Monday, September 5, 2016

Skin Deep by J.T. Marie (#ftm #trans #romance)

A good romance is defined by its characters - by how well they are developed, how closely they connect, and how much they are allowed to grow. As readers, we need to feel like we know them if we're to become invested in their relationship.

With Skin Deep, J.T. Marie takes that lesson to heart, crafting a sweet story of what is, for the most part, a long distance romance. Mack and Heather only get one date before circumstances separate them, and all they have is a single kiss to ignite the fires of passion. That is not a lot to go on, for readers or lovers, which makes it all the more remarkable how much we come to care about them both.

The story flirts with the transgender aspect for quite a while, playing coy with references like boyishly cute, fey, androgynous, and almost masculine, but the actual coming out scene is superb. It's appropriately dramatic, and refreshingly happy, but what I loved most was the immediate change in name and gender pronouns for the rest of the book.

I will be honest, as much as I appreciated the late scene where the girls correct their new teammate's opinions on gender and sexuality, part of me feels it was a bit heavy handed . . . a bit unnecessary. That is one small quibble in for such a lovely story, though, and one that proves love (unlike tattoos) is more than just Skin Deep.

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