A Wish For Christmas is the latest transgender tale from Courtney Captisa. Combining elements of magical gender swaps and age regression, all with a reverse sort of It's a Wonderful Life feel, this is a sweet, feel-good story with two possible happily-ever-afters (but more on that in a moment).
Ryan Sutton is a young man, heading home for the holidays for the first time in four years, only to be stunned and saddened by all the changes. Family, friends, and the town itself have all gone downhill. When he makes an idle Christmas wish for "things to be like how they used to be, back when everyone was happy and things were better," he wakes up the next morning to find it has 10 years ago and he is a girl!
Although Courtney always done a stellar job of detailing how her characters deal with gender change, this may be some of her best work. There is a real hysterical edge to Rachel's first days, with the threat of hospitalizing looming large to deal with her madness, and the gradual way in which she comes to cope - aided by a bestie she never knew as Ryan - tells a story all on its own. The background details are strong as well, with plenty of technology nostalgia to really convince us it is 2005 all over again.
As for those two possible happily-ever-afters, the story reaches a climax in the final pages, with a seemingly innocuous decision looming for Rachel. In deciding what she would do, the reader gets to direct the story's conclusion in a choose-your-own-adventure style. I tried really hard to pick one and stick with it, but then I had to go back and see the other ending. Personally I think I made the right choice the first time, but it is still fun to see the alternative.
Sweet, emotionally deep, and even a bit of fun, A Wish For Christmas is a transgender feel-good holiday story that manages to avoid being too sappy or heavy-handed. Well worth a read!