Book: Santa Hoax
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Publication date: December 1, 2016
Length: 268 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
When Julian Gibson realizes he’s transgender, he doesn’t think anything has to change. His parents and friends still call him Julia and think he’s a girl, but so long as Julian can still hang out with his best friend Aiden and read sci-fi novels with his dad, life seems pretty good.
Then high school happens. Aiden ditches him, and a new girl, Maria, keeps cornering him in the girls’ bathroom. A full year after discovering he’s transgender, Julian realizes life changes whether you’re ready for it or not. So Julian makes a deal with himself: if he can tell his secret to three people, it is no longer a hoax. What happens during his slow process of coming out leads Julian down odd pathways of friendship, romance, Christmas shopping, random parties, bad movies, and a realization about why kids still believe in Santa—it’s sometimes better than discovering the truth.
He's a trans-boy and just began high school. And that in itself is hard enough. At 14 he's just starting to connect with who he really is. His struggles are very emotional to read. Seeing your reflection but not feeling like the person looking back at you. He's smart and quiet and keeps to himself.
He has so many battles with himself and society and what to do. Being 14 is rough but what Julian is living with makes it so much harder. I will say I really liked Julian's character.
I did feel like there were some issues with the story. Not with the style of writing but with some of the substance. I don't want to sound like I'm being a jerk but this story isn't written to be a fantasy. It was really pulling all the stops on realism so when there should have been obstacles that I felt would have been epically fabulous not just for Julian, but for any transgender person to relate to, well, there just wasn't.
Though it's wonderful that everyone was accepting of Julian's transition from Julia to Julian it was just that; they were too okay with it. Not to mention not once was there a slip up in pronouns. They go from calling him "she" for fourteen years and then nail it? I don't know it felt so beyond off to me, like a dream.
The other issue I had was with his girlfriend. She identifies as a lesbian but the second Julian is out she is okay calling them straight. Again, it almost made it feel like it was fake. Not to be mean I am really not but ones identity is all we truly have and I felt like she so easily was able to toss it aside.
I liked the story, I did. I really liked Julian and for me he made this story great. He alone is worth reading this story for. And I will for sure be looking for more stories like this one.
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