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Bad Boy: A Novel Hardcover – December 6, 2016
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Praise for Bad Boy:
“Wake writes with abandon and razor-sharp wit as he details the struggles and joys of being a 'self-made man'…A fast-paced, mind-bending romantic thriller from an author with humor, heart, and big writing muscles.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
"A perfect tale of moral grey areas." (Teen Vogue)
"A romantic thriller featuring underrepresented characters in a deeply honest story." (PopSugar)
“A provocative and sexually charged novel of vengeance and betrayal...This erotic and suspenseful tale offers illuminating—and often heartbreaking—insight into the psychology of its transgender protagonist and compels readers to question their conceptions about gender and desire.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Wake presents an intense, suspenseful, and unusual tale of romantic suspense that will make readers question their perceptions of gender and relationships.” (Booklist (starred review))
"A searingly modern game of cat and mouse, challenging and riveting." (L.S. Hilton, New York Times bestselling author of Maestra)
“Wake delivers in spades, crafting a story so captivating, you won’t be able to set your book down.” (RT Magazine)
"A tense and taut mystery." (New York Journal of Books)
Praise for Cam Girl:
“Raeder’s beautifully broken characters are so full of life that they leap off the page and demand that the reader pay attention to them…it’s a must read for anyone wanting a sexy deep dive into a tangled psyche and a difficult life.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
"Cam Girl is a beautiful exploration of gender and sexuality that begs readers to question how well we know those closest to us, including ourselves. Raeder's trademark sensual lyricism is in full effect here, but it's the fraught yet tender relationship between Vada and Ellis that will have you glued to the pages until the oh-so-perfect ending." (Dahlia Adler, author of UNDER THE LIGHTS)
“Raeder keeps the action moving as readers try to figure out the dual mysteries—what happened on the road that night, and who is Blue?" (Booklist)
“Gripping, emotional, relatable, and yes, romantic (in all the best ways) read. Whatever Raeder writes, I will always want to read and recommend.” (RT Magazine)
“Raeder’s best book yet. It has the grit, language, and heat you’d expect, but there’s more. Raeder has clearly dug down and bled and studied the mirror to reveal the ugliest and most beautiful parts of herself, and human nature. CAM GIRL is a rich and unflinching narrative.” (Emery Lord, author of Open Road Summer)
Praise for Black Iris:
"Like an afternoon special on bullying gone impossibly dark, Raeder's dizzyingly intense, drug-addicted queer teenage revenge fantasy takes its reader on a sexy, bloody journey of pure emotion that's by turns expressed, denied, and turned back in on itself. Delaney Keating, viciously mistreated in high school for her attraction to girls and damaged by her unstable mother's suicide, falls into a love triangle with two of the dramatic inhabitants of underground dance club Umbra: DJ and patient medical student Armin, and impulsive, fierce, deliciously sensual Blythe. She pulls them into her scheme of violence against her abusers in a heady mélange of lust and bloodlust, while the triad pulls against itself with internal jealousies. A twisting timeline dancing over a year's events makes every moment seem both immediate and angrily steeped in memory. Major themes include depression, mania, and the ways that the use and abuse of drugs affect access to the reality of self and the world's essential nature; but the soul-searching always comes in the context of action, everyone around hit by the shrapnel of exploding feelings. This is an exhilarating ride for our inner underdog, craving a taste of what it would feel like to just get back at everyone if we were reckless enough not to care about the consequences." (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
"Raeder is a true, original talent." (Jennifer L. Armentrout #1 New York Times bestselling author)
"Risky, brave, bold. Heart-breaking, captivating, and sensual. There aren’t enough words to describe this suspenseful powerhouse of a novel. Raeder’s gorgeous prose and raw characters will keep you flipping to the very end. Black Iris is one of the best books I’ve read this year."
"Intense and visceral, Black Iris is as sharp as a knife and beats with a heart that is double-edged and dangerous." (Lauren Blakely New York Times bestselling author)
"Provocative, seductive, and skillfully written, Black Iris is a story that stands out from the crowd." (K.A. Tucker USA Today Bestselling Author)
"Raeder masterfully weaves a dark, twisted, dangerously sexy quest for revenge with a raw, honest search for kinship and self-acceptance. Black Iris demands your attention, your heart, and an immediate reread." (Dahlia Adler author of Last Will and Testament)
"Lyrical, vivid, and poignant, Unteachable is one of best forbidden romances I've ever read." (Lauren Blakely New York Times bestselling author)
"Unteachable infuses the complicated dynamics of forbidden sexual tension and untamed passion, all while managing to break your heart. Easily one of my favorite reads." (Gail McHugh New York Times bestselling author)
"With lush, haunting prose, deft storytelling and scorching sensuality, Leah Raeder weaves a love story that obliterates convention. The best book I’ve read this year." (M. Pierce bestselling author of the Night Owl Trilogy)
"Leah Raeder's writing is skillful and stunning. Unteachable is one of the most beautifully powerful stories of forbidden love that I have ever read." (Mia Sheridan bestselling author of Archer's Voice)
About the Author
Elliot Wake (formerly known as Leah Raeder) is a transgender author of four novels: Unteachable, Black Iris, Cam Girl, and Bad Boy. Aside from reading his brains out, Elliot enjoys video games, weightlifting, and perfecting his dapper style. He lives with his partner in Chicago.
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Top Customer Reviews
BAD BOY tackles plenty of familiar subject matter--gaslighting, finding acceptance, the inherent danger and struggle of being openly queer in a world that has a long way to go in its treatment of queer individuals--but the story also breaks new ground as a result of both its protagonist and its author. Ren is a trans-man who gained Internet fame by talking openly and honestly about his transition online. The fact that Elliot Wake is also a trans-man who discusses the reality of his transition online lends natural authenticity to both the story itself, and the intensity of the emotions that permeate every page.
Although BAD BOY spends a lot of time focusing on the many mysteries buried in Ren's past, his burgeoning romance with a new member of Black Iris, and his growing suspicion that the people he's always considered his allies might not have his best interests at heart, there's also an ongoing discussion of society's gender expectations happening alongside the action and romance. Frankly, I would've liked to see that discussion take center stage a little more, through Ren's vlogs or some other means. There's not enough fiction that delves into gender politics the way Wake's does, and Ren's romantic arc wasn't developed enough to hold my interest against everything else that was happening.
All the same, I really enjoyed this and I really recommend it--to trans readers, cis readers, and everyone in between.
Warning Leah Raeder fans: this is NOWHERE near as good as the previous material. If you are expecting anything remotely near Unteachable, look elsewhere.
THIS BOOK WAS A MESS. Too much going on, and the YouTube videos (the way they were written)...just no.
I respect authors who expand their ideas and try different things. I've loved this authors work for years. So this was very disappointing.
BLACK IRIS FANS: this can and will ruin your opinion of those characters, as some are in this book.
The writing was not up to par with the authors previous books. (Which was a big factor in my rating)
I recommend Leah Raider fans wait until reviews start coming in before purchasing. Maybe I'm wrong? And in the minority?
Ren is a member of the vigilante group Black Iris. They set out to get revenge on misogynistic men who have wronged women in some way or another. Ren has a unique perspective in that he has lived as both female and male and sees both sides of the coin. His unique perspective allows him to better see the world and the people in it a little differently than the average Joe. Ren is insightful to all walks of life because it allows the reader to learn more about being transgender but also what it is like to be male versus female. Many people think they understand the opposite sex but who truly understands it better than someone who has lived both lives?
I’d like to point out one important thing about this story that I deeply appreciated. The author, Elliot Wake, teaches the reader so much about transitioning, gender, and so much more, but I never felt like I was being “schooled.” The information fit into the story flawlessly and without feeling like a lecture. Solid story aside, the insight into someone else’s shoes is reason enough to read this. Fortunately for the reader, the story is suspenseful and pulls the reader in, as well.
Side note: The author, Elliot Wake, used to write under the name Leah Raeder. Previous books include Unteachable, Black Iris, and Cam Girl (all recommended reads). For those of you who felt Raeder’s work was too lyrical (I know you’re out there), give Bad Boy a try. It still has lyrical qualities but they have matured and morphed with the author.
Wake has been going through the transition process himself, adding an authentic and fascinating perspective to the character of Ren. If you’re interested in following his transition (also recommended) head to[...] and @ElliotWake on Twitter (#WakeUpElliot).