Why this book?: The author said there was ace-questioning and gender-questioning that the protagonist, Em, deals with. I needed that.
I would like to thank the author J. Emery for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve been reading questioning stories a lot more often, probably because I still often struggle with how I identify and the questioning representation makes me feel more seen, more understood. Upon hearing about this novella, I knew I wanted to read it, based on the summary but also on the promise of the questioning rep.
Help Wanted was probably one of the best books with questioning rep that I’ve read. Em repeatedly struggled with how she viewed herself, how she felt about Phineas, as well as her place in her best friend’s life due to what she saw as “lying”. And as much as that really hurt to read, it was good to read. Because questioning your sexuality or gender doesn’t constitute as lying, but it often feels like that when you’re in that situation. So reading this specific representation, where the character is questioning theirself and thinking that they were lying–it really hit home.
What made Help Wanted one that I ended up loving was that fact that Emery masked this inward struggle of the protagonist behind a very relatable and realistic personality. I felt like I was Em, because I related so much with her and her struggles. Emery also brought in fantastic side characters that made this story hilariously amazing. The best friends, the love interest, everything. Especially with how Phineas and Em interacted, I just couldn’t stop giggling at their scenes. The characters put the cherry on top of the beautifully crafted story.
Last but not least, I loved the world-building. I hate to say this, but it was vaguely reminiscent of Harry Potter, but, and here’s the best part, it was more diverse, more interesting, and I have to say that Emery did the world building much better. While smaller details were left out, that’s expected from a novella, and the amount that was introduced was satisfactory and perfect for the length of the novella.
Final Rating: ★★★★★
I loved this novella, and I can’t wait to see more books in this novella series from J. Emery. Help Wanted hit home with it’s questioning rep, but also with it’s extremely relatable protagonist and hilariously fluffy and cute romance thrown in there. I read this book all in one sitting, and all I’ve wanted to do since finishing it is to reread it.
Would I Recommend?
Very much so! It’s an adorable novella, with positive questioning rep that is realistic in an urban fantasy setting. I can’t wait to see what else this author also has for us.
Published: July 26th, 2018
Publisher: J. Emery
Page Count: 18,000 words
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance
Synopsis: via Goodreads
Em is confused about a lot of things: who she is, what she wants, how she’s going to pass Alchemy when she’s awful at it. The one thing she’s not confused about is how much she wants to buy her best friend (and college roommate) the best birthday present ever. Luckily the local magic supply shop is hiring.
Her plan to get a job there would be working perfectly if not for her coworker Phineas who is in turns aggravating and endearingly awkward. She’s not sure if she wants to date him or wants to be him. The more time they spend together the more she thinks it may be both.
Help Wanted is an 18,000 word novella with a gender and sexuality questioning f/m romance. It is the first in a new series about students at a contemporary magic college.