For many people, learning to accept themselves can be difficult. A lot of us have issues with something about our appearance, or personality, or life circumstances. Sometimes we’re far harsher on ourselves than others would be.
I think in general, teenagers have a more difficult time accepting themselves than anyone else. Teens are learning how to navigate life. They’re transitioning from being children to being adults, and the opinions and comments of their peers have far more impact than when they were younger. Teens also often become more vocally critical of one another’s appearance or other aspects.
When a teen is sorting out their sexuality, gender identity, etc., accepting themself can be even harder. They might have been taught that not being heterosexual is wrong, or that they have to identify as the gender they were assigned at birth because of religious reasons or prejudice within their own family. It isn’t an easy time, and unfortunately far too many teens don’t have support from their family or friends.
In my novel Where No One Knows, Kellan McKee has been fortunate in that respect. He is a transgender boy, and his mother has wholeheartedly accepted that all along. His stepfather wasn’t quite so understanding, but has come to at least tolerate the fact that his “stepdaughter” is actually his stepson. Although Kellan was initially worried about coming out, he has accepted himself completely.
Or, rather, he has completely accepted his gender identity. Accepting his psychic powers is more difficult, especially when one of them is pyrokinesis, the psychic ability to set fires. Kellan has trouble controlling this power, and when he is attacked by one of his stepfather’s friends, he loses control entirely and sets the man on fire.
That leads to Kellan being kicked out of his home, supposedly for his own safety. His mother can’t accept Kellan’s powers, and his stepfather is now out for revenge. So Kellan must run and hope that somewhere else, he will find acceptance.
Where No One Knows
Kellan McKee is different, but not for the reasons everyone thinks. He’s open about being transgender and grateful to have his mother’s support, even if his stepfather disapproves. When Kellan is attacked by one of his stepfather’s friends, he’s more than capable of defending himself. But doing so comes with a price: Kellan is forced to reveal what really sets him apart—his psychic abilities.
Now Kellan must escape his stepfather’s vengeance with only the money his mother can provide. In Denver he meets Shad, a person with powers similar to his own who is willing to help him. The two agree to travel together, and Shad reveals there’s a group in Boston where Kellan can find a safe haven and learn more about his gift—and how to control it.
Kellan’s respite might be short-lived, however, if his stepfather manages to find him. And not everyone in Boston welcomes him with open arms. Kellan might not be as safe as he’d hoped.
Where No One Knows is available from Harmony Ink Press, https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/where-no-one-knows-by-jo-ramsey-387-b.
Review by Claire Potterton
This book is very different to my usual reads for a couple of reasons; I don’t often read paranormal stories, and rarely pick up a YA book. That said, I really enjoyed it. The storyline and main character, in particular, are incredibly engaging, and I found myself rooting for Kellan from the beginning.
The best and worst of this story, in my opinion, both centres around Kellan being transgender. The best being Kellan’s beautiful self-acceptance. This is a teenager who knows who his is, who is at ease with himself and makes no apologies for it. The worst is the lack of acceptance or understanding from others, particularly members of Kellan’s family, and the fact that they attempt to disguise their hate, and excuse their violence, using religious beliefs.
This is an excellent book, it is definitely a book for younger people, the writing is indicative of that. I shared it with my trans teen who, although not a huge fan of the paranormal element, loved Kellan’s strength and determination. We would both recommend this story.
Star rating 3.5
Find out more about Jo Ramsey and her books at http://www.joramsey.com