Review of: Lone Star in Jersey by Ginna Harris, Anne Key

TITLE: Lone Star in Jersey
AUTHOR: Ginna Harris, Anne Key
PUBLISHER: Harmony Ink Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: April 30, 2019


Eli faced the fallout of returning to school after his transition, and now he’s starting over in a new school where no one ever knew him as Elizabeth. The best thing about this new beginning might be the girl in the bedazzled Keds.
Sammy’s world of cheerleading, advanced math, and popularity in her Texas high school crumbles with her mother’s death. She’s shipped off to New Jersey to face a father who feels like a stranger and a world where she doesn’t feel like she belongs. At least there’s Eli, the cute boy who is also new at school.
As their friendship deepens and romance begins to bloom, Eli knows he owes Sammy the truth. He hopes he can trust her, and Sammy hopes she can understand falling in love with a trans boy. It’s a lot to deal with alongside the long-buried family secrets coming to light, and neither of their worlds will ever be the same. But maybe building new lives won’t be so hard if they do it together.

I liked Lone Star in Jersey by Ginna Harris and Anne Key. I would have liked it even more if Eli had fallen for a boy instead of a girl. It had more of MF feel to it than a MM feel. Although I did know that from reading the blurb that the trans boy was going to fall for a girl, I still wanted to read it. I don’t regret reading it. The writing style is easy to read, and the characters are realistic with real issues and fears and hopes and dreams that they deal with. I loved that the story is told from both main characters point of view. I liked getting to see all of the confusion and angst that Sammy goes through as her normal world falls apart and she has to learn to rebuild it.

Eli is a trans boy. Which means that he’s a boy stuck in a girl’s body. In his mind, he’s a boy, but on the outside, he’s a girl, and he’s at that stage in his transition from female to male where he’s dressing and passing as a boy. That means that he wears a binder to keep his breasts flat, a rolled up sock in his underwear to give him a package, a male haircut, uses male mannerisms, and has a male name. And he hopes that soon his parents will allow him to start hormone therapy which will help him even more to become the boy he is. He’s spent the first year of his transition at the same school where everybody knew him as Elizabeth, a girl. And with all of the bullying, his parents decided to move a town over so that he could attend a different high school where nobody would know that he used to be Elizabeth and that he would only be known as Eli. He didn’t expect to become best friends with the new student from Texas. He’s supposed to be focusing on passing as a male. He didn’t anticipate having romantic feelings for Sammy and wanting her to be his girlfriend.

I thought Eli was a very complex character and the authors did a great job with showing us what it means to be transgender and the body dysmorphia that Eli struggles with. I also loved that he had a therapist that he sees regularly. I know that in some states that’s a mandatory step that has to happen for the person to be approved for hormone therapy and later top surgery and bottom surgery. But it’s still nice to know that he has somebody to talk to besides his parents.

With her mother’s death, Sammy’s world of cheerleading, advanced math, and popularity in her Texas high school crumbles. She’s shipped off to New Jersey to live with a father who feels like a stranger and a world where she doesn’t feel like she belongs. She really wishes that she could have stayed in Texas with her best friend and finish school there, but her father was adamant that she came and lived with him. She hasn’t had much contact with her father other than the occasional visit and phone calls. So it comes as quite the shock when he comes out to her as being gay and introduces his boyfriend that lives in New York. She gets blindsided by quite a few family secrets that, as the year progresses, come to light. I like how she struggled through them. Sure she made mistakes and hurt feelings, but she learned from her mistakes, and that’s what matters.

I loved Sammy. She had lots of personal growth in this book, and I loved watching her grow. She was a great character. I liked how she handled herself when Eli told her the truth about being transgender, and I liked how she researched what that meant and then asked Eli questions about it. I also liked that her aunt came out to visit from Texas when Sammy was having a breakdown and helped her through it.

Overall, a great book about a trans boy who falls in love with a straight girl. Even though I would have preferred that Sammy was a boy, it was still a great book that I would recommend reading.

***The ARC was provided by Ink Harmony . My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

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