River Braun is uniquely qualified to bring to life the story of Wylie Masterson. Living in SoCal, Wylie is a skate-punk who is struggling again puberty, authority, and pretty much all the things you remember hating when you were fourteen. Wanting to build his own life and be himself, Wylie struggles with the fact that there are people who don’t see him as the man he is. His very religious mother makes this even harder by insisting that he be her “sweet, lovely daughter.”
Wylie is trying his best just to live his life, but he is lacking the support he needs. He is transgender and his mother refuses to see him that way. Braun wanted to showcase a trans story in the hopes that it would help to bring awareness to trans/non-binary experiences. When a character you see matches your identity you feel seen and are able to connect with them in a stronger way. This is a vital element of why representation is so important. Set in 2001 this story examines the stigma and transphobia that trans youth can experience, even 20 years after the setting of this book. Braun hopes that by creating this book that this generation will feel seen and find their community.
While Wylie is our protagonist, the story alternates between his point of view and a new kid named Alex. We are introduced to Wylie’s struggles with his mom and also with other elements of authority, specifically police, within the first few pages. when he leaves his house he is almost immediately in a situation where he is misgendered and police become very threatening when they believe he has lied to them about his identity. The story does deal with overdose and very heavy elements, but Alex is there for Wiley and we get to see someone who supports him and tries to be the best ally he can. You can get your copy of call me him today. This book also benefits The Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, and Trans Law Center.