I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is December 6, 2016.
Vlog star Renard Grant has nothing to prove: he’s got a pretty face, chiseled body, and two million adoring video subscribers. Plus the scars on his chest and a prescription for testosterone. Because Ren is transgender: assigned female at birth, living now as male. He films his transition and shares it bravely with the world; his fans love his honesty and positivity. But Ren has been living a double life. Off-camera, he’s Cane, the muscle-bound enforcer for social justice vigilante group Black Iris. As Cane, he lets his dark side loose. Hurts those who prey on the disempowered. Indulges in the ugly side of masculinity. And his new partner, Tamsin Baylor, is a girl as rough and relentless as him. Together, they terrorize the trolls into silence. But when a routine Black Iris job goes south, Ren is put in the crosshairs. Someone is out to ruin his life. He’s a bad boy, they say, guilty of what he punishes others for. Just like every other guy: at heart, he’s a monster, too. Now Ren’s got everything to prove. He has to clear his name, and show the world he’s a good man. But that requires facing demons he’s locked away for years. And it might mean discovering he’s not such a good guy after all.
First of all, I just want to say that I ADORE Elliot Wake's (formerly known as Leah Raeder) books. I was so excited about this one and it's not easy to say this, but I was a little disappointed. So let's start with what I loved: every single thing about Ren. I thought the author did an amazing job of writing about Ren's transition from female to male and all the feelings that went along with it. It broke my heart that his family basically thought of him as dead and that his best friend couldn't accept him as a boy. I know the author drew on his own experience with this one and it shows. Wake did not shy away from writing about his transition; there was so much depth there. Wake also had chapters that described Ren's vlogs over the years where he described his feelings regarding his transition. It was so emotional and thought provoking. Another thing I did like was the romance aspect of it. Ren meets Tamsin, a sexy woman who likes Ren for exactly who he is. I wasn't sure what Tamsin's motives were at first or if she was a good guy or a bad guy, but there was no denying the amount of chemistry between them.
The part that I didn't really like was the whole vigilante group thing. There were characters from other Wake books in the group and while I enjoyed seeing those characters again, I thought it was a bit over the top. I absolutely loved Laney from Black Iris, but I did not like her in this book. In Black Iris, Laney spent a lot of time trying to get revenge on people who had wronged her and I got that. But in this book, the vigilante group was basically a group of people who set out to hurt men who had wronged women. I didn't understand the point or what they hoped to accomplish. Laney even mentions at one point that getting revenge doesn't help the victim so what was the point? It seemed as if they were getting revenge for revenge's sake and it kind of ruined the Laney character for me. Also, the way they operated and some of the things they did were just way over the top.
This book was still a good one, just not great and not what I was expecting.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow this one.