I Am Chris~A Review

When I decided to read I Am Chris by R. Kent, I knew I would likely enjoy it. I’ve already read one other book by this author called The Mail Order Bride, and found I really liked their style of writing. Little did I realize exactly how much I would fall in love with this story, and especially the main character, Chris Taylor.

R. Kent’s first novel was set in the Old West, but I Am Chris is a more contemporary Western, since it is set in the year 1994 in a small town in Texas. It is a coming-of-age story for seventeen-year-old Chris.

At the beginning of the book, everything has pretty much fallen apart for Chrissy Taylor. Her father has died, her stepmother has lost everything they had on booze and drugs, and Chrissy is left to take care of herself and her young sister Luce in a small town they have moved to. Chrissy sees only one good thing in all this tragedy, a chance to be who he truly is…Chris Taylor, a young bull rider in the rodeo, and a young man able to help his sister and himself live a better life. Of course in a small, redneck town, that may not be so easy, especially when the not so upstanding sheriff and social services get involved.

The tale is told in First Person POV through the eyes of Chris. Normally I think of this POV as rather limiting since you only see the story through one person, but not with this book. The characters in this story are so real, raw, and human. Even the “good guys” are given flaws and quirks you wouldn’t normally expect of characters who are supposed to be on the “right side” of the tale. The worst of the bad guys are easy to identify since they are ugly in just about every way, which is kind of typical for Westerns. You don’t learn their true motivations until near the end of the book. The author did an amazing job with these folks; creating the perfect characters for this type of novel.

The action and danger in this story is nonstop, from the dangerous bull riding in the rodeo, the risk of Chris being outed, to the threat of the folks who are intent on hurting Chris and others in the tale. There is even a bit of romance in the book. No matter what, I had to keep reading. That’s how exciting I found this book.

This is a terrific story for young adults, especially those who might identify as transgender or know someone who does. It’s a wonderful novel for those of us who are young only in our hearts. It’s also perfect for those who just love exciting westerns. Ah, hell! Just read this novel! It’s great!

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.


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