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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
The Enigmatic Marsden by Todd A Biron is a compelling LGBTQ novel about self-acceptance and fitting in. The story centers around high school student Alex Marsden, who has the same aspirations and goals as his peers; to fit in and make friends along the way. But Alex has a different set of challenges because he is awakening to his sexuality. He realizes he's been untrue to himself and denying himself the pleasure of being who he is on the inside. But his parents' divorce brings about an unexpected opportunity to start over in a new city, perhaps make new friends and find people he can identify with. But with this unique opportunity comes new barriers, and he can't decide whether to tuck himself away and hide who he is or let himself freely shine.
Biron has created a novel that is instantly relatable, even for a non-LGBTQ audience, as all of us have experienced issues of needing to fit in, perhaps being different from the norm, and not always revealing who we are unless the circumstances are right. The character of Alex is an intriguing one, fully-formed, a typical teenager in an atypical situation. The pages fly by as you read, and you feel a little sad that it has to end so soon. The situations are mature but evenly handled, the writing absorbing and socially relevant. The language is explicit in places but doesn't take away from the story. Natural dialogue and the first-person POV create a connection with Alex. If you like character-driven novels that speak to today's readers, don't pass up The Enigmatic Marsden by Todd A Biron.