Book Review: Crosshairs
Author: Catherine Hernandez
Publisher: Atria Books
Rating: 4.5 stars
Read: June 2020
Set in a terrifyingly familiar near-future, with massive floods leading to rampant homelessness and devastation, a government-sanctioned regime called The Boots seizes on the opportunity to round up communities of color, the disabled, and the LGBTQ+ into labor camps.
In the shadows, a new hero emerges. After he loses his livelihood as a drag queen and the love of his life, Kay joins the resistance alongside Bahadur, a transmasculine refugee, and Firuzeh, a headstrong social worker. Guiding them in the use of weapons and close-quarters combat is Beck, a rogue army officer who helps them plan an uprising at a major televised international event.
With her signature “raw yet beautiful, disturbing yet hopeful” (Booklist) prose, Catherine Hernandez creates a vision of the future that is all the more frightening because it is very possible. A cautionary tale filled with fierce and vibrant characters, Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez explores the universal desire to thrive, love, and be loved for being your true self.
Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez is a startling, breathtaking dystopian novel that exposes just how close our world aligns with the story’s terrifying, fascist setting. The story follows Kay, a queer Black performer, and his allies Bahadur and Firuzeh, as they fight against an oppressive regime that is actively imprisoning marginalized communities in concentration camps and explicitly enacting a fascist, white supremacist program under the guise of “renovation.”
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found the story riveting, heart-pounding, and compelling throughout. Hernandez seamlessly transitions between present and past, telling the stories of multiple characters in the form of a Whisper Letter written to Kay’s love, Evan. Some elements of the narrative felt heavy-handed and made some of the dialogue between characters seem stop-and-start. However, these parts of the book were extremely informative, and I learned from them. I also found the ending to be a bit abrupt but still inspiring. Overall this is a thrilling dystopian novel with an important message that must be heard.
CW for: transphobia, racial and LGBTQ+ slurs, systemic violence and oppression, hate crimes, genocide, deadnaming, sterilization, pedophilia, torture, loss of loved ones, and depictions of grief. Crosshairs is a very worthwhile read but tread carefully if you have experiences similar to the characters because Hernandez does not hold back.
Far Flung Readers’ blog received an Electronic Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Atria Books in exchange for this honest review. A big “thank you” to them! You can purchase a copy for yourself through Bookshop here.
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