Endpapers by Jennifer Savran Kelly is a stunning genderqueer book that follows one woman as she grapples with her gender identity.
Dawn Levit, an aspiring artist, works as a book conservationist at the Met in NYC. She feels as though she is at a standstill both career-wise and in her relationship with her boyfriend, Lukas. She’s envious of her peers who have already begun their art careers. On top of that, Dawn struggles with finding a balance between her gender identity and expression. Lukas keeps her at a distance and seems to prefer her masculine side. While at work, the thought of dressing more masculine terrifies Dawn, not knowing what her coworkers would think.
With all these thoughts churning in her mind, one day, when repairing a book, Dawn discovers a torn-off book cover from the ‘50’s inserted into the endpapers. The cover depicts a woman looking into a mirror and seeing a man in the reflection with a handwritten love letter on the back.
Dawn becomes obsessed with finding the author of this letter and believes it will help her work through her problems.
Review of Endpapers by Jennifer Savran Kelly
This a character-driven story with wholly believable characters. Dawn and Jae will surely capture readers’ hearts.
Endpapers is set in 2003 and discusses the lingering effects of 9/11. It also examines the homophobia and violence rampant in the 50s and still felt decades later.
I knew I would love this book right from the first page. The writing style was immediately engaging. It is literary but with none of the disconnect that I sometimes feel when reading literary fiction. Parts of it are incredibly sad, but there is hope and light in there, too.
Learning a bit about bookbinding and repair was a nice addition as well.
If you enjoy character-driven novels with vibrant settings, I recommend giving this book a try, it will not disappoint.
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Expected Publication: 07 February 2023
Thank you to Algonquin Books for providing me with an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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