From the Ashes

Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, but their tough-love attitudes meant conflicts became commonplace. And the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. One day, he finally realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heartwarming and heartbreaking memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful experiences with abuse, uncovering the truth about his parents, and how he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family through education.


I wasn’t sure what this book was going to be.  Turns out it is a brutally honest description of a life wasted. Jesse recounts his descent into alcohol, drugs, homelessness and hopelessness.  At times it is hard to follow as it is written in small excerpts as Jesse remembers them and sometimes they jump from place to place.  Jesse holds nothing back, sharing the disappointment of his family and friends and even himself as he turns into his father who he also disliked due to his actions.  But in the end Jesse proves that with the will to live and the desire to achieve the cycle can be broken.

Felix Ever After

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after. 

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle…. 

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.


This book is a must read for EVERYONE.  Although the main issue in this book is acceptance of LGBTQ individuals it also speaks to self-acceptance.  The book reminds the reader to accept themselves as they are and to embrace their uniqueness and that of the people around them.  It is important to love oneself and this book brings that to the forefront. It is just an all around good read.