This was such a wonderful story - my only complaint is that it took so long for somebody to write it. Seriously, I really wish there had been a story like Cevin's Deadly Sin available back in my high school days. It may not have changed anybody else's opinions, but to have found somebody I could so closely identify, even if it's in fiction, would have made such an incredible difference in my life, I can hardly imagine it.
Sally Bosco is to be commended for sharing such an open, honest, powerful tale, and for doing so with such understanding and tact. This is the story of an adolescent cross-dresser. Cevin is a typical high school student, a young man who just happens to find comfort and happiness in wearing women's clothing. A pair of red panties neutralize any bad energy at school, making his life bearable, and slipping into a blouse, skirt, and heels after school allows him to relax and cast off the stresses of the day. There's no confusion regarding gender identity, no lingering doubts about sexuality, no angst over how nature made him, and no questions about fetishism.
This is also a story of being an outsider, something we can all relate to, no matter how we dress, who we love, or whether we're new to town. Sally does a wonderful job of relating the fears and frustrations of Cevin, Amy, and Tessa, making us care deeply for them, without coming across as preachy or overbearing. The struggle to fit in is handled very well, and even if the bullying element comes on a bit too strong, with a final twist I anticipated all along, it does a wonderful job of laying bare just how dangerous being different can be. I honestly feared for Cevin, cried along with him at the biggest set-backs, and wondered whether he would make it through the story whole, healthy, and intact.
There's also a nice little fantasy element to the story that tickled me to no end. In his dreams, Cevin is a Cross-Dressing Superhero in thigh-high boots, fishnets, and a black leather skirt, with a big CD splashed across his camisole. He stalks the night, watching out for those who are different, and delivering justice to their bullies. It's a nice addition to the story, fun and fanciful, but something that also helps illustrate how hopeless he sometimes feels. Given the bullies at school, his mother's ultra-religious attempts to cure him, and the struggles of fitting in, these dreams also provide an important balance to the tale.
I won't spoil the ending, other than to say it's a happy one that reveals a new meaning behind Cevin's Deadly Sin.