lovely, sweet, and everything I needed from a book.

 First off, kudos to Aidan Wayne for writing a trans, FTM main character who is REAL! And for understanding the plight that is period week. I mean, thank you! This was everything I hoped for and everything teenagers need. Whether a trans kid picks this up and feels better about not being alone in the struggle, or a cis kid picks it up and can understand their trans friend better, this story has a lot to give. It has the understanding, a non-lecturing exploration of trans life as a teenager, and a really beautiful romance and self-discovery plot that leave you with the warm and fuzzy feeling that says “this was so good I'll read it again.”

 It had real struggles for a teenager going through puberty, while dealing with the emotional and physical fallout of being a trans teen. Binding, periods, the self-doubt and self-acceptance, the self-image issues, and all while being a half-Fae, adding in magical abilities to everything else Darren is going through. AND exams! This story felt so much like an authentic #ownvoice story that I had no trouble connecting to, embracing, appreciating and relating to Darren as a main character. Some of his struggles are universally “teenager” and “high school” while some were specifically trans-related, and yet, I'm a cis, white, asexual female and I never once had trouble connecting to him or understanding his journey. That's a sign of good writing, right there.

 The writing was just my style. It gave me what I needed to understand and follow the story, without being overbearing or overly descriptive. It had characterisation that didn't require stopping for info-dumps, and it had real, honest to God awkward teenage conversations. It was like being taken straight back to high school all over again, and remembering the stuttering, uncertain way it felt to be a teenager, never knowing what to say or do, never sure how to act, or what was appropriate. Yet, Darren and Vlad both talk openly – argue plenty, too – about Darren's transition, Vlad's background, race, orientation. Just in that really awkward way that teenagers do. Through misunderstandings, misjudging, misinterpreting a conversation, and then having to actually spell it out when things boil to a head.

 The plot is really original. I've never seen vampires explored in this way before. With a teen vampire, recently turned, trying and floundering through learning how to be a vampire. Making mistakes. Nearly killing himself with those mistakes. It was really cleverly conceived and well written. I loved that it didn't linger throughout school classes, since Darren and Vlad's interactions all happened outside of school. And though there were time jumps of a few days at a time, quite often, it felt natural for the story. We got to see enough of Darren's friendship with the girls, Trisha and Beth, to get a real sense of their personalities as well as their connection and friendship.

 Darren's friendship with Vlad, in a similar way, was really nicely explored throughout the book. It wasn't until nearly 70% that things became “more than friends” and especially awkward for it. Until then, we got to watch these two kids drift from total strangers to grudging companionship, to best friends, and then into boyfriends. And it was really lovely to see. To watch the chemistry build over time, while they battled other issues, learned about their magic, and began to trust each other. I loved that Darren and Vlad were each strong in different ways, they each had their own talents and strengths, and they supported each other. Darren didn't allow Vlad to get away with false bravado, while Vlad didn't allow Darren to remain too reckless, yet they each supported and cared about the other, looking after each other, when things didn't go to plan.

 The story artfully broke down gender expectations, subtly and without show, to a point where there was no obvious gender divide. Beth was female, but a future Alpha figure; Trish was female, but romantic and thoughtful; Darren was FTM, yet was strong, adventurous, and sometimes dramatic; Vlad was male, but nervous, afraid and unsure. There was a freedom of voice in both the main and secondary characters that made it honest and real.

 And all wrapped up with a beautiful, totally fitting, cover. One that I'll be making space on my bookshelf for, so I can buy the paperback the minute it's available.

 ~

 Favourite Quotes

 “Shut up, your face is dumb.”

 ““I didn't almost die,” Vlad muttered, following Darren. “You are exaggerating.”
 Darren clutched at his chest. “I would never.”
 “I do not even know why I like you.”
 “But you do like me.”
 Vlad smiled at him, stepping closer. “I suppose.”
 “Right,” Darren said, leaning in. “Because I'm delightful.””
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