Bad Boy

Bad Boy

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 Re...

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Title:Bad Boy
Author:Elliot Wake
Rating:
ISBN:1501115014
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:256 pages

Bad Boy Reviews

  • Leah
    Oct 21, 2014

    The concept of this one has changed pretty damn drastically. It takes place in-universe with my three previous books. The hero is a member of the vigilante group

    . You'll see a lot of familiar faces.

    Get ready for some mindfucking. And genderfucking. And general fucking.

    Inspiration board:

  • Navessa
    Dec 04, 2014

    My body. It's ready.

  • Wendy Darling
    Dec 05, 2014

    "Information to come." It's by the awesome LR, I have all the information I need.

  • Natalie Monroe
    Apr 07, 2015

    I'm breathless with love. Review to come.

  • Lala BooksandLala
    May 02, 2015

    I have LOVED Elliot Wake(writing under his birth name Leah Raeder)'s previous work immensely. In fact, Black Iris is one of my favourite books of all time. Unfortunately, Bad Boy just did not work for me.

    I very much appreciate the conversation that goes on in this author's books. He starts great conversation about gender and sexual identity, and we get characters who identify in so many different ways, but we also get PLOT. STORYLINE. Content that includes and builds off of all those great topic

    I have LOVED Elliot Wake(writing under his birth name Leah Raeder)'s previous work immensely. In fact, Black Iris is one of my favourite books of all time. Unfortunately, Bad Boy just did not work for me.

    I very much appreciate the conversation that goes on in this author's books. He starts great conversation about gender and sexual identity, and we get characters who identify in so many different ways, but we also get PLOT. STORYLINE. Content that includes and builds off of all those great topics, but also stands on it's own as solid narrative. I love that we get such a wide array of characters in his novels, especially the groups with less visibility in literature; gay, lesbian, gender-fluid and transgender characters, people with disabilities, people of colour etc.

    The main point I'm trying to make is his books are worth reading, and they are important, especially for the people who haven't seen themselves reflected in novels before. I would never want to deter someone who may otherwise benefit from reading this book from doing so because of my less-than-enthusiastic review. Ren(our protagonist)'s identity and the transgender aspect of this novel was handled perfectly and authentically, as is the case when an author pulls from their own experiences, and why own voices books are so important to support. Whether you identify with this main character or not, you will gain some knowledge and understanding from Elliot Wake's words- I know I did.

    With that said, reasons this book did not work for me start with what I HAVE loved in his earlier books: the plot, the storyline, the layers. Usually there is the thoughtful conversation on gender and sexual identity as previously discussed above, and then we get a strong, equally thoughtful plot to go along with it. However this book felt like it was written by 2 different people, or at 2 completely different times, like the author couldn't decide which storyline was the focus of the novel; the transitioning protagonist, the vigilante Black Iris gang, the new hot romance, or the toxic best friendship. Due to this, none of the storylines got enough time to marinate for me, and it jumped all over at an uncomfortable pace. The main character's female to male gender re-assignment/confirmation was such a strong plotline, between inner dialogue about thoughts on gender, to memories, to youtube videos discussing the transition. We also had the best friend, Ingrid, who used to be romantically involved with Ren, and has had a very hard time accepting and being supportive of Ren's transition. This, paired with Ren's family situation, him missing out on his sisters' childhood because his mother has effectively removed him from interacting with the family, was enough of a powerful plot on its own.

    But I didn't get to fully invest myself in that portion because we first get thrown into the Black Iris world. Black Iris is a vigilante group that seeks out misogynist men and "teaches them a lesson" that was first introduced in "Leah Raeder's" novel of the same name. Ren is a member of this group, and the first third of Bad Boy has us right back into that group, which also includes characters from Cam Girl, another book I loved from this author. While you don't need to read Black Iris and Cam Girl before diving into Bad Boy, I truly can't imagine readers who haven't, feeling anything but shell shocked from the pace of the introductions. Even I got a little overwhelmed with all the name dropping.

    But then being a member of Black Iris takes a complete backseat for the majority of the novel, and we are swept up in Ren's transition, his tense relationship with Ingrid, AND a mysterious boy who reappears from Ren's past that he is set on destroying. Oh, AND a new exciting romance with a girl Ren has just met- that's actually a pretty significant bulk of the plot.

    I never felt fully invested in ANY of the storylines, in spite of desperately wanting to be. For someone absolutely obsessed with the Black Iris novel, I was shocked at how much I disliked a book back in that world. Revisiting those characters was NOT what I was expecting, and my views on the members of the group changed, which was a strange experience. I had such a mishmash of feelings while reading this book and all I know is something felt off about time spent on each portion, but I can't decide if I got too little or too much of each aspect of Ren's life and where I would have preferred the focus to be. I don't know if I wanted Black Iris completely eliminated, or the old boyfriend storyline removed, or the new love interest taken out, or the Ingrid drama gone, or the Youtube aspect minimized.

    Speaking of Ren's Youtube vlogs, those are a whole other significant layer of the story, which at first I found to be a great, interesting aspect to the book. Ren is kind of a celebrity in his circle, getting millions of views on his series of videos about his transition, which gains him a lot of attention out in the bar scene. However, the passages which included the videos weren't written in a way that flowed for me, including abrupt feeling [jumpcut] and [cut to black] stuff along with overly educational Wikipedia-esq exposition. It turned out to feel like just another needless addition to the already excessively layered book.

    I fully recognise that a human being's life IS full of so many different experiences and situations, and isn't solely focused on just one element- but just from a reading perspective, it was too busy a novel for me- and that's probably my own downfall as a reader, which is why I've removed the actual star rating.

    I received an ARC from the publisher. This book comes out December 2016.

  • Emily May
    Nov 07, 2016

    . You might remember him as Leah Raeder from the intoxicating mindfucks that were

    ,

    and

    , but here he returns with a brutally honest book about a trans man, gender, and rape culture - a book that will challenge you to think at every t

    . You might remember him as Leah Raeder from the intoxicating mindfucks that were

    ,

    and

    , but here he returns with a brutally honest book about a trans man, gender, and rape culture - a book that will challenge you to think at every turn of the page.

    Wake is a master at showing the horror and beauty that live alongside each other - in romance, friendship, sex, and in being trans. His writing is pure colourful poetry, but with it he reveals the darkness in the world around us, and in ourselves.

    Ren, like pretty much all of the author's characters, is a tortured soul, caught somewhere between the relief that testosterone and his own transitioning brings him, and the beautiful horrible world that isn't always welcoming to his true self; the man he has always been.

    The plot is strange, feeling almost darkly satirical at times, but for me, this went well with Wake's style. Very few authors can pull off introducing a vigilante social-justice group to a real world setting and expect the reader to just roll with it, but somehow it seems to work here. The bloody, shady antics of "Black Iris" offer some twisted entertainment alongside Ren's inner turmoil and the social commentary.

    I especially liked that Ren was a Youtube vlogger, sharing his trans experience with the world. But while we often tend to hold binary male/female misogyny issues as something different from trans issues, this book shows all the ways the two are inextricably entwined. Ren's perspective is an extremely interesting one; being a man who has had the opportunity to experience the world in a woman's body, to know women as so few men can, he feels a lot of anger against misogynists and those who would hurt women.

    Ren struggles with what it means to be transgender in this world. How can he reconcile this with the idea that gender is a social construct? How can Ren make peace with knowing he is a man, always has been a man, but on some level hating men because he understands what it’s like to be a woman who is vulnerable to their misogyny. It's such a

    on many levels.

    For me, it was an absolutely fascinating and haunting read. Wake examines gender, sex, rape culture and misogyny, and he wraps it up in his trademark beautiful writing - a sensory experience that captures the rhythm of the music playing, the feel of sweat on skin, and the smell of bodies crushed together in a dark club. I always feel so entirely in the moment he is describing.

    A heartbreaking, necessary, and unapologetically queer book for trans and cis readers alike.

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  • Mara
    Jan 02, 2016

    I am entirely in awe of how relevant this book is. This story is educating, genuinely human, confidently written, suspenseful, and above all it makes me hopeful that as long as representation like this exists, we CAN make this world better.

    Okay so none of my words seem adequate enough to describe how brilliant this book is, so all I can say is: preorder now!

  • Elliot Wake
    Jun 05, 2016

    Hi. I wrote this. It's about a trans boy, like me.

    I hope you like it.

  • Lola  Reviewer
    Jul 22, 2016

    I can’t take anymore of this.

    I’m a huge fan of Elliot Wake (formerly known as Leah Raeder)’s

    and

    , but this… this is… unrealistic and melodramatic and kind of

    . Not in a good way.

    Ren, a transgender boy, is part of this secret society named ‘‘Black Iris’’ composed of characters from Elliot Wake’s previous novels with as goal to rid the world of misogynistic men.

    At least that’s what I understood. The fact that many (or all?) of the secondary characters are from the

    I can’t take anymore of this.

    I’m a huge fan of Elliot Wake (formerly known as Leah Raeder)’s

    and

    , but this… this is… unrealistic and melodramatic and kind of

    . Not in a good way.

    Ren, a transgender boy, is part of this secret society named ‘‘Black Iris’’ composed of characters from Elliot Wake’s previous novels with as goal to rid the world of misogynistic men.

    At least that’s what I understood. The fact that many (or all?) of the secondary characters are from the author’s previous novels (maybe not

    though I haven’t read it) makes this a companion novel – to

    most specifically.

    I found the whole idea of ‘‘Black Iris’’ very unrealistic and it made me see Laney, Blythe, Armin and Ellis in a new, darker light. I found them

    … sad… and honestly I think I would have preferred not to see them again. I was content enough with the ending to both

    and

    That’s the thing. I would have loved it if this were a whole new story, no ‘‘Black Iris’’ and no appearances of familiar characters. Exactly like

    and

    Something completely new. After all, that’s what I always look most forward to when it comes to this author. Something original and never-seen-before.

    And another truth is that I didn’t like Ren all that much. I didn’t find him

    There’s always a dark cloud above his head. He’s depressed, broken, and unsure of what he wants… His future looks pretty bleak… He can’t love, not anymore… Not after

    I’m not saying I like my characters happy and having everything figured out, but hell, I just didn’t know how to feel about him. Should I sympathize? I don’t think that’s what he wants. Should I feel sorry for him? He would definitely hate that. I unfortunately couldn’t connect with him. He’s not even an antihero. (I love antiheroes.) He’s just a lost boy…

    I also didn’t like the narration (by Ren). I hated the sarcasm and how Ren never seemed to be completely honest with us. Seriously, I’m not used to saying this, but I would have preferred if there were

    mystery at all in this book. Just Ren being

    honest with us and

    . As a reader, I felt like Ren didn’t want to allow me in his life. Yes, he shares personal thoughts with us, but a lot is left unsaid… because of the mystery and suspense.

    Now, the romance. Normally, I’m looking

    forward to Elliot Wake’s sexy scenes, but 1) there aren’t many in this book (sexy, I mean) and 2) the romance kind of sucks. It’s

    eye-roll-worthy. Plus Ren seems to have one extra unnecessary love-interest. But again, I only read 35% of it, so maybe it gets better.

    I just don’t care enough to find out at this point.

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  • aaron rourke
    Jan 14, 2017

    urgh. <-------

    i wanted to love this, i truly did. like, i was expecting a ton of emotional pain and such beautiful writing and toxic characters and just all the general awesome that elliot wake usually delivers.

    but i'm left looking around like wtf?

    the magic is well and truly gone. not only is this book nothing short of

    , it feels like a sequel to a book i loved - black iris.

    lemme just tell you this - black iris did in no way whatsoeve

    urgh. <-------

    i wanted to love this, i truly did. like, i was expecting a ton of emotional pain and such beautiful writing and toxic characters and just all the general awesome that elliot wake usually delivers.

    but i'm left looking around like wtf?

    the magic is well and truly gone. not only is this book nothing short of

    , it feels like a sequel to a book i loved - black iris.

    lemme just tell you this - black iris did in no way whatsoever need a sequel. untouchable? perhaps. cam girl? meh, if you want. black iris? hell to the nope.

    that book ended perfectly and now, in bad boy, the characters come back as sort of weird parody of themselves. there's this whole spy thing and secret organisation shit and it's just all so much NOPE.

    like ??? just a whole load of nope. (i've said that a lot now woops)

    plus, it was the key factor in black iris that i hated. it was the only thing that made me stop to think and go "nope. no five stars for u." the idea was just

    , something i found truly difficult to wrap my head around.

    and without realizing it, the plot of this book is basically that minor sub-plot turned full-scale. probably should have got that, but then again it never occurred to me that this would be a sequel.

    i mean, there is this whole other story. a guy called ren who's transgender and part of the group and trying to pave his own way in the world and

    ren was seriously dull. i mean, i expected emotion and like grit and stuff, but this guy is just so moody and so dis-interesting. he's not even likable in an unlikable way. he simply exists.

    and was it just me or was the writing not up to par? usually elliot wake's writing is filled with

    , but this felt so off peak. the beautiful writing was nowhere to be found and it left me feeling a little empty.

    another thing i need to mention is this:

    my jaw literally dropped reading that.

    i shouldn't have to tell y'all but making your book self-aware is just about the worst thing you can do.

    because it suddenly feels like a fanfic or a joke. and it ruined the rest of the book for me.

    and that, along with the whole james bond plot, is why i had no option but to give it a single star.