Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Review: The Love That Binds Us by Phoenix Blackwood



“From the outside, Alex has a perfect life. She has a partner who loves her, gets good grades in school, excels at most sports, and has a big heart. From the inside, Alex’s life is anything but perfect. She hasn’t spoken to her father in years. She’s hiding the fact that her once-best-friend now-romantic-partner Theo is trans and nonbinary from her homophobic mother. Bullies are harassing her and Theo at school, taunting and shoving. It’s all becoming too much for Alex to bear.

Things take a surprising turn when Alex’s mother discovers her relationship with Theo. After Alex is thrown out of her house and taken in by Theo’s foster family, Alex can live honestly. For a while, things start to feel manageable. Alex finds a new group of friends. She navigates what “family” means beyond her mother and sister. She even considers forgiving her mother’s past mistakes. But forgiveness requires honesty. Secrets Alex’s mother has been keeping are surfacing, trying to bind Alex to misery. As Alex learns the full truth of her mother’s past mistakes, she will need the love of her chosen family and friends to gently bind her life into a shape that keeps her whole.”


“Phoenix Blackwood is an intersex nonbinary author and has published short stories and the novel The Secrets That Kill Us. Through their writing, Phoenix shines a light on the issues LGBTQIA+ youth face at home and in school. Phoenix is a passionate advocate and wants all youth to feel as if they have a place in the world.”


I’ve felt for a long time that books with stories that allow readers to put themselves in the position of someone not like them is one of the best ways to help develop empathy and understanding for the struggles of others. In the process the reader becomes a better, more well-rounded person and the world benefits. The main characters in this story are in their late teens. Readers in the same age range, especially those who are part of the LGBT community, should find this tale appealing, but I think those this age range and up, regardless of anything else, would benefit from reading the story.

The book’s description gives a pretty good idea of the overall story. The characters are well drawn, the situations they find themselves in are realistic, and the story feels like it could easily be true, even though it isn’t. All of this pulled me in to the story as I wondered whether everything was going to work out for Alex.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK


The book contains the following note. Consider yourself warned:

The Love that Binds Us deals with many difficult topics that may be triggering for some readers. Drug use (explicit) Explicit language Child abuse (non-sexual, explicit).”

Format/Typo Issues:

Review is based on an ARC (advance reader copy), so I can’t gauge the final product in this area.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words

No comments: