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Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  2,046 ratings  ·  338 reviews
Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir by Kai Cheng Thom is the highly sensational, ultra-exciting, sort-of true coming-of-age story of a young Asian trans girl, pathological liar, and kung-fu expert who runs away from her parents’ abusive home in a rainy city called Gloom. Striking off on her own, she finds her true family in a grou ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published November 2016 by Metonymy Press
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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 ·  2,046 ratings  ·  338 reviews

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Lucy Langford
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I don’t believe in safe spaces. They don’t exist. I do, however, believe in dangerous stories.

The perfect book to read over World Book Day and International Women’s Day 🌷💃🏻
Read as part of the Our Shared Shelf March pick.

Their greatest hopes rested on me, because I was a boy.... Except for two things that threw a monkey wrench into my parents carefully devised plans: I was wild at heart, and I wanted to be a girl..

This is a coming of age story of a young Asian trans-woman, self-describing
This book is a work of genius! A funny, dark, innovative story that completely takes apart the genre of the trans memoir. Kai Cheng Thom's writing is beautiful and powerful and poetic. It reminds me a lot of Amber Dawn's Sub Rosa but it's also very much its own thing. An ode to trans sisterhood. Highly recommended! Full review on my blog. ...more
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall: Fierce Femmes is a funny, dark, innovative story about a trans girl and her journey in finding herself. Incredible writing, unique story that definitely pushes the limits and bends typical "genres." A fun and engaging read but had been hoping for more. 6.5/10

The Good: The best part of this book for me was the writing. From the very first page, the author grabs you and holds onto you until the very end. As an example, this is from page one:

"I don’t believe in safe spaces. They don’t exis
Book Riot Community
I’ve never understood the idea of a fictionalized memoir until I read this book. Amongst the beached mermaids and fairy tale elements of this story is sharp, unapologetic truth. I fell in love with the dreamlike, poetic prose that encompasses this narrative of transmisogyny, racism, police brutality, and self harm. Kai Cheng Thom doesn’t shrink from this, but she also reworks the idea of the trans memoir, allowing for more space, and more magic, in this often constrictive genre. This is a beauti ...more
Danika at The Lesbrary
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

The writing is incredible. I can't really articulate right now, but: wow.

Trigger warnings for transmisogyny, violence, self harm (cutting)
I love this book! Like Anna Joy Springer's The Vicious Red Relic, Love, it stretches the genre of memoir in super exciting ways -- specifically, and explicitly, the genre of the trans memoir.

And! Like Amber Dawn's Sub Rosa, FFANL uses magic and fantasy in new and idiosyncratic ways. Was really interested in how Kai Cheng mobilizes magic to various ends, while emphasizing its limitations, too--there are multiple layers of realism, and she pulls back the magical overlay periodically; magic might g
Jacob Wren
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This book grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go until the very last page. I wrote about it here: ...more
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
this is a very very real magical realist fairytale that i place in the lineages of francesca lia block and zoe whittall and amber dawn and also the oral & performance storytelling lineage of kai cheng thom herself, which is distinctive and swiftly recognizable. it has bitter and sharp and dark and it also has sweet and raucous and celebratory. my most favourite thing about this book is that it is the most strongly femme4femme thing i have ever read. my other most favourite thing about this book ...more
Chittajit Mitra
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book revolves around our fierce Asian trans-woman protagonist trying to find her way in the world & while doing so discover some ‘mystical & magical creatures’. As she leaves her house where she faces constant abuse to start her new life, she comes across several friends & people who became her family. While being with her new family she eventually finds her true self and evolves to attain her actual identity. But as another fellow femme friend gets murder in a hate crime, our protagonist a ...more
Ok -- writing this two months after reading, so bear with me as I try and recall my thoughts.

This was an exciting story to read, super imaginative and engaging. Definitely a recommended read. Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars follows a young trans girl who comes into her power as part of a grrrl gang and along the way figures out how to fit into the world, find love, and build chosen family.

Kai Cheng Thom's novel takes readers to a whole new world as the protagonist comes into her own trans wo
Bogi Takács
Striking and beautiful, I love how it subverts the "trans memoir" framing too. I want to write more about it later!

Source of the book: Lawrence Public Library

"..One of the joys of Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars is not knowing what might happen next, so I’m not going to give anything away. Instead I’d like to briefly grapple with the complexity of character, and motivation, which drives so many of the relationships in this book, all conveyed with almost epigrammatic precision. These characters are simultaneously simplified types and complex realities, and often the dynamics within and between them occur so swiftly that it is only later we realize j
Intensely beautiful.
Arden Prins
Dec 11, 2016 added it
Shelves: favorites
"Taller in my heels, I am closer to some dangerous heaven."

This book is beautiful and impossible to put down! I came looking for something to take me somewhere, and this was so enchanting that I wondered if it was really in my hands.
Dec 14, 2016 added it
This book is a nice little dose of magic, which is especially welcome in times like these. What I liked most: Ghost Friend and, "What do you think the difference is between hunger and love?"
Maybe 4.5??

This book was an incredible experience and I loved it.
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I want to expand on the star rating, because lord knows that's not the whole conversation. This book to me exemplifies a question I've been working through for the past two years: when does the value of the content outweigh the appraisal of the execution? To me, Fierce Femmes & Notorious Liars is telling all kinds of important stories, in a new and accessible way. At the same time (and I don't want to be mean) it does read like somebody's debut novel! I had a hard time getting through it. For me ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you like magical realism, even a little bit, RUN DON'T WALK to get your hands on this book. Every page had a fresh delight. Kai Cheng Thom is changing the game for fictionalized memoirs. This book healed something in me.
Esme Kemp
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Adore adore adore. Feel exposed and ashamed that I haven’t read more novels by and about trans women. Written beautifully, powerful n moving but also badass and the main character is as flighty and impossible to pin down as me. She must be a Gemini xo
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, gender, sexuality
Read it all in one day because it was interfering with my ability to adult. Gripping and fun fantasy, but also sad and true (and strong and hopeful) underneath that.
Audrey Laurey
This is the most enjoyable and imaginative book one is guaranteed to get lost in. Touching on the subject of brutality towards our Trans committee and how a group of Femme's start their own vigilante gang to defend themselves and the street of Miracles.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
3.5 stars.
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, fantasy, school
That title is a doozy, but I promise it's worth the read.

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars centres on a young Asian trans girl, who runs away from an abusive home and joins a group of larger-than-life trans femmes in the notorious district known as the Street of Miracles. Part-memoir, part-fantasy, and every bit a coming-of-age story, this book handles family, vigilante gangs, and what it means to grow up.

Hooooo boy was this book a trip. Sure, I've read fantasies and memoirs, but I've never quit
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars is the translit I've been waiting my whole life for. It's strange, violent, magical and hopeful, and I couldn't put it down.

Fierce Femmes is a fictionalised fabulist memoir about a trans girl running away from home to the big city and joining a trans girl gang seeking vengeance against the men who have hurt their sisters. It has the most wonderful magical imagery, a girl full of bees, a ghostly paramour, beached mermaids, and takes us to an always-nighttime stre
Jessica Lewis
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, new-adult, novels
First off a disclaimer, that this isn't actually a memoir. Although I'd be super fascinated if it was, seeing as our Fierce Femme destroyed a TV by blowing a kiss at it.

I liked Kai's writing style a lot, it flowed really well and the magical realism was a nice touch. Of course it's a story of struggle as a girl realizes she's trans and moves to change her life, but is hit with some hard times and confusion, even after finding a group of other, older femmes to follow. But she has so much power i
Jennie Chantal
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
"That's the difference between love and hunger," she says. "Hunger is a story you get stuck in. Love's the story that takes you somewhere new."

I loved this book so much! I loved the magic realism, the fictionalized/factful memoir, the poems and letters. I love how it WORKED to mix up all these genres. It was a story of both moving away from and moving towards family, self, trauma & recovery, old and new ways of coping and making sense of life. The tension and momentum of these states of movement
Jane Hamilton
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it

“I don’t believe in safe spaces. They don’t exist. I do, however, believe in dangerous stories.”

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars is a delicious fabulist refashioning of a trans memoir. This book is a cacophonous coming-of-age story of a young Asian trans woman/notorious liar as she finds her trans family and a group of transphobic haters. It is a great deal of fun as it spirals its femme characters through loving and distastrous relationships and into the danger and integrity of resistance.

Ameema Saeed
This book was weird and dynamic, and unlike anything I’d ever read before. Thom created an incredible, fantastical world full of magical trans goddesses, and giant mermaids, and violent girl gangs. It was innovative and dark, and funny – it’s a coming-of-age story about a young trans woman of colour who moves to the big city to find her place, and finds a community of incredible, and fantastic trans femmes. I had never read anything as weird and wonderful as this before, and I can't stop thinkin ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Every girl needs to be at least a little bit dangerous."

This became my favorite book on page 2, and has never wavered in that position. An amazing work, wise and healing and magical and brutal. I bought copies for friends; there were people in particular it called the names of and wouldn't stop until I got them a copy.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I picked up this book but DANG WAS IT FREAKIN GOOD!!! I loved the writing itself, the “characters”, the fact that there’s a girl gang , all of it was fantastic!! I spent a lot of the story trying to figure out how much of it was “real” but that just added to the mystery and interesting-ness of the story! Would recommend!
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Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performance artist, social worker, fierce trans femme and notorious liar who loves lipstick and superhero cartoons. A prolific essayist and poet, her work appears online in publications including BuzzFeed, xoJane, Everyday Feminism, and Autostraddle; and in print in Asian American Literary Review, Plenitude, and Matrix Magazine, among others. Her first collection of poe ...more

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