I was lucky enough to get my hands on an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of Jem Zero’s new book “A Home Within Skin” and I have THOUGHTS. It feels a little weird writing this, given that I’ve already recorded a full podcast episode where I fangirl about the book with Jem zirself!
The story explores the relationship between a homeless disabled trans man and a snarky alien sex worker. Throughout the book the dynamic between Jax and Sei-vész is beautifully written and feels incredibly real. Despite the RIDICULOUSLY FUCKING HOT tentacle sex, it’s one of the most honest representations of queer relationships I’ve seen. The tenderness, the fuck ups, learning to navigate one anothers trauma. Despite the ways the experiences of the characters differ from my own I felt very able to connect with their perspectives.
The credit here must go to the writing. A fellow winner at the Good Sex awards, Jem’s 2nd person prose immerses the reader in Jax’s perspective even as he dissociates away from it. On top of this there are lines which stick in your head, a particular favourite – “You remember him threatening to eat Natalia’s liver and vaguely wonder if he’d extend the same courtesy to you if you asked really, really nicely”
Home Within Skin is an exquisite queer romance which explores intersecting marginalised experiences without reducing the characters to stereotypes. It’s sexy and sweet and left me desperate for a sequel. It made me squirm and ache and make happy growly noises as I powered through the book in a single day.
Preorder this book! Buy this book! Cosplay as characters from the book! You won’t regret it <3