Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to.

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Today’s pick is sometimes messy, sometimes funny, and sometimes even heartbreaking.

Book cover of The Call-Out: A Novel in Rhyme by Cat Fitzpatrick

The Call-Out: A Novel in Rhyme by Cat Fitzpatrick

This is a novel in verse and I think this is actually the first time that I’ve read a novel in verse. It was fun! It is a story about seven queer women, six of whom are trans, living and loving and failing in Brooklyn, NY. I think that some descriptions of the book only mention six women in total but the narrator is also an integral part of this story, though she goes unnamed through most of the book. She’s a bit like a Greek chorus, though not exactly.

The book starts on New Year’s Eve when everything feels fresh and new and the air is thick with possibility. Our narrator is at a bar and witnesses some interactions which possibly include some couples forming. First are Day and Bette. Bette makes money being a cam girl and Day has the 9-5 job that she had been in since before she transitioned. For a while, Bette and Day seem to improve each other’s lives. Day has a spacious apartment she is willing to share and Bette teaches Day to embrace her sexuality. Next we have Keiko and Gaia. Keiko is maybe nineteen or twenty years old and an artist. Gaia is a couple years older. They have a magical evening where they get drunk and play whiskey slaps and make out (no sex) and talk and talk until they fall asleep together at Keiko’s flat. Keiko has a huge crush on Gaia moving forward but it is unrequited. The final couple we have are Kate and Aashvi. Aashvi is the one cis woman in the story and she and Kate are trying to have a baby, which in this case means that Kate needs to start producing sperm again. In order to do that, she’s going to need to go off of estrogen and start producing testosterone again which is incredibly difficult in many ways and Kate has a bit of a freak-out after a few months and feels like she needs to dive head-first into trans community work and help the younger, newly-hatched trans women in navigating life.

Our narrator is not only the witness but also a participant in all the mess that ensues. I cannot speak specifically to the trans woman community but there are so many things in this book that are present in the wider queer community that are both hilarious and cringey. This book was quite a ride and a fun read.

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That’s it for now, book-lovers!


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