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(Haffling #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  271 ratings  ·  55 reviews
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

All sixteen-year-old Alex Nevus wants is to be two years older and become his sister Alice’s legal guardian. That, and he’d like his first kiss, preferably with Jerod Haynes, the straight boy with the beautiful girlfriend and the perfect life. Sadly, wanting something and getting it are very different. Strapped with a mentally ill mothe
ebook, 274 pages
Published July 11th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
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3.89  · 
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 ·  271 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True love is an unbreakable bond.

Alex, 16 year old boy holding his family together, his schizophrenic mother and sister Alice. But things he always believed to be fantastical imaginings or ravings are more real than our world will allow.

Queen May of the Fey needs something and Alex has it. The trickster and cruel aspect of fey has been preserved. And Alex needs to use everything he has at his disposal to save what he loves.

This is a fast-paced YA fantasy. Alex is hyper-responsible due to his fam
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, e-book

Why this book?

Gay Boys and Fairies my type of book

What I thought

I really enjoyed this book! The thing I liked the most was the relationships mostly between Alex and Alice and Alex and Jerod the interactions were sweet and heartfelt. The Fey world though was a little crazy though, I kinda felt like I was going through an acid trip most of the time. That being said the plot flowed nicely and I couldn't wait to see what happened next. Here's to hoping there's a sequel one of these days.
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a change of style for me, but a refreshing one.

Geared more towards the younger reading group, but that's just my opinion, this never the less kept me entertained and intrigued.

If you love the fairytale fantasy but like it set in a modern world then this could well be for you.

Alex and his family tell a wonderful tale of good versus evil.

Jarod is the kind of guy you want in your corner, a real true Hero for me.

May will leave you wanting to cringe away while starring in fascination. A rea
Excellent young adult fantasy adventure with ... well, gay teenage hero. I approve!

When our blog planned this event and all of us had to choose an author who first released a book in 2013, I admit that I had a difficult time. Most of the authors whose works intrigued me, I had read. I really had no idea whom I should choose!!

Then I saw the blurb for Caleb James’s HAFFLING and thought – heck, a young adult dealing with feys. That might be fun. Because I seem to have a good track record with adul
{{Digital copy thanks to ReadNow at Netgalley}}

It's was a solid 4 stars until the too neat end, and some loose endings.

Alex is a 16 y.o. concerned with keeping her little sister, Alice, safe with food, roof, and school. Her mother is a schizophrenic, and he maintain the things running. But when her mother dissapear the careful constructed card house is starting to fall appart.

Specially when the little fairy in his shoulder is finally making sense. Kind of. (view spoiler)
This book was amazing. I kind of want to describe it as a cross between Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Hunger Games and just a tiny bit of Lords of the Ring (not really the right comparisons for the story but there's something in the story that reminds me of all of these series). The world building was great (some might say otherwise but I liked it) and the characters were intriguing. I had a lot of respect for Alex trying to keep his family together even though he was only 16 years ...more
2.5 stars

I had mixed feelings about the first half, but the last several chapters were just... messy and confusing and not enjoyable? I kept waiting for it to be over. And now it is, so yay.

tw: ableist slurs, some homophobia, child molestation, and possibly some other stuff I can't be bothered to remember
Sabrina Grafenberger
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbt
Haffling started out okay but became a mess by the end.

Caleb James really did have some great ideas, but it felt like he had troubles writing them down. The descriptions of the fairy land seemed jumbled and were not easy to follow. The lack of world building really threw me off and made the book less enjoyable to me.

And although the story itself wasn't boring it often made no sense and was confusing.

I'm afraid of the second book and hope it will be better elaborated.
Sammy Goode
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars

Unpacking the story Halfling by Caleb James is a daunting task. Not only are there two parallel words running through this story, the hero is truly worried that the second, the fey world, may be a sign of his potential for schizophrenia. Merely sixteen years old, Alex Nevus cares for his eleven old sister Alice and his schizophrenic mother, Marilyn. They live a marginal life at best, in a tiny HUD apartment where food stamps and their mother’s disability checks keep them from being com
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this dark and colorful adventure. Haffling really captured the essence of a modern fairy-tale, but it was so much more than that. It explores the dangerously alluring beauty of fae while also delving into issues, such as the struggles of living in poverty, having to grow up too fast, and falling in love with a straight boy. Forgive me if I get too personal here, but this book hit home in a way I never suspected. While the situations are vastly different, I related to the lov ...more
Aimee ~is busy sleeping~
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was very, very unique and creepy. Who knew fairies could be creepy? The cover makes it look like a straight-up children's book but this book will really be enjoyable for older because it's a little twisted and bizarre. In fact, the ending, while good, was a little too bizarre and out there for me. I would rate the first half 5 stars and the second half 3. This kind of reminded me of Angelfall, which also had an original, creepy twist on a popular supernatual species (angels) and an MC with ...more
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It had mystery, romance and well it was an easy interesting read with very interesting characters. I had no concept on how it was going to end but liked it very much.

I hope Mr James continues. This was a good first book. The font arrangements were all over the place though.
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-fantasy
I really, really like this book.

The main character is Alex, a 16 years old boy, who has learned to survive and manage all the odds life has given him. The character is well developed and you get a good inside in how hard he struggles to take care for his mother and sister.

Pretty soon in the book, he discovers that he is connected to the world of Fey. The fantasy part in this book has some nice Fey magic, for me it's urban fantasy.

And there is a lot of love. Alex loves a boy from school and his
Apr 13, 2018 marked it as dnf
Shelves: fantasy, ya, paranormal
rating: dnf

I bought this for 99cents from DSP Publications and even though I am not a big YA fan, I thought I would give this a chance. It became apparent early on that this book is just not for me. Something about the writing style just turned me off. Luckily it was on sale, so big loss.
Ulysses Dietz
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
By Caleb James
Dreamspinner Press, 2016
Cover by Alan Clark and Paul Richmond
ISBN: 978-1-63476-796-5
5 stars

“Ask no questions.”

“Haffling” is a brilliant YA novel, and special to me because Caleb James (the YA alias for author Charles Atkins) gives us a gay teenager, Alex Nevus, for whom being gay is the only thing in his life that’s NOT a problem. The dark setting for this book (the first of a series, I was glad to see) offers echoes of Suzanne Collins’ amazing “Gregor the Overlander” serie
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
When the ladies at Gay List were selecting books to read, I once again picked my book based off the cover. It’s a bad habit I know… but this time I struck gold.

Haffling is different. I became captivated by Alex and his deep devotion to his family instantly. When I started to read the book I was making too many comparisons. And it starts out with the feeling of an older Gregor the Overlander, smished with Alice in Wonderland all combined into an angsty kid-on-the-street trope.

Then the best thing
Elisa Rolle
I was really enthralled by this Young Adult novel cause, aside from being fast paced and full of turn of events, it was also really funny, not a “light” funny, but more a subtle irony which was probably the author’s voice, clever and loud.

Alex is an Haffling, half-human, half-fairy (no pun intended), but of course at the beginning he doesn’t know it. What he knows is that he has to protect is little sister Alice from the Social Services on account of the fact their mother, Marilyn, is a schizoph
Lori S.
A reluctant 2.25 stars

Really, what is there to say about this story. The idea isn't bad and the story starts out well enough, but when we get to what should have been the climax of the story, it felt more like a gently rolling hill rather that the steep mountain climb I kept expecting.

The romance between Alex and Jerod, a boy Alex has a crush on from school, is unbelievable and not really developed. We never see them interact before the action of the story begins, so all we have to go on is what
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This books works as a YA coming of age title, as a fantasy, and a YA romance ... a delightful read all round. My heart broke for Alex as he struggles to raise and protect his younger sister as well as keep his crazy mom under control and under the radar of child protection services.

Jerod works as loyal side-kick, trusty friend and potential boyfriend ... slightly more one-dimensional in his solid goodness but his attractiveness is not too diminished by that. The evil bee-yotch fae queen however
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
'Haffling' is a great coming-off-age novel, combining a contemporary world, with it's problems to a gay teenage boy, battling poverty, foster care for his sister and his mother's schizophrenia, and the world of the Fey.

It seems this book kind of started the bandwagon of the (gay) diversity hype instead of jumping onto it, since it is a couple of years old already, but it is more than that. Caleb James managed to fit a huge load of problems together and put the Fey on top of it, without making t
Tina Koran
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-m-m
What a page turner. I could not put this down until I was done. This was amazing. Lovely story!
KristyAnne Norton
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I definitely enjoyed the characters... the storyline was something I’ve never read before so that was refreshing. I bought the entire series but I’m not sure if I’ll read any more of it. Some things were a little much in this book. I don’t want to give anything away but the ending was a little disappointing I felt like Alex was going to finally have his big moment but that didn’t really happen. Something weird did. And I’m not sure it was a good weird.
Elaine White
Book – Haffling (Haffling #1)
Author – Caleb James
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 250
Cover – Great!
POV – 1st person, one character
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – LGBT, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult


Haffling is like nothing you have ever read before. It's fantasy, contemporary, romance and weird all rolled into one. And it's fantastic!

At first, the book starts with quite a lot of information, but trust me when I say that it's needed. There is so much we ne
Kristy Maitz
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really thought that story plot would be a fine reading material. But I was wrong. Why? Somehow it was not for me. I couldn't connect with the logic of the story plot.

The start was pulling, but as soon as Author started to include fairies and other world in it, it got more and more ridiculous.

Again, that is not my type of tea.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for YA fantasy with queer characters and this hit a sweet spot. Many issues are let unresolved for the sequels to answer. I hope. But this first part feels kind of complete.

Update 08/06/2018: Now that I've read the whole series, don't hold your breath waiting to get all the answers in the next books: if it's not May related, you can fill the blanks yourself.
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paranormal, firemen, fey
This is my review of Exile, by Caleb James, from my M/M Romance Books Blog, OJ He Say.Click the links below to see the whole review and more.
OJ Library LOGO - Copy (2)

Exile by Caleb James at OJ He Say!


To be honest I’m not one for fantasy usually, however after having read Dark Blood by Caleb James and then seeing that he’d gone on and written other fantasy I just had to give this a whirl, and I am so glad I did. Mr. James, AKA Charles Atkins, weaves an incredible tale of fantasy in the modern wor
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantasy is not something I read a a lot of, but Haffling is a book that I have had my eye on ever since it was first presented on DSP's website. Now I have finally got around and finishe dit - and I am glad I did.

Haffling is more and better than I expected on so many levels. First: the writing itself; the language is right on spot, the words flow so well and even though this is a story told in 1st POV - an other thing that is not my first choice of narrators in a story - Alex's voice is captivat
Alysa H.
May 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This book starts off pretty well, with a very sympathetic main character in Alex, a gay NYC teen trying to keep his family together in the face of adversity. Alex juggles school, social services, his little sister Alice (who is plenty damaged herself), and his mother, whose apparent mental illness belies more complicated issues -- fae issues, as it turns out.

I enjoyed seeing Alex navigate a recognizable if cartoonishly outmoded version of NYC, as well as the ins and outs of his precarious family
Daniel Mitton
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
(Originally reviewed for Love Bytes Same Sex Book Reviews with a copy provided by the author / publisher for an honest review.)

I wasn’t sure what sure what to expect when I read the blurb for this book on our available books to review worksheet. It intrigued me enough that I decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did. It was a well written tale of the world of the fey, or fairy, or faerie, breaking through into modern day Manhattan.

Alex Nevus is a super intelligent sixteen year old attending Stuy
Feb 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: yayayaya, mm-romance

"What's wrong, Alex?"

"What’s wrong is we live in a shit hole. What’s wrong, Alice?”

Without breaking stride, she answered. “What’s wrong is we live in a shit hole, and my clothes come from thrift stores. What’s wrong, Alex?”

“What’s wrong is we live in a shit hole, your clothes come from thrift stores, and our mother has schizophrenia. What’s wrong, Alice?”

“What’s wrong is we live in a shit hole, my clothes come from thrift stores, our mother has schizophrenia, and you don’t have a boyfriend.
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The Backlot Gay B...: Haffling, by Caleb James 1 8 Aug 14, 2016 09:43AM  

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Caleb James is an author, member of the Yale volunteer faculty, practicing psychiatrist, and clinical trainer. He writes both fiction and nonfiction and has published books in multiple genres and under different names. Writing as Charles Atkins, he has been a Lambda Literary finalist. He lives in Connecticut with his partner and four cats.

Other books in the series

Haffling (3 books)
  • Exile (The Haffling, #2)
  • Hound (The Haffling, #3)