Princess of Baker Street

Review: The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick

I picked The Princess of Baker Street up hoping that it would be better than the blurb suggested, but I do not consider this a safe read for trans readers, especially for those in the younger young adult age range that it’s designed for.

The Princess of Baker Street CoverWhen she was a child, Joey Kinkaid, assigned as a boy at birth—wearing Mom’s purple sundress and an imaginary crown—ruled the Baker Street neighborhood with a flair and imagination that kept the other kids captivated. Day after day, she led them on fantastic after-school adventures, but those innocent childhood days are over, and the magic is gone. The princess is alone.

Even Eric Sinclair, the Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel, has turned his back on his former friend, watching in silence as Joey is tormented at school. Eric isn’t proud of it, but their enchanted youth is over, and they’ve been thrust into a dog-eat-dog world where those who conform survive and those who don’t… well, they don’t. Eric has enough to deal with at home, where his mother has abandoned him to live in isolation and poverty.

But Eric can’t stay on the sidelines forever. When Joey finally accepts her female gender and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies readily take the opportunity she hands them, driving Joey to attempt suicide and leaving Eric at a crossroads—one that will influence both their lives in not just the present, but the future.

Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more? (Goodreads)

Goodreads

I received an eARC of The Princess of Baker Street from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger warnings: internalized homophobia, homophobia, internalized transphobia, transphobia, constant misgendering, gender-based bullying, bullying, parental neglect, child abuse,

The trans character in this book is referred to as their deadname in the bio and in three quarters of the novel, which is one of the big problems with this book. I will be referring to her throughout the review as Shaylee, her chosen name, because that is how this author should have handled it.

The story is told from the perspective of the seriously neglected cisgender Eric. As an eighth grader, Eric is basically taking care of himself as best he can – which is not very well. He is trying to hide the fact that his mother has moved in with her boyfriend and did not take him with her. We later find out that she is a very young mother who has recently put her own mother into a nursing home in another state. Eric lives off of bagel bites and anything he can microwave which, as you can guess, is not a healthy diet for a growing kid. He suffers from a lot of gastrointestinal distress because of the stress of caring for himself and his severe malnutrition. This was honestly some pretty good severe poverty rep, but the amount of transphobia that we see, that barely gets pushed back on,

Through his eyes, we see Shaylee get bullied literally every day – from being beaten up to being mocked to having her food taken away at lunch – simply because she is more feminine than the bullies think she has a right to be as someone they perceived to be a boy. We see her father literally cut her hair to stop her from being who she is, and we hear of many other incidents that speak to fairly severe abuse happening within her home as well, despite her mother’s best efforts to keep her safe and allow her to be herself. There is so much transphobia in this book that it was severely painful for me to read, and I’m cisgender. I cannot imagine what a trans reader reading this book would go through.

I very much do not recommend this book, as it is written very much for cis readers to read and feel pity for Shaylee. Instead, read books by actual transgender authors.

ABOUT THE PRINCESS OF BAKER STREET

Title: The Princess of Baker Street

Author: Mia Kerick

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Length: 180 Pages

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Rating: Not Recommended

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

Representation: Impoverished main character, trans main character

 

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