Bad Boy by Elliot Wake
Published by Simon & Schuster, Atria Books
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Genres: New Adult
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Vlog star Renard Grant has nothing to prove: he’s got a pretty face, chiseled body, and two million adoring video subscribers. Plus the scars on his chest and a prescription for testosterone. Because Ren is transgender: assigned female at birth, living now as male. He films his transition and shares it bravely with the world; his fans love his honesty and positivity.
But Ren has been living a double life.
Off-camera, he’s Cane, the muscle-bound enforcer for social justice vigilante group Black Iris. As Cane, he lets his dark side loose. Hurts those who prey on the disempowered. Indulges in the ugly side of masculinity. And his new partner, Tamsin Baylor, is a girl as rough and relentless as him. Together, they terrorize the trolls into silence.
But when a routine Black Iris job goes south, Ren is put in the crosshairs. Someone is out to ruin his life. He’s a bad boy, they say, guilty of what he punishes others for.
Just like every other guy: at heart, he’s a monster, too.
Now Ren’s got everything to prove. He has to clear his name, and show the world he’s a good man. But that requires facing demons he’s locked away for years. And it might mean discovering he’s not such a good guy after all.
I wanted to read this book because I was in the mood for something different and after reading the blurb, this one seemed to fit the bill. I thought it would be interesting to get to know a character that is a vlog star who filmed his transition and shared it on his blog for the world.
It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t all pretty roses and rainbows but I was very interested in Ren’s transition story. In Ren as a person. Getting into the story, I thought that I would feel a lot more for Ren as a person than I did but sadly, I didn’t. The story as a whole was interesting and it was what drove me to finish but Ren as a character was someone that I just couldn’t fully connect with. I’m not even sure why, he just, I don’t even know. He’s a pretty dark character, a character who has been through a hell of a lot but while I ended up okay with him, in the end, I still didn’t fully like him.
I wonder if I had read the other books before this one, if I would have felt different about it all because all of the Black Iris stuff had me rolling my eyes down the street. At first, I didn’t get it but the author did a good job in pulling it all together in the end. Once I was caught up with everything going on, I appreciated the story more so if I could recommend anything, it would be for readers to read Unteachable, Black Iris and Cam Girl.
I will say that Elliot Wake wrote a compelling story that was dark and twisted but necessary. The way that he made the dark and the light stuff in life come together was raw and gritty and that’s probably why I didn’t enjoy this book as much. I’m a fluffy contemporary romance reader at heart and the darkness in this book (and in Ren) was hard for me to get through, so while I’m glad that I gave this book a go, I probably won’t continue with the other books. This has nothing to do with the author or the book and everything to do with my reading preferences.
Grade: 2.75 out of 5
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.