About the Book:Warning: This book is graphic in nature. 18+ is advised. Have you ever felt like you were different, like you didn’t belong? Kellie Kingston knows that feeling all too well. She’s not who she pretends to be, instead from the inside out, Kellie is actually Kaleb. For years, Kaleb has wanted to break free from the reins of Kellie’s lifestyle. He knows he was born in a female’s body, but with a soul of a man. What happens when skeletons are forced to be kept in dirty closets? No one should judge a person by the gender of their body, but the passions found within their heart. Will the people of Kaleb’s community ever be able to accept him for who he really is? Will Kaleb ever be free to truly love himself or will southern socialite secrets keep him hidden forever?
Stevens tackles the topic of transgender with the story of Kellie/Kaleb, who is a boy trapped in a girl’s body. Growing up, Kellie was forced by her mother to wear dresses, makeup, and compete in beauty pageants. As Kellie struggles with her identity and the need to transition, her father supports her decision, while her mother Cora Beth is against the idea. Kellie tries to get her mother to support, yet Cora Beth’s stance against the decision hurts Kellie. As Kellie makes the decision to transition, her life is turned for a loop when secrets from Sterling and Cora Beth’s past affect her.
I thought Stevens did a wonderful job of writing about the topic of transgender and she did a beautiful job of capturing the pain Kellie was going through as she struggled with realizing who she is and being rejected by her mother. Sterling, I loved how supportive he was of Kellie and the bond they had. I was surprised by the revelation of his secret, yet I think adding it in made his and Kellie’s bond stronger and helped with the message of the story.
As for Cora Beth, she’s the antagonist of the book and throughout it she voices her disapproval of Kellie’s decision. There are times when I thought Cora Beth went overboard, in one scene she calls Kellie a disgrace. Whenever Cora Beth was harsh to Kellie, I wanted to reach through the pages, slap her, and tell her to stop hurting her child. In the end, Cora Beth ends up getting karma when her secret costs her the things she loves the most.
Overall, I thought it was a good story. The way Stevens was able to weave a story about family secrets and capture the message of loving yourself was great.
Buy Links Amazon
Goodreads Damaged Love
Goodreads Mouth Anthology
Goodreads Inspirational Beautiful Eescape 2