Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Y Negative
Author: Kelly Haworth
Genre: MM Sci-Fi
Length: 317 Pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: November 16, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: In the last surviving cities of a ruined world, the concept of “woman” has been forgotten to history. Those unfortunate enough to lack a Y chromosome live as second-class citizens in a world dominated by mascs.
Ember is Y negative. He is scorned, bullied, abused by every masc he encounters, at work and at the gym. Not even his Y negative roommate cuts him any slack. He wants so desperately to be accepted as a masc that he’d rather buy black market testosterone than food. Something’s gotta give—he needs a change in his life, but has no idea how to find it.
Jess is a masc with a passion for studying the recovery of their devastated world. His boyfriend is pressuring him for more commitment, and his father expects him to take over the family business. He can’t wait to get away from civilization for his seasonal research out in the wild.
When Jess offers Ember a job, their lives collide in the isolated wasteland, and their initial attraction turns into a relationship that horrifies those around them. Soon their struggle to stay together and to be who they are turns into a fight for their lives.
Review: This story was unlike any I’ve read before. There is a lot of worldbuilding in this dystopian futuristic society where the world has all but been destroyed. Most of society lives in the city where everything is carefully controlled, from the air to the food and even the people to a degree.
Outside the city is a vast wasteland that is monitored and tested for signs of recovery. It is out here where most of the story takes place.
Then there are the people and where the story really hits new territory. There are basically no women. Men are considered mascs. Jess is a masc. Ember is a Y negative, or a female who is basically a trans. Ember is addicted to taking the hormones that at least make him appear more masc, using every available fund to pay for the shots. There is a lot of bullying about the Y negatives, as they are looked down upon in a big way. Gay relationships are the norm here, and since Y negatives are not considered actual men, they take a lot of heat for it. It was tricky to follow, but worth hanging in for.
Jess does research at his father’s firm. He offers Ember a job as the IT specialist for an expedition to the wasteland. Jess is not a normal masc in that he doesn’t believe in bashing/shaming the Y negatives, and, in fact, is actually curious about what it is like to be one. The two become friends and then lovers as their relationship grows. This was a very emotional based relationship, as opposed to sexual, though there was that as well. They face many problems, both in the wasteland, as well as back in the city once they return.
While this story was very different and a bit confusing at times, it was so interesting that I kept turning pages to try and understand, figure out and see where things would go next. There is a lot going on plot-wise which really kept things exciting. I loved that it kept my interest in so many different ways. It was extremely unique and unlike any mm story out there. If you are able to open your mind to the possibilities in this story, you will see a lot of color in an otherwise very gray world. I’ll definitely be looking for more from Ms. Haworth in the future.
Overall Impression: I loved it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*