- Expected Dec 8, 2020
The author of the acclaimed novel Scarborough weaves an unforgettable and timely dystopian tale about a near-future, where a queer Black performer and his allies join forces to rise up when an oppressive regime gathers those deemed “Other” into concentration camps.
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 explores the universal desire to thrive, love, and be loved for being your true self.
Hernandez's searing if heavy-handed blend of dystopian fiction and social commentary (after Scarborough) conceives of a near future in which environmental disaster leads to a white supremacist regime in Canada. Kay, born Keith Nopuente, describes himself as a "Queer Femme Jamaican Filipino man" and is one of the "Others" including LGBTQ, POC, and disabled people who are being marginalized in a campaign to restore Canada to "order" and "tranquility" in the wake of floods and food shortages that caused mass displacement in the country. The Renovation, a government-sanctioned program, deploys special forces called the Boots to strip the Others of their rights in the name of providing food and shelter, rounding them up and forcing them to work in labor camps or killing them for resisting. Kay hides out first in Toronto with Liv, a white, queer ally of the Resistance, and then at Beck's, another queer, white ally. As the characters band together, they take steps toward a drastic action to gain the country's attention. Hernandez takes a scathing look at discrimination and capitalism in her disturbingly familiar look at Western culture, but, unfortunately, this often reads more like a how-to-ally manual than a novel. While the premise is well-imagined, the story suffers from a lack of nuance.