Uncovering Ray, by Edie Danford
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: April 2015
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Hey, man—you a chick or a dude? Dealing with the same old boring question is a downer for college drop-out Ray Fayette, especially when it’s asked by the low-tipping, over-privileged students at the Ellery Diner.
When six-foot-five, muscle-bound straight arrow Wyatt Kelly publicly smacks down a fellow frat brother for caveman behavior, Ray’s interest is sparked. Wyatt’s not-so-subtle attraction sparks a few other things too.
But getting to know Wyatt proves dangerous. His sexy smiles and smart questions slide under even Ray’s prickliest defenses. Worse, his academic mentor happens to be Ray’s ex-stepfather, the dictatorial jerk who just kicked Ray out of his house. Again.
Wyatt suggests a housing arrangement that has surprising appeal—there’s space available at his frat house—but he’s unaware just how complicated Ray’s “identity issues” are. Ellery College kicked out Ray for a reason—a reason that could deep-six Wyatt’s academic career and Ray’s newly hopeful heart.
“I like you because you’re you. Unique. Brave.” He shrugged and smiled. “Bold and strong and badass in a world where folks constantly wimp out and follow the herd. It’s something I notice and admire the fuck out of.”
I think this quote pretty accurately sums up what I love about this book. It’s a unique read, and Ray is a pretty brave, badass character. I was shocked when I discovered this book during the big Samhain Publishing sale, because how did I not know that it existed?
Ray and Wyatt are opposites in a lot of ways. Wyatt is happy to conform; he’s a frat boy at an elite college, a jock. And Ray is all about challenging the rest of the world, from refusing to be boxed in by gender to standing tall when it comes to overbearing family.
What I found especially interesting to read was the way the world reacts to Ray’s decision not to ‘pass’ as male or female. While there’s a lot of hostility, there’s also a lot of support, and other people trying to process the shift in their word views. And Ray… well, Ray knows exactly who and what Ray is, and doesn’t give a damn.
The characters were excellent. The romance and emotions were spot-on. The plot… foundered a bit. I expected more drama and more angst, given the foreboding summary, but never really reached that level. Ray’s family plays into the story a lot less than expected; this is really Ray’s story, and Wyatt’s to an extent, but everything beyond that is superficial.
Edie does a great job of writing a book about a non-binary protagonist. She makes it about Ray, and not about Ray’s gender.
Edie has two books out, both set in the fictional Ellery College universe. The second book was released this past December, titled Unmasking Zach.
You can find Edie on her website at http://www.ediedanford.com/ or on Twitter.