Sunday, January 29, 2017

Book of the Week: The Impossible Boy by Anna Martin #Review

Publisher: Dreamspinner
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh

Length: 67,000 words

This is not your average love story.

Ben Easton is not your average romantic hero. He’s a tattooed, badass, wannabe rock star, working in a perfectly horrible dive bar in Camden Town. His life is good, and he’s totally unprepared for how one man will turn it upside down.

Stan isn’t your average heroine. As a gender-fluid man, he proudly wears his blond hair long, his heels sky-high, and his make-up perfectly executed. A fashion industry prodigy, Stan is in London after stints working in Italy and New York City, and he quickly falls for Ben’s devil-may-care attitude and the warm, soft heart Ben hides behind it.

Beneath the perfect, elegant exterior, Stan has plenty of scars from teenage battles with anorexia. And it only takes the slightest slip for his demons to rush back in while Ben’s away touring with his band. With the band on the brink of a breakthrough, Ben is forced to find a way to balance the opportunity of a lifetime with caring for his beautiful boyfriend.


It takes a lot for me to give a book a five-star rating, but The Impossible Boy by Anna Martin is my first five-star rating of 2017... and will probably still be among my favorites come December. It was THAT good. Not only is this cover beyond gorgeous, the story line and the characters, not to mention the brilliant writing made this book near perfection. Stan and Ben will stay with me for a long, long time for sure.
You see, Stan is a beautiful man. He's graced the pages of magazines as a model, he's been all over the world, and is now living in London and working as a fashion editor for a prestigious magazine. The job is demanding and stressful. But Stan is also a beautiful girl. He's gender-fluid ... NOT transexual. He loves being a man, but he also loves wearing high heels, make-up, and dresses. And he rocks them. Some days he feels like a woman, some days a man, but he's all Stan and completely fabulous and so likable. He meets down to earth, tattooed, bartender Ben when he happens to stop in the bar where he works.
The connection between the two is immediate and Stan's gender fluidity is accepted and embraced by Ben right from the get go. This easy acceptance means everything to Stan and the way their relationship develops and deepens is a truly beautiful thing. But Stan has secrets and hidden pains. He's had an eating disorder for most of his life ... the modeling world, especially for someone who looks like Stan and was born in less than accepting Russia, can be a cruel place. So Stan controls what he can, and that means his body and food.
 Anna Martin writes both Stan's gender fluidity and his eating disorder with grace and empathy. There's nothing preachy about it, but she does it in such a way that the reader can't help but love Stan all the more for what he's gone through. And the way Ben accepts every facet of Stan's personality and his issues is just beautiful. Ben is truly a good man. He might be a tatted up badass who's on his way to being a rock star, but his love for Stan is pure and genuine.
This story just flowed effortlessly. I was thoroughly engrossed from the first page and was completely taken in until the last page. I loved Stan and Ben, both together and as individuals. Stan's strength and his sense of self was captivating. Ben's easy going nature and the way he is so enamored of Stan was endearing and sweet. Even the sex scenes were more about intimacy and connection and were all just lovely.  I loved the secondary characters, especially Tone, and even when the drama hit the high part and your heart hurt, you just knew these two would be just fine and come out stronger on the other side. (They do, don't worry!)
I can't recommend this book enough. The subject matter--gender fluidity and eating disorders--might not be the lightest of topics, but The Impossible Boy will fill your heart and leave you with a smile on your face. Like me, Stan and Ben will stay with you long after you finish!!