cover image Crosshairs


Catherine Hernandez. Atria, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-1-9821-4602-3

Hernandez’s searing if heavy-handed blend of dystopian fiction and social commentary (after Scarborough) conceives of a near future in which environmental disaster leads to a white supremacist regime in Canada. Kay, born Keith Nopuente, describes himself as a “Queer Femme Jamaican Filipino man” and is one of the “Others”—including LGBTQ, POC, and disabled people—who are being marginalized in a campaign to restore Canada to “order” and “tranquility” in the wake of floods and food shortages that caused mass displacement in the country. The Renovation, a government-sanctioned program, deploys special forces called the Boots to strip the Others of their rights in the name of providing food and shelter, rounding them up and forcing them to work in labor camps—or killing them for resisting. Kay hides out first in Toronto with Liv, a white, queer ally of the Resistance, and then at Beck’s, another queer, white ally. As the characters band together, they take steps toward a drastic action to gain the country’s attention. Hernandez takes a scathing look at discrimination and capitalism in her disturbingly familiar look at Western culture, but, unfortunately, this often reads more like a how-to-ally manual than a novel. While the premise is well-imagined, the story suffers from a lack of nuance. Agent: Marilyn Biderman, Transatlantic Agency. (Dec.)