Title: The Impossible Boy
Author: Anna Martin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 204 Pages
At a Glance: YES. PLEASE. Also, can I have some more?
Reviewed By: Cassie
Blurb: 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 makeup 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 is 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.
Review: You guuuuuuuys! I loved this book. I hadn’t heard about it until it showed up for review, and I grabbed it on a whim. I’m so glad I did!
First off, this is an adorable, slow build romance involving a gender non-binary individual. Rock on, Anna Martin! Thanks for giving a non-binary character a romance that’s SWEET. The conflicts that happen in this book are not about Stan’s gender identity, which is so, so refreshing. Those discovery kinds of stories are important and meaningful and should absolutely be told, but it’s also vital to see people who’ve already done their discovering, living and loving and getting things done, and that’s Stan! Stan’s got that part sorted already, no need for it to cause drama now. Ben’s band and schedule, Stan’s work and health, they’re what drive the action outside of Ben and Stan’s developing relationship, and that’s plenty and perfect.
I think my favorite part of the whole book is that there’s no villain. I kept waiting for one to pop up, and I was totally dreading it. I was enjoying the journey with the MCs so much, riding their ups and downs, it felt like adding a “bad guy” would derail the whole thing. I was so worried some total @$$hole would pop up and ruin it all. And I realized most of the other books I’ve read with similar non-binary characters have taught me to expect this—the bigot, the hyper (and badly) religious family, the abusive ex, etc. Those characters are around for a reason, of course, but life is often hard enough to lend plenty of conflict and compelling drama to a story, no evil required. It was a really nice change, for once, to have the driving conflict of the book not be centered on an attack from the outside.
The MCs are awesome. AWESOME, I SAY! Everybody should have a Ben in their life; oh man, what a sweetheart. He’s open and kind and genuine and ridiculously perfect. And Stan is heartbreakingly beautiful, this fantastic mix of hard-earned confidence and aching vulnerability. The secondary characters are also wonderful—fleshed out and compelling. I kind of wished I could hang out with them all for a drink…or, forever.
The Impossible Boy is a window into the first part of life together for Ben and Stan, and it was totally a pleasure to look through it. The story feels real and warm and lovely, and yes, hard, because the characters feel like they’re really breathing and struggling and loving. Which is exactly what I want out of a romance.
You can buy The Impossible Boy here: