Review: Heart of the Liliko’i

Posted: 06/10/2015 in book reviews, books
Tags: , , , ,

Heart of the Liliko'i
Heart of the Liliko’i by Dena Hankins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Content warnings: acts of sabotage that cause injury, attempted harm, violence, mentions of blood, death, mentions of colonialism, sex, non binary genders, lesbians

I received a free ARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Holy crap. That’s what my reaction was at the end of this.

First, I need to congratulate the author on helping to have a BEAUTIFUL cover.

Second, I need to congratulate her on how well researched this is. Despite how well the research is however, I can’t in good conscience give this book a 5 star rating because of the fact that this is written in Hawaii about problems Hawaiians actively face with colonialism and the author isn’t from Hawaii. As well as (from what I can tell from her website) she isn’t trans or genderqueer (I could be very wrong about that but if I am it’s not a common knowledge thing) even though she explores some of the identity issues concerning trans and genderqueer folks.

As a genderfluid person I could identify a LOT with the genderqueer guy in this story. Like enough that at points I almost cried because some of the things I struggle with and often have trouble putting into words were in this story. I ADORE the fact that the author acknowledged and realised that often those of us who are non binary have different needs in our lives. From our own personal presentations to pronouns to being touched to sex. I can’t identify with the biracial part of the genderqueer guy’s experience as I’m not biracial but the rest of it I can. The fact that he had a supportive family was great. As well as the lesbian character actually acknowledging WHAT he was saying and then working with him to make sure he was comfortable and making sure he knew it was safe for him to stop her and she’d respect his wishes.

And y’know what? It’s really nice to see a book decide to go in the direction of at least one primary character (because he wasn’t really a main character…maybe a secondary main character) be a non binary type of character. And NOT be made fun of or constantly asked what’s in their pants. Just that he was accepted for being himself.

I really like the idea behind the building that is being built throughout the book. Having it be a very sustainable living type place that works with the environment rather than against like most buildings.

This book could have gone in a completely negative direction in regards to Hawaii and the people who live there and their struggles with being part of the U.S. and I’m very glad that it didn’t. Because it is a serious thing that NEEDS to be talked about. Well….it is being talked about but the people doing the talking aren’t being listened to. So it’s more we need to listen to the people from there and fix the wrongs that have been done to the islands.

All in all this was a very good book.

Buy it here:

Amazon|Bold Strokes Books|Powell’s|Book People


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