Keezy Young’s Taproot is a sweet and touching romance between two young men, with a bit of a supernatural spin. Hamal is a young gardener who just so happens to be able to see ghosts. One of these ghosts is a young man around his age named Blue and while it goes unspoken between them there is a deep connection that has been growing since the day they met. More recently Blue has been periodically disappearing and finding himself in a spooky place outside of the living world and this place reveals secrets that neither Blue nor Hamal ever anticipated.
Taproot has been showing up in my recommendations online for months and I have only put off being able to read it because I was trying to catch up on a few series I have been woefully behind on. While at FlameCon recently I was surprised and delighted to see a copy of the book displayed on a vendor table. What made this even better was that Keezy Young was there and not only were we able to chat briefly, she also signed the copy I picked up. Taproot is such a sweet story and while it has ghosts and dark otherworldly forces appearing in it, the story itself is so sweet and full of love. Blue cares so deeply for Hamal, but because he is a ghost he keeps trying to find ways for Hamal to be happy with someone else. As the story progresses Hamal and Blue are able to grow their friendship and things begin to change in a beautiful way.
Not only does Young place the focus on two lead characters of color, while Blue appears blue as a ghost we do get to see what he looks like as a living person as well, but these characters are beginning to fall in love with each other, making this a story focused on queer people of color. The art is exceptional and her ability to blend the lightness of the living world with the darker elements that exist in the forest outside of the living world is done perfectly. I loved Taproot and am definitely going to have to read more by Young in the future. You can find more about this book and her other work on her website.
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