ARC Review: Finding Your Feet by Cass Lennox

B31567740lurb:

While on holiday in Toronto, Evie Whitmore planned to sightsee and meet other asexuals, not audition for a dance competition. Now she’s representing Toronto’s newest queer dance studio, despite never having danced before. Not only does she have to spend hours learning her routine, she has to do it with one of the grumpiest men she’s ever met. Tyler turns out to be more than a dedicated dancer, though—he might be the kind of man who can sweep her off her feet, literally and figuratively.

Tyler Davis has spent the last year recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship. So he doesn’t need to be pushed into a rushed routine for a dumb competition. Ticking major representation boxes for being trans and biracial isn’t why he went into dance. But Evie turns out to be a dream student. In fact, she helps him remember just how good partnering can be, in all senses of the word. Teaching her the routine, however, raises ghosts for him, ones he’s not sure he can handle.

Plans change, and people change with them. Learning a few steps is one thing; learning to trust again is another entirely.

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Purchase on Amazon / Riptide Publishing

Release Date: January 16th

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I have been waiting for this book ever since I finished Blank Spaces (which we reviewed here). Finding Your Feet follows Evie Whitmore and Tyler Davis, and while Vaughn and Jonah make appearances in this one you can easily read this as standalone.

Evie is in Canada to visit friends she’s met online but also to look at where she’ll be living in a few months time to get a degree in engineering.

Tyler is a dancer at QS Dance. Right at the beginning of Finding Your Feet he enters a dance competition. During this competition he’s supposed to teach a non-dancer a routine and this performance is going to be part of the upcoming pride parade. Something he’s not too happy about because he’s wary of dancing with someone again after his last dance partner Lucette. He does need the money though, so he grumpily agrees. And Evie pretty much enters by accident because she isn’t aware that she’s participating in an audition.

I loved the scenes in which Tyler and Evie dance together. Tyler is a fantastic teacher and I enjoyed Evie’s snarky comments. But most of all I enjoyed the descriptions. I felt like I was there in the dance studio, or the park, where they practice. It all came alive on page and sucked me right in.

The reader is aware that Tyler is a trans-man right from the beginning (and it’s also mentioned in the blurb) but it’s not used as a tool to create drama. And for Evie it’s no big deal that Tyler is trans. Something that takes Tyler a bit of time to really understand because his last dance partner and girlfriend also assured Tyler that she “didn’t mind” but her actions spoke another language and it took Tyler a while to see how abusive she was. So it’s understandable that he’s more careful now.
As a cis-reader I thought Cass Lennox did a great job portraying this without making it dramatic. And as I said Evie doesn’t care about it because she likes Tyler.

With Evie we have now two asexual characters in this series. But unlike Vaughn, Evie isn’t questioning or thinking there’s maybe something wrong with her. She knows what she likes and what not and has been in relationships before. As ace person it was great to see this represented too, because *asexual* is so much more than just “has no sex”.

Overall I really enjoyed Finding Your Feet, but the conflict at the end came a bit out of the blue. I understand Tylers reaction, but it still felt off that he reacts like this so late in the story, when he’s had a lot of time to get to know Evie.
Nonetheless I quite liked how both Evie and Tyler influenced each other to be a better version of themselves without trying to make them someone they’re not.

My favourite thing about Finding Your Feet though is, that it’s so amazingly queer!
There are characters featuring the whole rainbow and each one grew on me, though I’m not sure some of them didn’t outshine Evie and Tyler. There’s one or two characters that definitely stole the show occasionally.
I’d recommend Finding Your Feet and I’m really looking forward to read Growing Pains.

Genre: Contemporary Identity: Transgender Orientation: Asexual (+ace-spec) Pairing: M/F Publisher: Riptide Publishing Review Tag: Friends to Lovers Tag: Part of a series Tag: PoC

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