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Ari by [Headford, Cheryl]
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Product Description

Product Description

After having known each other online for some time, writers, Benji and Ari meet at a convention.
Their attraction is both immediate and mutual.
But all is not straightforward—Ari is intersex and Benji transgender.
Together they embark on a journey.
A journey that unites families, and heals old wounds.
But not everyone is happy with the blossoming love between these two unique and special individuals.
Will an act of aggression crush the flower before it can bloom?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3102 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing (23 June 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00YUT48QE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #592,145 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A touching story 9 July 2015
By Lily G Blunt - Published on
3.5 Stars

This touching story explores what it means to be intersex, transgender and gender fluid. The two main characters are young and inexperienced, and at times are insecure with their identity. Cheryl hasn't made them flawless and this gives them a realistic quality.

Ari is eighteen, intersex, with elfin features, and according to Benji has "mercurial moods". Another character calls Ari a ‘Little Imp’ and he behaves as such during much of the story. Ari is energetic and over the top, blurting out whatever's on his mind, yet everyone who meets him can’t help but like him. Even Ari himself admits he is innocent and weird. Until now, he has been cocooned by his mother and grandmother. He comes across as immature and far from streetwise, and this results in Benji misunderstanding some of the things he says at first and also leads to trouble from others with upsetting consequences.

Despite all this, Benji falls for him within hours of their first meeting and is declaring his love and sharing intimate moments with Ari in the hotel bedroom during a UK Meet style conference. Ari and Benji met previously online through their writing connection, but hadn't confided many personal details with each other. Ari has been reluctant to publicly state his sex, but soon finds he is comfortable revealing his body to Benji. They focus little on their writing interests and more on their burgeoning relationship during the weekend. Little is made of their writing throughout the story and their careers are set to take a different path by the end of the story. The two guys, as that is what they identify as, help each other understand who they are and how they view themselves over the course of the story.

Cheryl’s love of writing fairy/fantasy stories comes across in the second half of the book, and in fact, the plot takes an unexpected turn and focuses less on the gender identity issue and more on family relationships and their future. Despite all the drama that takes place, Benji’s love for Ari shines through and the overriding message of the book is ‘just be yourself’.

**Copy provided by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review**
4.0 out of 5 stars Curious, intriguing read. 4 July 2015
By johanna - Published on
One of the more intriguing stories I have read in a long while, Ari is about an how the love bloomed between intersex author, Ari, and transgender Benji. They had been online mates and friends for quite some time and Benjie had always been curious what Ari looked like. Now that they meet for the first time in an author convention, Benjie realizes that Ari is not really the person he initially thought.

Because both men are special in their own ways, they are both insecure and thus manage to show the world a different persona. When Benjie sees how other authors rallied around Ari at a time of need, he realizes it does not matter Ari acts or looks the way he does, what matters is his sweetness and loving heart.

Ari as a read was very curious. This touches on a subject that confuse many. The way the other authors became protective mama bears shows just how tight this little community of LGBT romance writers really is. Benjie is seen as someone new so has to prove to one and all that he is a person to trust around Ari.

Although this was at times a heartbreaking read, the moments of levity more than made up for it. The antics only seen and heard in authors' conventions are finally placed on text and it is not hard to imagine just how chaotic those events can be. Chaotic in the best possible ways.
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story 5 December 2015
By Alina Popescu - Published on
I first read Ari as a short story in the Stranded anthology and soon after found out Cheryl intended to expand it. Ari turned into a beautifully written novel, raising important issues in what gender and acceptance are concerned. Ari and Benji are to me the perfect couple. They make each other better, even if sometimes that means confronting difficult situations and having to revise their own opinions of themselves.
Despite the age of the characters and the fact Benji takes care of his little brother, this genuinely sounds more like a young adult than a new adult. The characters are discovering who they are, learning to love, taking on the world and the challenges it brings, and they are, for these two individuals, harsher than they are for most people their age. Especially for Ari.
I believe Cheryl has been very brave to keep writing this intersex-transgender couple. Each of them would have raised enough issues to tackle, more so in this pairing. Yet she took the challenge and wrote an amazing story on how we define gender and love. I have to say I know know a lot more on what intersex and transgender individuals have to deal with.
As always, a Cheryl Headford story comes at the cost of quite a few tears, but it’s always absolutely worth it!
4.0 out of 5 stars But then I had a second thought and I was like “Oh My God” 30 August 2015
By AIly - Published on
This was a very unusual book for me, as until this one, I have never read another story related to intersex/transgender and moreover – about “young adults”. At first I had some hard time accepting the essence of both MCs’ life drama and even more the sudden easiness with which they finally accepted their own self. But then I had a second thought and I was like “Oh My God”.

I changed my initial opinion, when it suddenly struck me that both Ari and Benji are not adults, so I shouldn’t have jugged them based on my perspective as a grown-up person. They are teens and as every other boy/girl at their age they are young, sweet, uncertain and so capable of embracing the world without hesitation with just the slight help of understanding and loving person, whom they are in the same boat with. After this realization I had no issues following along with the story. At times it reminded me about my own teenage years and I was able to recognize some of the inner conflicts my 10-years younger self has passed over.

I liked the tender way the MCs were revealing their feelings and was so glad that after so much struggle, pain, and sadness they both found the happiness every living being deserves.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very different 14 July 2015
By Tracy Muth ~Bayou Book Junkie - Published on
4.5 Stars

*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Benji and Ari's story is like nothing I have ever read before. This can be a confusing subject matter, but I think I came away with a much better understanding and insight of Transgender and Intersex people.

Benji and Ari are two very insecure people, who have never been comfortable in their bodies. They are very insecure of how others will see them, and both scared of rejection.

When they come face to face at an authors convention, their relationship takes a different road, and they fall almost instantly for one another. This book was an emotional rollercoaster. It was sweet, happy, funny and also heartbreaking.

The author seems to have done her homework and I applaud her for taking on, not just one, but two very complex young people. This story was a joy to read. It pulled me in and kept me hanging on to every word until the very last page!