Jason’s hands won’t stop shaking. He clenches his fists, his sister’s silver ring digging into his palm, but they keep shaking. He bursts into tears the second the door finally closes.
He can hear the footsteps of the police walking away. The same one who came six weeks ago to inform him of his sister’s death.
Door closed and case closed. In front of Jason, on the sad, small bed in the sad, small room, is everything Becca left behind. Two boxes – a whole life – and Jason’s hope for a future. He is about to age out of the foster-care system. In four months, when he turns eighteen, he’ll be booted out of the group home. Maybe onto the street. Becca was supposed to take care of him. But all that’s left of Becca are these two boxes.
It’s hard to breathe. His binder must be too tight. His chest feels like it’s collapsing. It takes him three tries to get his shirt off. He pulls off the material crushing his breasts down flat and throws it on the old blanket on the bed. He feels better, but barely.
Two years on testosterone, male hormones, has changed Jason. It’s made his shoulders wider, his jaw bigger and his body hairier. But without a shirt, it is easy to see what he is. A transgender guy. Someone in danger. The staff at the group home know, of course. They take him to get his shots and see his doctors. But if any of the other kids found out, Jason would be in for a world of hurt.”
In this fast paced and gripping novel, readers are introduced to the trans character of Jason. At the novel’s beginning, Jason has been transitioning for almost two years. Jason has been a part of the foster care system for a most of his life and is about to age out. The plan was for Jason to live with his sister Becca and the two of them would start their adult lives together and grow as a family and support each other. Alas, before the action of the book, Becca has been found dead, and Jason is sure that it was not an overdose but, in fact, a murder. Jason is the only one who finds his sister’s death suspicious as the police and his group home leaders have written it off. Jason follows a few leads about his sister, and, in doing so, he enters the hyper-masculine world of boxing. It is with his introduction to this world that Jason begins to find an activity that he enjoys and which allows him to be himself, but, at the same time, he could be putting himself in danger as he seems to be getting closer and closer to the truth about his sister’s death.
Blood Sport is a great read that is filled with twists and turns, and once the action begins the novel does not let up. That Blood Sport is written by a trans author allows for some subtleties and inside information that readers may not normally find in other texts containing this subject. The author does a great job of making Jason likeable and relatable to almost anyone reading the book, and hopefully this will allow for someone who is unsure or unfamiliar with trans issues to be able to see beyond any stigma.
Blood Sport is sure to grab male and female readers alike and keep them interested as they follow Jason and his quest for justice. The novel is a rip-roaring read that does exactly what it sets out to do – be engaging, highly readable, and incredibly thoughtful. I personally read the book in one sitting and, at the end, was really wanting more.
Cameron Ray is a Youth Services Specialist Librarian with the North York Central Library in Ontario.